Article by Erik Larson – v. 4: revised and updated 1/6/11
Inspirational article by George Washington: Hope In a Time of Hopelessness
A 9/11/2008 Resolution: Start Your Own 9/11 Blog! By Arabesque
Click here for the other articles in the 9/11 Truth Overview Series
This article is an overview of the 9/11 Commission’s conflicts and “failures”, and some brief summaries of some of the many important facts left out of or distorted in their final report, with links for reference and additional research.
9/11 Commission Conflicts, Corruption & Failure to Investigate:
All Commission members, and key staff members, had professional, financial and/or political conflicts of interest. Chairman Thomas Kean’s conflicts included his having been a director of oil giant Amerada Hess, which had business dealings with Khalid Bin Mahfouz and Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi, two individuals suspected of financing Bin Laden, and named in a trillion dollar August 2002 lawsuit brought by 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism, that’s still pending. Co-chair Lee Hamilton was a member of Bush’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, a member of the CFR and was instrumental in limiting the investigations into the 1980 “October Surprise” as well as Iran-Contra. As Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow oversaw the work of the investigative team including what questions and evidence were considered, and he controlled the information the Commission members based their report on. Zelikow was on the National Security Council in the Bush, Sr. Administration, co-authored a book with Condoleeza Rice during the Clinton years, was on the National Security Council transition team from the Clinton to the Bush Administration, and was then appointed to GW Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. The 9/11 Commission interviewed him as a witness due to his involvement on the transition team; he recused himself from that part of the investigation. Zelikow was also a director of the Aspen Strategy Group think tank, which counted Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz as members. March 20, 2004, the Family Steering Committee demanded Zelikow resign when the extent of his conflicts became apparent; he refused, the Commission supported him, and the corporate media made little of it.
Prior to the 9/11 Commission beginning its investigation, Zelikow and his long-time colleague Ernest May drafted an outline for the Commission Report, which closely resembled the table of contents for the final published report. This was shown to Kean and Hamilton, who liked it but were concerned that it might give the impression the outcome of the investigation was pre-determined. For this reason it was kept secret from the staff, who eventually found out about it and were alarmed. Early versions of the table of contents, based on this outline, are linked from this article by Kevin Fenton . In 2000, Zelikow and May had published a book, The Kennedy Tapes, which was based on their transcription of taped conversations involving JFK, advisors and other significant figures. When historian Sheldon M. Stern compares the tapes with the book, he finds hundreds of errors, some of which change the meaning of sentences and conversations.
The 9/11 Commission Report ignores the substance of 70% of the families’ questions, including evidence of negligence, foreknowledge and complicity. The Report omits the testimony of whistleblowers like FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds, and Agents Robert Wright and Coleen Rowley. The Commission’s final report acknowledges intelligence and warning signs received, but it paints a picture of a surprise attack by Muslim extremists and loyal public servants unable to “connect the dots” because of the system and “failure of imagination”. Bush and Cheney, on whose watch 9/11 happened, and who were principally involved (and uninvolved) in events that morning and the months preceding, testified together; in private; not under oath; their testimony was not recorded; the commissioner’s notes were subject to review and confiscation.
According to their book, “Without Precedent“, Hamilton says that US military presence in the middle east and US support for Israel over the Palestinians were motivating factors for the 9/11 hijackers, but this information was excluded from the final report. Kean and Hamilton also revealed that, in their the first appearance before the 9/11 Commission FAA and NORAD officials had testified falsely about when notification was received by the FAA, and they considered referring the matter to the Justice Dept. for criminal investigation; in the end, they decided to refer the matter to the Inspectors General of the DOD and DOT, due to “lack of time”. Kean and Hamilton noted that, “Fog of war could explain why some people were confused on the day of 9/11, but it could not explain why all of the after-action reports, accident investigations and public testimony by FAA and NORAD officials advanced an account of 9/11 that was untrue.” This was related to the third version of the FAA/NORAD timeline, which was presented for the first time in the Commission report. This new timeline was based on NORAD tapes, and, if accurate, showed that the FAA had actually contacted NORAD much later than earlier testimony said they had. Regarding Rudy Giuliani the Commissioners say, “We did not ask tough questions, nor did we get all of the information we needed to put on the public record.” It was Giuliani’s decision to give a no-bid contract for non-working radios, and to put the city’s Office of Emergency Management in WTC 7 when the complex was already a known terrorist target, had resulted in loss of lives and confusion on 9/11.
In addition to basing parts of their narrative having to do with NORAD preparedness and 9/11 response on the testimony of NORAD officials who the 9/11 Commission knew had made false statements under oath, the 9/11 Commission relies on the alleged statements of detainees who were tortured, and whom they did not directly interview. Pg. 146 of the 9/11 Commission Report has a disclaimer about Chapters 5 and 7 of the Report. It says, in part:
“[This report relies] heavily on information obtained from captured al-Qaida members . . . . Our access to them has been limited to the review of intelligence reports . . . . We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked. Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting.”
An MSNBC report found that “more than one quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Report refer to CIA interrogations of al-Qaida operatives who were subjected to the now-controversial interrogation techniques. In fact, information derived from the interrogations is central to the Report’s most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks.”
In December 2007 it was revealed that the CIA had destroyed tapes of detainee interrogations. Some of these interrogations apparently involved waterboarding, including detainees that provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission. So the 9/11 Commission narrative is based in part on testimony received indirectly through intermediaries, the detainees had been subjected to torture, and there were conflicts in their statements which the Commission was unable to resolve.
It had previously been acknowledged that interviews with Executive Agency witnesses were monitored by Agency ‘minders’, but both Kean and Hamilton downplayed the significance of this. However, after the 9/11 Commission records were made public at the National Archives in January 2009, a Commission Memo was uncovered that revealed:
- Minders “answer[ed] questions directed at witnesses;”
- Minders acted as “monitors, reporting to their respective agencies on Commission staffs lines of inquiry and witnesses’ verbatim responses.” The staff thought this “conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution;” and
- Minders “positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions.”
According to 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey in a Nov 8, 2004 interview broadcast on CNN, “The 9/11 report in chapter eight says that, in the summer of 2001, the government ignored repeated warnings by the CIA, ignored, and didn’t do anything to harden our border security, didn’t do anything to harden airport [security], didn’t do anything to engage local law enforcement, didn’t do anything to round up INS and consular offices and say we have to shut this down, and didn’t warn the American people…You [Bush] knew they were in the United States. You were warned by the CIA. You knew in July they were inside the United States. You were told again by briefing officers in August that it was a dire threat. And what did you do? Nothing, so far as we could see on the 9/11 Commission. Now, that’s in the report. And we took an oath not to talk about it during the campaign, I think correctly so, to increase the capacity of that commission’s report to be heard by the people’s Congress.”
The 9/11 Commission Report’s version of events, as presented and uncritically accepted by the corporate media:
9/11 panel report: ‘We must act’: ‘We do not have the luxury of time,’ says Commission chairman – CNN.com
Analysis of 9/11 Commission Conflicts of Interest:
The Kean Commission: The Official Commission Avoids the Core Issues: 911Research.WTC7.net
Who Is Philip Zelikow?: History News Network
Philip Zelikow Timeline HistoryCommons.org
Is Fix in at 9/11 Commission? by Paul Sperry
Criticism of the 9/11 Commission and its Report:
Criticism of US Government and 9/11 Timeline – HistoryCommons.org
The 9/11 Commission Doesn’t Believe It: Why Do You? By George Washington
QUESTIONS TO KEAN COMMISSION: 911CitizensWatch.org
August 1, 2004: Sibel Edmond’s Letter to Chairman Thomas Kean by Sibel Edmonds
National Security Experts Speak Out: 9/11 Commission Falls Short – An open letter to Congress from 25 national security experts, including former FBI whistle-blower, Sibel Edmonds
Whitewash as Public Service: How The 9/11 Commission Report Defrauds the Nation by Benjamin DeMott in Harpers Magazine
THE 9/11 OMISSIONS HEARINGS: Convened by The 9/11 Citizens’ Commission At Symphony Space, New York City – September 9, 2004. Chaired by Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Catherine Austin Fitts
The 9/11 Commission Report: One Year Later – A Citizens Response: Did The Commission Get It Right? – July 22, 2005. Chaired by Rep. Cynthia McKinney
Justice For 9/11: After the 9/11 Commission Report was released July 2004 and its inadequacies documented, a complaint and petition to open a criminal investigation into 9/11 was filed with Attorney General of New York Eliot Spitzer October 28, 2004. No investigation was opened, but this website remains a valuable resource for information and evidence.
Statement of Kristin Breitweiser, Co-chairperson September 11th Advocates – Concerning the Joint 9/11 Inquiry: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence September 18, 2002 (The answers to some of her questions are likely in the 28 redacted pages of the declassified final report of the JICI; the 9/11 Commission ignored or distorted all these questions)
Unofficial transcript of 9/11 victim’s family member Laurie Van Auken’s statement at the July 22nd Congressional Briefing: The 9/11 Commission Report One Year Later: A Citizens’ Response – Did They Get It Right?
“A thorough and definitive investigation by the Commission would have addressed all of [Sibel Edmonds] concerns, and spoken to all of the whistleblowers. It would have subpoenaed for the information it required and examined the plethora of information that other citizens and groups responsible provided. And finally, without compromising our national security, it would have reported all of its findings, with its redactions blacked out and submitted to the American people. In essence, the Commission could have produced a final product where the resulting conclusions and recommendations could be trusted. Instead, at the end of the day, what we got were some statements that truly insulted the intelligence of the American people. Violated our loved ones’ memories, and might end up hurting us, one day soon. One such statement is that 9/11 was a ‘failure of imagination’. A failure of whose imagination? What exactly does that mean? When you have a CIA director with his hair on fire, a system blinking red, 52 FAA warnings, an August 6th, 2001, PDB entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the United States’, leads on several 9/11 hijackers including Alhazmi, Almihdhar and Marwan Al-Shehi, warnings from many foreign governments, a Phoenix memo warning of Islamic extremists taking flying lessons, the arrest of would-be terrorist Zacarias Moussauoui, facts imparted to one agent, Agent Frasca at the RFU at the FBI, 9/11 was truly a failure alright.”
Credible or Not? By George Washington (prominent people who question the 9/11 Commission Report; including the 9/11 Commissioners)
Following are examples of the kind of reports from the US government, as well as mainstream media and orgs, that were ignored or distorted by the 9/11 Commission Report. Links to more than 5000 can be found at CooperativeResearch.org, aka HistoryCommons.org, host of the Timelines referenced in this article/series, and many other timelines documenting suppressed information:
Presidential Level Warnings – including the infamous August 6, 2001 PDB, titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”, which warned of “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York”. This was just one of at least 40 Al Qaeda-related warnings Bush received since taking office.
Senator Bob Graham, Chairman of the Congressional Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks says, “I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing — although that was part of it — by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down, make the further case, or find the evidence that would indicate that that is not true and we can look for other reasons why the terrorists were able to function so effectively in the United States.” Graham made these comments to Gwen Ifill in interview on PBS, December 11, 2002, following the release of the JICI report. TheMemoryHole.org has preserved some of the most relevant parts, and has a link to the original transcript. The report, with its 28 redacted pages detailing evidence of Saudi (and other nations??) assistance to the alleged hijackers, can be reviewed here: Final Report of the Congressional Joint Inquiry Into September 11
9/11 Report Cites Many Warnings About Hijackings: New York Times – This article refers to a monograph of the Commission’s work not included in the Report, its release was obstructed by the Bush Administration until February 2005. “Among other things, the report says that leaders of the F.A.A. received 52 intelligence reports from their security branch that mentioned Mr. bin Laden or Al Qaeda from April to Sept. 10, 2001. That represented half of all the intelligence summaries in that time. Five of the intelligence reports specifically mentioned Al Qaeda’s training or capability to conduct hijackings, the report said. Two mentioned suicide operations, although not connected to aviation, the report said.” These reports were received from April to September 10, 2001.
NORAD had Drills of Jets as Weapons: USA Today – “In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.”
‘Able Danger’ Stopped From Informing FBI: Associated Press – “An Army intelligence officer said Wednesday he told staff members from the Sept. 11 commission that a secret military unit had identified two of the three cells involved in the 2001 terrorist strikes more than a year before the attacks. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, who said he was associated with the “Able Danger” unit, said that during a 2003 meeting in Afghanistan, he mentioned that the unit had identified Sept. 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta along with three other hijackers as terrorist suspects. Three months later, in January 2004, Shaffer said he was back in the United States and offered to follow up with the commission, but his offer was declined.”
Visas that Should Have Been Denied: A look at 9/11 terrorists’ visa applications: The National Review – “The cover story in National Review’s October 28th issue (out Friday) details how at least 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers should have been denied visas — an assessment based on expert analyses of 15 of the terrorists’ visa-application forms, obtained exclusively by NR. In the year after 9/11, the hand-wringing mostly centered on the FBI and CIA’s failure to “connect the dots.” But that would not have been a fatal blow if the “dots” had not been here in the first place. If the U.S. State Department had followed the law, at least 15 of the 19 “dots” should have been denied visas — and they likely wouldn’t have been in the United States on September 11, 2001.”
FBI AGENT ROBERT WRIGHT SAYS FBI AGENTS ASSIGNED TO INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS CONTINUE TO PROTECT TERRORISTS FROM CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS – Agents Lied To Federal Court for Wiretap Authority and Compromised Criminal Investigations of Terrorists: FBI Headquarters’ International Terrorism Unit Acted as a “Spectator” While Americans Died at the Hands of Terrorists: JudicialWatch.org
FBI Documents Contradict 9/11 Commission Report: RawStory.com – “Newly-released records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request contradict the 9/11 Commission’s report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and raise fresh questions about the role of Saudi government officials in connection to the hijackers.”
Hijackers Lived With FBI Informant: CBS News – “Two of the Sept. 11 hijackers who lived in San Diego in 2000 rented a room from a man who reportedly worked as an undercover FBI informant, highlighting the lack of cooperation by the nation’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Newsweek magazine reports that Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi lived with a “tested” undercover “asset” who had been working closely with the FBI office in San Diego.”
9/11 “black box” cover-up at Ground Zero? –Philadelphia Daily News – “Two men who worked extensively in the wreckage of the World Trade Center claim they helped federal agents find three of the four “black boxes” from the jetliners that struck the towers on 9/11 – contradicting the official account. Both the independent 9/11 Commission and federal authorities continue to insist that none of the four devices – a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) from the two planes – were ever found in the wreckage. But New York City firefighter Nicholas DeMasi has written in a recent book — self-published by several Ground Zero workers — that he escorted federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle in October 2001 and helped them locate three of the four. His account is supported by a volunteer, Mike Bellone, whose efforts at Ground Zero have been chronicled in the New York Times and elsewhere. Bellone said assisted DeMasi and the agents and that saw a device that resembling a “black box” in the back of the firefighter’s ATV.”
Official 9/11 Investigations:
Final Report of the Congressional Joint Inquiry Into September 11 (The 9/11 Commission was to pick up where the JICI left off; instead, the Commission Report does not even go as far as the JICI in their examination of the evidence of foreign state assistance to the 9/11 hijackers.
FBI 9/11 Investigations Timeline – HistoryCommons.org
9/11 Commission Timeline – HistoryCommons.org
WTC Investigations Timeline – HistoryCommons.org
Destruction of the CIA tapes Timeline – HistoryCommons.org
Related to 9/11 Investigations Timeline – HistoryCommons.org
Inspirational article by George Washington: Hope In a Time of Hopelessness
A 9/11/2008 Resolution: Start Your Own 9/11 Blog! By Arabesque
Click here for the other articles in the 9/11 Truth Overview Series