POST-COLD WAR

2002

House-Senate Investigation of 9/11 Attack

Materials arranged chronologically.

Allen, Mike. "Bush Seeks to Restrict Hill Probes of Sept. 11." Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2002, A4.

Pincus, Walter. "House, Senate Intelligence Panels Set Joint Sept. 11 Probe."Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2002, A18. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 14 February 2002, "[t]he leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees ... announced a joint investigation" into the 9/11 attacks.

Risen, James. "Panel to Review Readiness of Agencies Before Attacks." New York Times, 5 Mar. 2002, A10.

Pincus, Walter. "Staff Director for Hill's Probe Into Terrorist Attacks Resigns." Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2002, A5. [http//www.washingtonpost.com]

L. Britt Snider, staff director for the joint House and Senate investigation into the 9/11 attacks, resigned on 26 April 2002. See also, James Risen, "Reason Cited for Ousting of Terror Inquiry's Director: Staff Member's Security Problem Is Blamed," New York Times, 9 May 2002, A34.

Priest, Dana, and Walter Pincus. "Strife, Dissent Beset Hill's Sept. 11 Panel." Washington Post, 20 May 2002, A11.

Washington Post. "House-Senate Panel Starts Probing 9/11 Intelligence Failure." 5 Jun. 2002, A1. [http//www.washingtonpost.com]

On 4 June 2002, a House-Senate panel opened its "inquiry into the intelligence failure" surrounding the 9/11 attacks. The 37-member panel is co-chaired by Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-FL) and Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL). "The panel began by setting ground rules and hearing from members of a specially formed staff who have begun sifting through a massive cache of highly classified documents.... Panel members heard from their new staff director, Eleanor Hill, a former Defense Department inspector general who is in her first week on the job. She was hired belatedly in a staff shake-up, and her arrival was delayed until she received a security clearance."

Thomas, Pierre, and Martha Raddatz. "A Big Warning: Security Agency Intercepted Arabic Conversation that Spoke of the Sept. 11 Attacks, But Failed to Translate It in Time," ABC News.com, 7 Jun. 2002. [http://www.abcnews.com]

Priest, Dana, and Juliet Eilperin. "Disputes Stall Panel Probing Sept. 11 Lapses." Washington Post, 14 Jun. 2002, A10 . [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"After meeting for two weeks and hearing from one witness, the special House-Senate intelligence panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks bogged down [on 13 June 2002] amid differences among members over the panel's direction, schedule and access to classified information. The joint committee canceled a planned session, and Senate members met by themselves instead to discuss their dissatisfaction with the panel's performance, with some expressing unhappiness that their House colleagues have dominated the sessions."

Bash, Dana, and Kate Snow. "Messages Intercepted by U.S. on September 10 Revealed." CNN.com, 19 Jun. 2002. [http://www.cnn.com]

Eilperin, Juliet, and Dana Priest. "Sept. 11 Plot Likely Hatched in '98, Tenet Says." Washington Post, 19 Jun. 2002, A10.

Allen, Mike, and Juliet Eilperin. "Cheney Blames Leaks on Congress." Washington Post, 21 Jun. 2002, p. A12.

Balachandran, V. "Spy Who Went Cold." Asian Age, 10 Jul. 2002.

The author of this Op-ed piece in an Indian daily suggests that the U.S. Intelligence Community is suffering from a bad case of being over scrutinized. He notes that "[s]ome of the Aspin-Brown Commission's recommendations on the creation of posts resulted in a needless gridlock between the Congress and the Executive. The Scowcroft panel still wants to create a separate post of Director CIA who, with other directors of NIMA, NRO, NSA will work under the DCI. Many of these 'reorganisations' were meaningless knee-jerk exercises.... The American IC is now worried that they may be subjected to another dose of 'reorganisation' as a result of the present Congressional hearing."

Loeb, Vernon. "Independent Sept. 11 Commission Gaining Ground." Washington Post, 29 Jul. 2002. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The U.S. House has added an amendment to the FY 2003 intelligence authorization bill to "create an independent commission to investigate possible Sept. 11 intelligence failures." This action seemed to be "a vote of no confidence in the House and Senate intelligence committees, which have postponed public hearings in their own probe and already concluded that the intelligence agencies could not have averted the terrorist attacks."

Risen, James. "White House Drags Its Feet on Testifying at 9/11 Panel," New York Times, 13 Sep. 2002, A12.

  Priest, Dana, and Dan Eggen. "9/11 Probers Say Agencies Failed to Heed Attack Signs." Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to a preliminary report of the joint congressional intelligence panel on 18 September 2002, "U.S. intelligence agencies received many more indications than previously disclosed that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network was planning imminent 'spectacular' attacks in the summer of 2001 aimed at inflicting mass casualties."

  Priest, Dana, and Dan Eggen. "FBI Faulted on al Qaeda Assessment: Domestic Threat Was Underestimated, Panel Told." Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost. com]

According to testimony on 19 September 2002 from Clinton and Bush administration officials, "[t]he FBI was confident that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network had a limited presence in the United States before last year's terror attacks." Thus, "the U.S. government focused on threats posed by al Qaeda overseas and lacked specific tactical information that would have been necessary to thwart the Sept. 11 attacks."

  Priest, Dana, and Susan Schmidt. "Intelligence Agencies Defended: CIA, FBI Called Understaffed, Overworked and Successful." Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2002, A1. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

Speaking to the congressional panel on 26 September 2002, Cofer Black, the CIA's former director of counterterrorism, offered "an impassioned public rebuttal to reports of intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 terror attacks." He told the panel that "overwhelmed anti-terror analysts have performed admirably with inadequate resources."

  Loeb, Vernon, and Dana Priest. "Tenet Expresses Ire at 'Bias' of Panel Staff." Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2002, A9. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In a letter to committee leaders, DCI George J. Tenet "has accused the staff of a special House-Senate intelligence committee of 'bias' and asked its leaders to keep their aides from poisoning the atmosphere of a public investigation into intelligence failures surrounding the Sept. 11 terror attacks." See also, Neil A. Lewis and James Risen, "C.I.A. Chief Angrily Assails Panel Staff for Notation Questioning Officer's Honesty," New York Times, 28 Sep. 2002, A10.

  Priest, Dana. "Panel Leaders Favor an Intelligence Czar." Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2002, A18. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In its final report, the joint congressional intelligence committee investigating the 9/11 attacks is "expected to recommend the appointment of a Cabinet-level intelligence czar..., according to government officials familiar with a draft of the study. The final report also will likely recommend that the CIA and Justice Department conduct a one-year study of the creation of a separate domestic intelligence agency, during which time the FBI would be given a last chance to remake itself into a force capable of collecting intelligence on domestic terror groups."

U.S. Congress. U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence. Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. S. Rept. No. 107-351, H. Rept. No. 107-792, 107th Congress, 2d session, December 2002. [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/911.html]

Shelby, Richard C. "September 11 and the Imperative of Reform in the U.S. Intelligence Community: Additional Views of Senator Richard C. Shelby, Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence." 10. Dec. 2002. [http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2002_rpt/shelby.html]

These are Senator Shelby's "additional views" on the joint House-Senate committee report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Shelby served 4 1/2 years as SSCI chairman and 1 1/2 years as vice chairman. Here he states: "Long before the September 11 attacks, I made no secret of my feelings of disappointment in the U.S. Intelligence Community for its performance in a string of smaller-scale intelligence failures during the last decade. Since September 11 I have similarly hid from no one my belief that the Intelligence Community does not have the decisive and innovative leadership it needs to reform itself and to adapt to the formidable challenges of the 21st century."

Loeb, Vernon, and Susan Schmidt. "Disciplinary Action Urged for Failures Before 9/11." Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2002, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

After six months of work, the House-Senate intelligence panel investigating the 11 September terrorist attacks has concluded that "[i]ntelligence and law enforcement officials whose blunders may have failed to stop terrorists from mounting the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes should be disciplined,… but decisions about punitive action should be made by the inspectors general of their individual agencies." The panel "criticizes the FBI for doing too little to 'penetrate terrorist organizations operating in the United States….'

"[T]he report also recommends that Congress and the administration consider the creation of a separate domestic spying agency because of 'the FBI's history of repeated shortcomings within its current responsibility for domestic intelligence.'" And "the report calls for the appointment of a Cabinet-level intelligence czar to oversee the government's wide array of intelligence units." See also, James Risen, "Dissent on Assigning Blame as 9/11 Panel Adopts Report," New York Times, 11 Dec. 2002.

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