POST-COLD WAR

2003

House-Senate Investigation Report on 9/11

Text of the report from the joint investigation by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001," is available in PDF format at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/911.html; and at http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2002_rpt/911rept.pdf.

Materials arranged chronologically.

Prados, John. "'Slow-walked and Stonewalled.'" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 59, no. 2 (Mar.-Apr. 2003).

"The Joint Inquiry issued its final report on December 10. It contained factual, systemic, and related conclusions, along with recommendations, but proposed no legislation.... The major recommendation was that the jobs of CIA chief and overall intelligence chief be separated by establishing a Director of National Intelligence as a new, Cabinet-level official with full authority over both the Pentagon and CIA intelligence budgets."

CNN. "Congressional Report Cites 'Missed Opportunities' Prior to 9/11." 24 Jul. 2003. [http://www.cnn.com]

A 900-page report on the joint investigation by the House and Senate intelligence committees into events prior to the 9/11 terror attacks was released on 24 July 2003. The report concludes that "intelligence agencies, including the FBI and CIA, 'missed opportunities' to disrupt terrorist planning" prior to the attacks. The report "does not point to any one single clue that could have thwarted" the terrorist plot, but "says that 'various threads and pieces of information' were either overlooked or not put together."

Johnston, David. "Report of 9/11 Panel Cites Lapses by C.I.A. and F.B.I." New York Times, 24 Jul. 2003, A12.

The report of the joint panel of the House and Senate intelligence committees, released on 24 July 2003, provides "a scathing critique of the performance of the F.B.I. and C.I.A." before the 9/11 terrorist attacks and "recommend[s] several changes, including the creation of [a] cabinet level national intelligence chief.... The report concluded that in the months before the hijackings, the F.B.I. and C.I.A. did not comprehend the gravity and imminent nature of the threat inside the United States and failed to assess all of the available information about the risk of an attack."

Priest, Dana. "White House, CIA Kept Key Portions of Report Classified." Washington Post, 25 Jul. 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Two "politically volatile" questions regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks "have been how personally engaged Bush and his predecessor were in counterterrorism before the attacks, and what role some Saudi officials may have played in sustaining the 19 terrorists.... To varying degrees, the answers remain a mystery....The CIA refused to permit publication of information potentially implicating Saudi officials on national security grounds.... The White House, meanwhile, resisted efforts to pin down Bush's knowledge of al Qaeda threats and to catalogue the executive's pre-Sept. 11 strategy to fight terrorists."

Risen, James. "Informant for F.B.I. Had Contacts With Two 9/11 Hijackers." New York Times, 25 Jul. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to the House-Senate committee report released on 24 July 2003, "[t]he F.B.I. may have missed its best chance to prevent the Sept. 11 plot when one of its informants developed close ties to two of the hijackers [Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaq Alhazmi] living in San Diego, yet never alerted the bureau to the impending attacks.... The F.B.I. missed the opportunity in large part because the C.I.A. had failed to share information with the bureau about the two hijackers, who had attended a meeting of al Qaeda in Malaysia."

Schmidt, Susan, and David Von Drehle. "Hill's 9/11 Probe Finds Multiple Failures." Washington Post, 25 Jul. 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to the joint investigation report by the House and Senate intelligence committees, released on 24 July 2003, the al Qaeda hijackers "were in contact with as many as 14 people who had turned up in previous FBI counterterrorism investigations -- at least four of whom were under active FBI investigation.... The U.S. intelligence community 'failed to fully capitalize' on information that might have allowed agents to unravel the hijack plot, the joint committee concluded, and bungled clues that should have led the FBI to two or more of the terrorists before they could act."

Smith, R. Jeffrey. "A History of Missed Connections: U.S. Analysts Warned of Potential Attacks but Lacked Follow-Through." Washington Post, 25 Jul. 2003, A14. [http://www.washingtonpost. com]

The joint report by the House and Senate intelligence committees, "particularly its detailed chronology of events in the last weeks when the attack might have been prevented[,] makes clear that the disaster was the result as much of lapses in government follow-through as it was the result of defects of intelligence."

Johnston, David. "Classified Section of Sept. 11 Report Faults Saudi Rulers." New York Times, 26 Jul. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to people who have read a classified section of the report by the Congresional joint committee on the 9/11 hijackings, senior Saudi officials "have funneled hundreds of millons of dollars to charitable groups and other organizations that may have helped finance the ... attacks.... The 28-page section of the report was deleted from the nearly 900-page declassified version." People who saw the section said that "[t]he chapter focuses on the role foreign governments played in the hijackings, but centers almost entirely on Saudi Arabia."

Johnston, David, and Douglas Jehl. "Bush Refuses to Declassify Saudi Section of Report." New York Times, 30 Jul. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"President Bush refused [on 29 July 2003] to declassify a 28-page chapter of a Congressional report on the Sept. 11 attacks. He said disclosure of the deleted section, which centers on accusations about Saudi Arabia's role in financing the hijackings, 'would help the enemy' and compromise the administration's campaign against terror."

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