POST-COLD WAR

2000s

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

2004

 

Materials arranged chronologically.

  Eggen, Dan. "9/11 Panel Faults U.S. For Letting Hijackers In." Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2004, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to a preliminary report released on 26 January 2004 by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States "[t]he U.S. government fumbled repeated opportunities to stop many of the men responsible for the ... attacks from entering the country, missing fraudulent passports and other warning signs that should have attracted greater scrutiny."

Shenon, Philip. "9/11 Commission Says It Needs More Time to Complete Inquiry." New York Times, 28 Jan. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The independent commission investigating the 9/11 terror attacks announced on 27 January 2004 that "it was seeking an extension of its deadline to complete the investigation until at least July.... The White House and Republican congressional leaders have said they see no need to extend the congressionally mandated deadline, now set for May 27."

Allen, Mike, and Dan Eggen. "Extension of 9/11 Probe Backed; Bush Reverses Stand, Wants July 26 Deadline." Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2004, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 4 February 2004, President Bush "agreed to support a two-month extension of the deadline for completion of an independent investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.... [T]he White House set a schedule that calls for release of the unclassified version of the report by July 26." An extension must be approved by Congress.

Eggen, Dan. "9/11 Panel Head Assails Delay: Chairman Warns That Inquiry Might Have to Be Limited." Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2004, A3. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The chairman of the independent commission investigating the 9/11 terrorist attacks, former New Jersey governor Thomas H. Kean, said in an interview on 19 February 2004 that the commission "will have to consider scaling back the scope of its inquiry and limiting public hearings unless Congress agrees by next week to give the panel more time to finish its work."

Risen, James, and Eric Lichtblau. "C.I.A. Was Given Data on Hijacker Long Before 9/11." New York Times, 24 Feb. 2004. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to U.S. and German officials, German intelligence officials in March 1999 gave the CIA "the first name and telephone number of Marwan al-Shehhi, and asked the Americans to track him.... After receiving the tip, the C.I.A. decided that 'Marwan' was probably an associate of Osama bin Laden, but never tracked him down," U.S. officials say. Shehhi "took over the controls of United Airlines Flight 175, which flew into the south tower of the World Trade Center."

Eggen, Dan, and John Mintz. "9/11 Panel Critical of Clinton, Bush; Officials From Both Administrations Defend Response to Al Qaeda Threat." Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2004, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

New reports by the investigative staff of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States criticize "the U.S. government's failed hunt for Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network." The reports find "that both the Clinton and Bush administrations focused too heavily on diplomacy that did not work and were reluctant to consider aggressive military action."

Branigin, William, and Dan Eggen. "Rice Defends Bush Efforts to Combat Terrorism; National Security Adviser Acknowledges Preparations Were Insufficient." Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2004. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 8 April 2004, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice "delivered a strong defense of the Bush administration's efforts to combat terrorism" to the commission investigating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But she also "acknowledged that the preparations of several administrations of both parties were insufficient." In her opening statement, "Rice told the 10-member panel that warnings about possible terrorist attacks before Sept. 11 were 'frustratingly vague' and 'there was no silver bullet that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks.'"

Milbank, Dana, and Walter Pincus. "Declassified Memo Said Al Qaeda Was in U.S.; Aug. 6 Report to President Warned of Hijacking." Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2004, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

An article, entitled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," from the 6 August 2001 President's Daily Brief (PDB) indicates that "President Bush was warned a month before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that the FBI had information that terrorists might be preparing for a hijacking in the United States and might be targeting a building in Lower Manhattan." The article was declassified on 9 April 2004 "by the White House in response to a request from the independent commission probing the Sept. 11 attacks." Text of the excerpt is available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3617289.stm.

Milbank, Dana, and Mike Allen. "Bush Weighs Overhaul of Intelligence Services; Aides Say He Will Await 9/11 Panel's Suggestions." Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2004. A3. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

President Bush said on 12 April 2004 "that he is contemplating a major overhaul of the nation's intelligence services.... Bush ... said that 'now may be a time to revamp and reform our intelligence services.' Aides said he is likely to wait for recommendations, scheduled for this summer, from the independent commission investigating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."

Duffy, Michael. "How To Fix Our Intelligence." Time, 18 Apr. 2004. [http://www.time.com]

Most of the members of the 9/11 commission have "come to think that a thorough overhaul of the way the nation organizes, collects and distributes intelligence [is] necessary.... Perhaps because it was the most dysfunctional agency of all, the FBI has done the most to try to heal itself since 9/11.... Under Director Robert Mueller,... the bureau has made counterterrorism one of its top three priorities." Acording to FBI experts, "Mueller has the right idea but ... the layers of agents and bureaucracy beneath him are reluctant to follow his direction.... Despite Mueller's focus on terrorism, agents are sometimes pulled away to handle traditional criminal cases. A long-awaited and badly needed computer overhaul is overbudget and behind schedule....

"The commission [has] found that the CIA shares some of the FBI's recessive genes." For example, "Tenet told his top managers in 1998 that the CIA was 'at war' with bin Laden, but the word never really filtered down through the agency, much less to other arms of the intelligence community....

"[S]ome changes are certain, particularly at the FBI." Legislation is being prepared in the House "that would create ... a 'service within the service' at the FBI to focus on intelligence gathering, not law enforcement." In addition, "support is growing on the Hill for a plan drafted by two-time National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft that would create a new intelligence czar with budget and program authority over the CIA and nearly a score of other intelligence units now under the Pentagon's control."

Click for reportage on the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official Government Edition, dated 22 July 2004.

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