‘9/11 panel was warned not to probe too deeply’
Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:57AM
Leaked info shows the 9/11 Commission was warned against crossing the lines in its probes.
Leaked confidential documents have revealed that senior officials from the former US administration had warned a 9/11 investigation panel against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks.
In a letter obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, the 9/11 Commission was refused permission to question terror suspects, with the Bush administration arguing that by doing so the panel would “cross” a “line” and obstruct the administration’s efforts to protect the nation.
Citing the need to “safeguard the national security, including protection of Americans from future terrorist attacks,” the government officials demanded the Commission not make further attempts at conducting a deeper probe into the September 11 terror attacks.
“As the officers of the United States responsible for the law enforcement, defense and intelligence functions of the Government, we urge your Commission not to further pursue the proposed request to participate in the questioning of detainees,” the letter said.
The warning note dated January 6, 2004 has been signed by former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and CIA Director George Tenet.
The 9/11 Commission was set up in November 2002 to prepare a full account of the circumstances surrounding the attacks, which still have an air of suspicion around them.
The revelation comes as according to a recent survey, one-quarter of US adults believe that the 2001 terrorist attacks were fabricated.
ACLU obtains document stating 9/11 commission told to “not cross the line”
March 17, 8:25 PMOrlando Independent ExaminerGregory Patin
According to a document obtained by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on Tuesday March 16, the 9/11 commission was warned on Jan. 6th, 2004 by high-level administration officials to “not cross the line” in the investigation of the events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.
The high-level administration officials included Attorney General John Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA Director George J. Tenet. The ACLU described it as a fax sent by David Addington, then-counsel to former vice president Dick Cheney.
The government officials urged the 9/11 Commission, “not to further pursue the proposed request to participate in the questioning of detainees,” according to the letter, citing the need to “Safeguard the national security, including protection of Americans from future terrorist attacks.” (See page 26 here).
Marcy Wheeler, writing for FireDogLake, speculates that the memo was an attempt by Bush administration to keep the torture of detainees from going public at the time. To many others, including Colleen Crowley, the memo is only a small part of a cover up that effectively gagged the 9/11 Commission from any real fact-finding.
Colleen Crowley, an ex-FBI agent who testified before the Joint Intelligence Committee regarding the events on 9/11, was recently interviewed by Scott Horton, professor at Columbia Law School and Contributing Editor of Harper’s Magazine. In the interview she stated that “FBI minders” listened to her every word, to trail her and make sure that she did not tell government personnel with top secret clearance even higher than her own anything which the FBI did not want to be told.
The warning in the memo released by the government to the ACLU is just one example of how the Bush administration fiercely struggled to prevent the 9/11 Commission from conducting a deeper probe into the attacks. It is common knowledge that Bush and Cheney refused to cooperate with the investigation and when forced to do so, only testified together, not under oath.
What may not be known to many Americans is that members of the 9/11 Commission have publicly stated that the investigation was a whitewash, and stymied from the beginning.
John Farmer, the senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, said that the government agreed not to tell the truth about 9/11, echoing the assertions of fellow 9/11 Commission members who concluded that the Pentagon was engaged in deliberate deception about their response to the attack.
Senator Max Cleland, who resigned from the 9/11 Commission after calling it a “national scandal”, stated in a 2003 PBS interview:
I’m saying that’s deliberate. I am saying that the delay in relating this information to the American public out of a hearing… series of hearings, that several members of Congress knew eight or ten months ago, including Bob Graham and others, that was deliberately slow walked… the 9/11 Commission was deliberately slow walked, because the Administration’s policy was, and its priority was, we’re gonna take Saddam Hussein out.
On Democracy Now, Cleland also said, “One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up”.
In 2006 the Washington Post reported that several members of the 9/11 Commission suspected deception on part of the Pentagon:
Some staff members and commissioners of the Sept. 11 panel concluded that the Pentagon’s initial story of how it reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public rather than a reflection of the fog of events on that day, according to sources involved in the debate.
9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerry also has unanswered questions. According to an article in Salon.com, he believes that there are legitimate reasons to believe an alternative version to the official story. “There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version,” Kerry said. The commission had limited time and limited resources to pursue its investigation, and its access to key documents and witnesses was obstructed by government agencies and key administration officials.
Commissioner Tim Roemer suggested that Commission members were considering a criminal probe of false statements. “We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting,” Roemer told CNN. “We were not sure of the intent, whether it was to deceive the commission or merely part of the fumbling bureaucracy.”
While most of the above statements are hearsay and impossible to verify factually, the document that the ACLU has obtained collaborates what officials involved in the 9/11 Commission have been saying for years. The entire “investigation” was nothing more than a whitewash designed to hide the facts about 9/11 from the American people.