UQ Wire: White House Stonewalling 9/11 Documents
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Unanswered Questions : Thinking for ourselves.
9/11 CitizensWatch Newsletter Issue 3
White House stonewalling 9/11 documents
From Kyle F. Hence co-founder Unansweredquestions.org & 911citizenswatch.org
NOTE to members of the Press--
Editorials and informative peices are vital to bring fruition to the issues swirling around the 9/11 investigation. And this showdown between the White House and the 9/11 Commission is surely worthy of attention.
However, the time is long overdue to my mind for some deeper investigative reporting on the particulars behind the major, substantive issues and questions being raised by family members and a rising chorus of Americans growing skeptical, and for good reason, about the official line coming out of Washington about what happened on 9/11.
Few have had the courage or perhaps the editorial freedom to venture into this delicate, censored, politically explosive arena. Hopefully, there will be more who will have the chutspah to do so in the coming days, weeks and months left in the Commission's mandate to conduct a full investigation into 9/11.
Letter from the Editor:
All business this glorious day after Halloween!
I Encourage all of you to forward this email or snippets of it to your friends, family and colleagues and to begin to call the White House to ask them to turn over requested documents and to call your Representatives to encourage them to put pressure on the White House and have hearings on the this issue (before voting to extend their deadline if requested) and others including:
1) de-classifying the 90-95% of the 28 redacted pages in the Joint Inquiry Report that Senator Shelby said could be revealed to the American people without compromising our National Security.
2) the lack of investigative rigor and 'issues' within the 9/11 Commission (ie. no testimony being taken under oath, the presense of minders during 'interviews', Dr. Zelikow's conflict of interest with the NSC he is investigating, the need to turn over non-classified evidence, hold more public hearings, issuing regular finding of fact, etc).
3) Asking what else is hidden from the American people regarding what happened on 9/11: in the immediate aftermath the Administration said there were no warnings. Now we know there were. Later the Administration said 'no one could have imagined planes being hijacked and crashed into buildings.' Now we know this was, at least in the case of the G-8 meeting in Genoa in the spring of 2001, something the Secret Service and the military actively prepared for. Later it was insinuated that Saddam and Iraq had something to do with 9/11. Now, since President Bush's statement setting the record straight, we know differently. (though the VP continues to differ).
So, it begs the question, what other surprises might be lurking within and between the lines of the documents various government agencies are so reluctant to turn over to the Commission? And what might other government whistleblowers reveal if they followed in the footsteps of FBI field agents Colleen Rowley and Robert Wright (whose own book on his FBI HQ undermined investigation has been 100% redacted)? If the truth is to be told and the application of accountability in a government culture that denies it is to be effected then we bring sunlight to this investigation.
Kyle F. Hence
Table of Contents:
Sounds Of Silence -- Editorial from The New Republic
White House Stonewalls Relatives of 9-11 Victims -- James Rosen
9/11 Widow -- Letter to the Editor -- NYTimes -- October 31, 2003
"Family Steering Cmte. Statement on withholding of documents by Gov't agencies
Facing the Truth Editorial -- NY Times - October 29, 2003
Open Up -- Newsday editorial -- Oct. 29
Letters to the Editor NY Post re. John Podheretz's attack on Commissioner Chair Kean.
Sounds Of Silence
Oct. 31, 2003
Editor's Note: CBSNews.com is delighted to be offering stories from two distinguished new partners, The New Republic and The Weekly Standard. TNR and the Standard are the two most influential, interesting and, most important to us, fun political magazines in the country (and they both have handsome Web sites, too). Not coincidentally, they inhabit very different sides of today's ideological spectrum, with TNR headed left and the Standard going right.
This commentary from The New Republic was written by the editors.
From Capitol Hill Blue
What Price Freedom?
White House Stonewalls Relatives of 9-11 Victims
By JAMES ROSEN
Oct 30, 2003, 07:01
Relatives of Sept. 11 victims accused the Bush administration Wednesday of stonewalling a bipartisan commission Congress set up to investigate the 2001 terrorist attacks by refusing to provide key documents.
Bush aides said the White House is cooperating with the panel and negotiating over the release of especially sensitive materials.
The exchanges came several days after Thomas Kean, the commission's chairman and a former Republican governor of New Jersey, threatened to use its subpoena powers to compel release of documents tied to the tragedy.
October 31, 2003
Release 9/11 Documents
To the Editor:
Re "Bush Weighing Decision on Release of Classified Documents to Sept. 11 Panel" (news article, Oct. 28):
As a family member who fought very hard for the creation of the 9/11 independent commission, I find it upsetting to read the White House spokeswoman's response to press inquiries that the White House believes that it is fully cooperating with the commission.
To me, it sounds awfully reminiscent of Condoleezza Rice's similar and carefully worded statement made last year that "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile."
There is a big difference between thinking or believing and actually knowing, which is why this commission must get full, unfettered access to all of the summer 2001 Presidential Daily Briefings, the working notes behind those briefings and a list of all who got those briefings.
Atlantic Highlands, N.J., Oct. 28, 2003
Statement of the Family Steering Committee Regarding the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the U. S. and the Need to Access Documents from Administration Agencies.
The Family Steering Committee is deeply distressed to find that eleven months into the government1s independent investigation into the attacks of 9/11, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States is still in the document-collecting phase due to stonewalling by the Administration..
Counter to the public statements made by both Administration officials and Commission members that there is continued cooperation between Administration agencies and the Commission, the record indicates otherwise.
A critical document the Commission needs is the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB). Although such a document has never been released to an outside investigative agency during a current administration1s tenure, an full analysis of the administrative failures that led to the death of 3000 people on the morning of September 11th calls for such an historical precedent.
The Administration itself opened the door to a review of these documents when Condoleeza Rice, in the days after the attacks, stated that the Administration and its agencies did not foresee the use of planes being used as weapons. Such a statement by the nation1s National Security Advisor calls into question the quality of information that flows from intelligence agencies to the Executive Branch. Analyzing this information, as well as other intelligence prior to and on the morning of September 11th, is crucial in determining how any Administration could better prevent or prepare for terrorist attacks. And access to these critical documents will be limited to the Commissioners and staff only -- all of whom have the highest levels of security clearance.
The flow of information from the Intelligence Community to the Executive Branch is a determining factor as to how pervasive the Intelligence failures were in the period leading up to September 11, 2001 and to what degree the Intelligence Community needs to be overhauled. The need to create new intelligence departments along with who they should report to can only be properly vetted after examining documents such as the PDB. All administrations rely on this vital flow of information from the intelligence community.
While respecting the concept of Executive Privilege, Family Steering Committee believes that in the interest of improving national security, Executive Privilege must rightfully yield so that this Commission can produce a comprehensive and definitive report.
Therefore, we call upon all members of Congress to demand that the Administration and its agencies grant immediate, full and unfettered access to all necessary documents requested by this Commission in order to ensure our nation1s safety.
The Family Steering Committee
Mother of Janice Ashley, 25
Widower of Sara Manley Harvey, 31
Widow of Ronald Breitweiser, 39
Widow of Alan Kleinberg, 39
Widow of John F. Casazza, 38
Daughter of Judy Larocque
Widow of Sean Rooney 50
Mother of Christian Michael Otto Regenhard, 28
Mother of Bradley James Fetchet, 24
Lorie Van Auken
Widow of Kenneth Van Auken, 47
Widow of Richard Gabrielle, 50
Sister of Jeffrey Wiener, 33
NY Times - October 29, 2003
Facing the Truth of Sept. 11
The commission investigating the government's failures before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is in danger of becoming a study in recalcitrance by the Bush administration. The independent commission's mandate is to supply a definitive account of the government's handling of the terrorist plot that killed almost 3,000 people. But the White House continues to fence with requests for classified documents crucial to the inquiry.
The 9/11 commission shouldn't need a subpoena to get the White House to share data.
October 29, 2003
In promoting the Patriot Act, which gave the government sweeping new criminal justice powers to fight terrorism, the White House argued that the frightening new threat the nation faced demanded unprecedented measures. That same logic should govern the administration's response to the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks: Determining how such a horrendous event could happen is so essential that the White House should find a way to give the commission the materials it seeks, short of data classified to protect intelligence operations. However important the preservation of executive privilege may be under normal circumstances, it is not sacrosanct.
Letters to the NY Post in Response to "Kean Mutiny" by John Podheretz:
With reference to "Kean Mutiny," arguments are made by its author that merit correction. Readers must wonder why Mr. Podhoretz fears the President's own cousin knowing the truth about what the White House may have known before the attack. Thomas Kean is not one to tattle.
Simply put, when the President says it's okay, it's okay. Congress and the President granted authority to Mr. Kean and the National Commission for precisely what they seek.
My question is, why is President Bush changing his mind after signing Public Law 107-306 when it comes to provision of some of the most vital information?
Please take a few minutes to read Public Law 107-306 available at http://www.9-11Commission.gov (select "About The Commission).
Lois Ann Battuello
To the Editor:
"Kean Mutiny" by John Podhoretz was an irresponsible piece of bullying that the American People won't be cowed by. Podhoretz attacks National Commission on Terrorist Acts (a.k.a. the 9/11 Investigation) Chairman, Governor Thomas Kean, for requesting documents that will explain the gross intelligence failures that lead to 9/11. I personally attended the Committee's first hearing in New York City, and interviewed 9/11 Comissioners for Free Speech TV and Sanderhicks.com. I was struck at how moderate Kean and his committee are. But these days, it's interesting to see how agitated they are becoming by the White House's refusal to provide necessary documents. The Administration's stonewalling is making skeptics and critics of those who were once polite government insiders. Pohoretz got the story backwards. We shouldn't be censuring the Committee, we should be calling on the White House to cooperate, and release the August 6th briefing memo, as well as all other documents that will provide insight into America's worst domestic atrocity.
Drench Kiss Media Corporation
Letter from Jason Marrs
Re: KEAN MUTINY, 10/28/03
September the 11th was the worst intelligence failure in our nation's history. With that in mind surely John Podhoretz understands that if we want to know how and why 9/11 happened, the 911 commission must investigate the intelligence that was available, who had it and how it was used. Without doing that and without following the evidence "wherever it may lead," the commission will be just another waste of taxpayer dollars. Perhaps Mr. Podhertz doesn't mind having his tax dollars wasted, but the rest of us do.
Thank you for your consideration,
Letter from Allan Duncan
In regards to Kean Mutiny by John Podhoretz I'd like to make a few comments.
First of all, President Bush himself appointed Thomas Kean to head the 9-11 Commission so that unanswered questions about 9-11 could be answered by a bipartisan group of people.
Since President Bush was Commander In Chief of our military on 9-11, the commission needs to examine documents about what the President knew and when he knew it so that they can figure out how and why our entire national security system failed to protect the American public on 9-11.
All of the members of the commission have security clearances so it doesnâ€ôt make sense that they not be allowed to examine classified documents that may be key to understanding what went wrong on 9-11.
The American public deserves to know the truth about what happened on 9-11, and if the White House continues to play games by refusing to reveal what the President knew prior to 9-11, "We the People" can only assume that a cover-up is taking place to protect the Commander In Chief from criticism for his role in failing to protect the public on that horrible day.
STANDARD DISCLAIMER FROM UQ.ORG: UnansweredQuestions.org does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the above article. We present this in the interests of research -for the relevant information we believe it contains. We hope that the reader finds in it inspiration to work with us further, in helping to build bridges between our various investigative communities, towards a greater, common understanding of the unanswered questions which now lie before us.