Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


UQ Wire: 9/11 Investigation Interviews Itself

Distribution via the Unanswered Questions Wire
Sign up for the wire at:
http://www.unansweredquestions.org/headlines.php
Unanswered Questions : Thinking for ourselves.

Let's talk about the "fox guarding the White House!"

This is yet more support for the argument we need some kind of 9/11 Victim Family led ''Truth Commission.'' Who now has any confidence remaining that this Commission will press hard enough and stop compromising and dismissing blatant conflicts of interest so that we get to the truths hidden behind layers of secrecy, waving the "national security" flag and power-play intimidation?

- Kyle F. Hence

Co-Founder 9/11 CitizensWatch & UnansweredQuestions.Org

*****************

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of criminal justice, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

*****************

http://www.upi.com/print.cfm?StoryID=20040115-024012-7011r

9/11 director gave evidence to own inquiry

By Shaun Waterman
UPI Homeland and National Security Editor
Published 1/15/2004 7:16 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The panel set up to investigate why the United States failed to prevent the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, faced angry questions Thursday after revelations that two of its own senior officials were so closely involved in the events under investigation that they have been interviewed as part of the inquiry.

Philip Zelikow, the commission's executive director, worked on the Bush-Cheney transition team as the new administration took power, advising his longtime associate and former boss, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, on the incoming National Security Council.

"He came forward (to answer questions) in case he might have useful information," said Al Felzenberg, the commission spokesman.

The news was greeted with dismay by many of the relatives of the victims who campaigned for the commission to be set up.

"This is beginning to look like a whitewash," Kristen Breitweizer, who lost her husband Ron in tower two of the World Trade Center, told United Press International.

Jamie S. Gorelick, one of the 10 members of the commission itself, and the other official who has answered investigators' questions, was deputy attorney general in Janet Reno's Justice Department during the Clinton administration.

"She was a very senior person," said Felzenberg. "She had an interesting perspective."

The families have said for many months that they are not happy with Zelikow's role, which they argue creates at least an appearance of a conflict of interest. They were furious Thursday that they learned from the newspapers he had given evidence.

"Did he interview himself about his own role in the failures that left us defenseless?" asked Lori Van Auken, the widow of Kenneth. "This is bizarre."

Zelikow -- an historian based at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia -- has also come under fire from some critics for his close ties to senior administration officials. He has had a longstanding relationship with Rice, who hired him to work for her when she was a White House official in the first Bush administration. The two have written a book together.

More recently, some relatives have accused him of being in touch with White House political supreme Karl Rove -- the man widely believed to be the most powerful figure in the administration.

Zelikow was not available to answer questions Thursday, but Felzenberg did not deny the allegation.

"He has not spoken with Karl Rove about commission business," he said. "Like many others on the commission, he has a job he hopes to go back to afterwards. The Miller Center is dedicated to the study of the presidency, and (Zelikow) has contacts with a wide range of people from all recent administrations."

Zelikow, who the commission says has withdrawn himself from those parts of its investigation directly connected with the transition -- a process known as recusal -- was also appointed to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in October 2001.

The board provides the White House with advice about the quality, adequacy and legality of the whole spectrum of intelligence activities.

"Zelikow resigned (from the PFIAB) as soon as he signed the contract to be director of the commission," said Felzenberg. "He's recused himself from the relevant parts of the inquiry.

"Frankly, we don't see what the fuss is about."

"If (Zelikow and Gorelick) had not been commission officials, we would probably have interviewed them anyway. We've interviewed hundreds of people."

The question of the transition is a significant one, because critics of President Bush contend that the incoming administration "dropped the ball" on the fight against Osama bin Laden, which had been ramping up under President Clinton, especially after a suicide attack by his al-Qaida network nearly destroyed the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000.

According to one former Bush White House official, the incoming administration downgraded the interagency committee that handles the nation's counter-terrorism policy and operations on a day-to-day basis.

The Counter-Terrorism Security Group had, under Clinton, reported directly to the so-called Principles' Committee, the meeting of Cabinet-level officials that sets policy for presidential consideration.

"They stopped it reporting directly," the former official told UPI on condition of anonymity. "It had to report to deputies. ... It slowed down consideration of policy initiatives quite a bit."

Under Clinton, the former official added, the chairman of the counter-terror group, Richard Clarke, had been a member of the Principles' Committee, sitting with the secretaries of Defense and State and the national security adviser.

"They eliminated that ... It meant that the CSG didn't have that spokesperson to represent them and put the issue in front of (the principles) over and over again," the former official said.

Moreover, the deputies' committee, to which Clarke was now reporting, didn't meet properly until April, and -- partly as a result of these changes -- there was no Principles' Committee meeting on how to deal with the al-Qaida threat until Sept. 4.

Bush's supporters, for their part, say Clinton's failure to capture or kill bin Laden after his network destroyed two U.S. embassies in east Africa emboldened the extremists to attack America on Sept. 11.

Relatives say the news about Gorelick and Zelikow is a particularly sharp blow to the commission's credibility because they are the two officials to whom the White House has granted the greatest access to the most secret and sensitive national security documents, the presidential daily briefings.

Last year, officials acknowledged that one such briefing in August 2001, more than a month prior to the attacks, warned that al-Qaida was determined to strike in the United States. Some reports suggested that hijacking -- and even the use of airplanes as missiles -- was mentioned as the mode of assault.

"We want the whole issue of who has access to the briefings revisited," said Breitweizer, "the entire commission has to have access to them."

A delegation of relatives traveled to Washington Thursday for an evening meeting with commission staff, which was expected to be stormy.

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International

http://www.upi.com/print.cfm?StoryID=20040115-024012-7011r


*****************

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of criminal justice, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

*****************

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/15/national/15TERR.html

New York Times 2 on 9/11 Panel Are Questioned on Earlier Security Roles

By ERIC LICHTBLAU and JAMES RISEN
January 15, 2004

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 - The executive director of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has become a witness in the inquiry and has been interviewed by his own staff about his involvement in shaping the Bush administration's early counterterrorism strategy, officials said on Wednesday.

In addition, one of the 10 commissioners on the panel, a deputy attorney

general in the Clinton administration, was also interviewed this week. The unusual dual roles of the director, Philip D. Zelikow, and the commissioner, Jamie S. Gorelick, have raised fresh questions about potential conflicts of interest in the commission, which has been dogged by concerns about its independence since it was created in 2002.

In the transition before President Bush's inauguration in January 2001, Mr. Zelikow worked on Mr. Bush's team to help formulate national security policy. Because he participated in those discussions, investigators interviewed him to learn how much information the incoming administration had about the possibility of a major attack and what steps it took to guard against that threat.

The transition period between the Clinton and Bush administrations remains a sensitive issue, particularly in an election year. Many conservatives and supporters of Mr. Bush have argued that President Bill Clinton did not do enough to deal with the threat from Al Qaeda. Some Democrats and former Clinton administration officials have countered that the Bush administration did not take terrorism seriously enough, either, before 9/11.

Mr. Zelikow, a staff member of the National Security Council in the first Bush administration and a close associate of Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, has been a target of criticism because of concerns that his role as executive director of the Sept. 11 commission could pose a potential conflict. But it had not previously been disclosed that the panel interviewed him about the early planning of the Bush administration.

"He does have information that could be of interest to the commission's report," a spokesman for the commission, Al Felzenberg, said. "He wanted to be interviewed. He said, `If I have anything that can be germane, ask me, and I'll tell you what I saw and what I heard and what I recommended.' "

Mr. Zelikow declined to be interviewed about the issue because of commission policy, Mr. Felzenberg said. Commission officials said they did not believe that his role as a witness would impede the investigation because he had

removed himself from decisions or oversight involving his work on the transition team. But the general counsel is continuing to examine the terms of his recusal to determine whether it goes far enough to avoid any possible conflicts, officials said.

"This is not a closed issue," said a commission official.

In addition, Ms. Gorelick, one of the 10 commissioners to whom Mr. Zelikow reports, said she had been interviewed this week about her involvement in terrorism policy. She was the top deputy in the mid-90's to Attorney General Janet Reno. Like Mr. Zelikow, she has also recused herself from dealings

involving decisions in which she was involved.

Officials said Ms. Gorelick and two other commission members had also withdrawn from involvement in aviation issues because their law firms had airlines as clients. A handful of other staff members besides Mr. Zelikow have recused themselves from specific areas, as well, because of past positions.

Mr. Zelikow and Ms. Gorelick are the sole commission officials known to have been interviewed. They are also the only two commission officials with wide access to highly classified White House documents.

Mr. Zelikow's arrangement has caused particular concern among some commission officials because it means that the man responsible for the day-to-day operations of the panel will be removed from what could be an

important part of its inquiry.

Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died in the World Trade Center and who has helped lead a group of survivors pushing for more answers about the attacks, said the situation called into question the independence of the

commission.

"He has a huge conflict of interest," Ms. Breitweiser said when told that Mr. Zelikow had been interviewed. "This is what we've been concerned about from Day 1."

Her concern, Ms. Breitweiser said, is that the commission report "is going to be a whitewash."

"What we want to know is why they didn't investigate Osama bin Laden sooner," she added.

Her group plans to meet commission officials on Thursday, and family members are likely to raise their concerns about possible conflicts, she said.

Ms. Gorelick said potential conflicts and recusals were the price that the commission had to pay for having workers with extensive experience in national security.

"You want to have people who are knowledgeable," she said. "So you make certain accommodations to have that, and the accommodations we've made don't undermine the investigation in any way."

Since its inception, the commission has been a focus of questions about whether possible conflicts could taint its findings. The White House's first choice for chairman, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, stepped down rather than release a list of business clients at his consulting firm.

Some family members had protested that Mr. Kissinger's ties to multinational corporations, foreign governments and the Republican establishment in Washington would make it difficult for him to lead an objective investigation.

The first choice of Congressional Democrats for vice chairman, George J.

Mitchell, the former Senate leader, also stepped down after questions about possible conflicts over his corporate clients.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/15/national/15TERR.html

*****************

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of criminal justice, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

*****************

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.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news