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UQ Wire: 9/11 Families Call For Lobbying Efforts

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Unanswered Questions : Thinking for ourselves.

9/11 Families Call For Lobbying Efforts


From Kyle F. Hence

Members of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission have asked me to pass on their recent statement and plea for an urgent lobbying effort to be sure recently introduced legislation calling for an extension of the deadline for the 9/11 Commission is passed in both the House and the Senate.

As most of you are aware there has been virtually unanimous support for this in editorials that have run across the country. While it may appear on first look virtually impossible for the White House or Republicans on the Hill to refuse this request from the Commission, further public pressure may be necessary to be sure the bills introduced by McCain in the Senate and by Rep. Fossella in the House recieve enough votes to pass. So please support the family members in their urgent plea for help-- call or fax your Representatives and Senators NOW!

Remind them of the need to address the many questions that remain unanswered and the need to have top level Administration and Intelligence Agency heads testify under oath and in public hearings about what happened.

Thank you.
Kyle F. Hence
Co-Founder UnansweredQuestions.Org

Capitol Hill Switchboard: 1-800-839-5276
To source fax numbers:
http://www.house.gov

P.S. Check out the 911CitizensWatch.org site. We've recently added numerous new links, downloads and topical news stories.

**********

Table of Contents:

1) a) Letter calling for lobbying effort -- b) Statement of the Family Steering Committee regarding an extension for 9/11 Commission.

2) Announcement of Rep. Fossella's plan to introduce legislation in the House to provide an extension to January 5th, 2005.

3) Re-post of earlier compilation of editorials and a letter to the editor re. the extension request.

**********

1)

To: Concerned Americans:
From: The 9/11 Family Steering Committee
http://www.911independentcommission.org

The FSC feels that there is an urgent need for an extension of time for the 9/11 Commission. Please see the attached press statement and letter. If people could call their Senators, Representatives, the WH and the Commission at 202.331.1125 to tell them that they support an extension, that would be very helpful ... thanks,

Lorie, Kristen, Mindy and Patty

**********

STATEMENT BY THE FAMILY STEERING COMMITTEE

FOR THE

9/11 INDEPENDENT COMMISSION

REGARDING THE NEED FOR AN EXTENSION

With little more than four months until May 27th, we feel that the Commission must request an extension from Congress regardless of whether the extension deadline is prior to or after the election.

Our reasons are as follows:

1.The scaling back of the number and scope of public hearings. During the first year of the Commission's investigation, the Commission repeatedly promised that substantive, hard-hitting, investigative hearings with testimony from high-ranking officials would commence in January 2004. According to a recent Washington Post article and certain Commissioner's own admissions, these promised hearings are now being curtailed and/or cancelled due to time constraints.

2.The discovery of new information of probative value in need of further investigation by the Commission. Recently, new information with regard to 9/11 has been revealed. (See Newsweek, Mike Isikoff; See N.Y.Observer, Gail Sheehy) According to media accounts, staff operations at the Commission are 'frenzied' in their rush to complete their work by the May 27th deadline. As a result, certain specific, relevant information with regard to 9/11 is being 'turned away' because of the Commission's need to focus on only broad issues. (See N.Y.Observer, comment by unnamed Commissioner)

3.The need for a Classified Final Report. The Commission is currently preparing a non-classified Final Report to be due out on May 27, 2004. The Commission, thereafter plans to release certain 'supplemental classified monoliths.' While this controlled release of information may please certain intelligence agency officials, the FSC is opposed to it. The FSC suggests the Commission issue a fully classified Final Report that would then be de-classified through the use of visible redactions. The FSC would recommend the Commission look towards the Joint Inquiry's Final Report as their model. The preparation of a classified Final Report requires more time and preparation by both Commissioners and Staff.

The FSC has spoken to 8 out of 10 Commissioners. All eight Commissioners are in favor of an extension for the Commission.

Moreover, Congressional support for an extension is also apparent. Senator John McCain, a co-sponsor of the original legislation that created the Independent Commission has stated, "They know they have plenty of people who would support them and force votes. They've got to have the guts to formally request it. So far, they haven't shown that."

**********

NOTE: On Tuesday, January 27th; due to pressure from family members the Commission formally decided to submit a request for an extension from Congress.

**********

January 20, 2004
Governor Thomas H. Kean
Chairman
Hon. Lee H. Hamilton
Vice Chairman

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
301 7th Street, S.W., Suite 5125
Washington, DC 20407

Dear Chairman Kean and Vice Chairman Hamilton,

We write you today to formally request a meeting with the Commissioners and senior Commission staff to discuss the progress of the Commission to date. We respectfully suggest that the meeting occur next week, either preceding or following the public hearings on January 26th and 27th.

With little more than four months until May 27th, we feel that the Commission does not have adequate time to fulfill its mandate. An article in yesterday's Washington Post said that the Commission "has already decided to scale back the number and scope of hearings that it will hold for the public." The article goes on to characterize the frenzied nature of staff operations in a rush to complete work by the May 27th deadline.

When President Bush signed into law the legislation that created the Commission, his expectation was that it would hold public hearings, in no small part as a way to restore confidence in a government that was made to look weak and inadequate by the events of 9/11. Respectfully, we question whether the hearings to date have had that desired effect. Additionally, Family Steering Committee cooperation has been predicated on Commissioners' promises to hold meaningful and substantive hearings in the future. While we have no doubt that these assurances were made in good faith, we are concerned that circumstances have forced the Commission to re-evaluate this position.

It should also go without saying that anything less than a cogent and comprehensive final report will be wholly unacceptable to the American people in general and the families of the 9/11 victims in particular. Yet articles in various newspapers "together with anecdotal information" lead the Family Steering Committee to believe that this is the only possible outcome absent an extension. We want to express our strong commitment to supporting an extension if the staff and the Commissioners feel that extra time is warranted, regardless of whether the report comes out prior to, or after, the election. Again we are asking that we all rise above politics and work towards the most complete report.

Thank you very much for your consideration of this request. Should you have any questions regarding the Family Steering Committee's availability during these days, please call Bill Harvey at (917) 648-6102. As time is of the essence, we will follow up with Commission staff later today.

Sincerely,

The Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission

Carol Ashley
Kristen Breitweiser
Patty Casazza
Beverly Eckert
Mary Fetchet
Monica Gabrielle
Bill Harvey
Mindy Kleinberg
Carie Lemack
Sally Regenhard
Lorie Van Auken
Robin Weiner

cc: Richard Ben-Veniste
Fred F. Fielding
Jamie S. Gorelick
Slade Gorton
Bob Kerrey
John F. Lehman
Timothy J. Roemer
James R. Thompson

**********

2)

Call, write or fax in support of this request:
1-800-839-5276
http://www.house.gov

**********

January 31, 2004

U.S. Rep. Fossella To Introduce Legislation to Extend Deadline of 9/11 Independent Commission Bill Would Allow Commission to Work Until January 2005 [Staten Island, NY] --

Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY13) today announced that he will introduce legislation in the House to extend the deadline of the September 11th Independent Commission to January 2005. "If the Commission needs additional time to complete its work, Congress should grant it," Fossella said. "The goal is for the Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the intelligence failures that led to September 11th. If we are to gain greater insight into the attacks and a better understanding of how we can prevent similar tragedies in the future, then the Commission must have sufficient time to complete its work. The Commission's work must be thorough, detailed and, above all, objective. I am hopeful an extension will allow us to achieve this goal." Fossella said his office has spoken to September 11th families this week in researching and preparing the legislation. Fossella said he expects to introduce the bill when Congress reconvenes next week. The Commission's deadline for issuing its final report is May 26. However, the Commission's top officials, former Governor Tom Kean and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, have asked for a two month extension.

U.S. Rep. Fossella To Introduce Legislation to Extend Deadline of 9/11 Independent Commission Following a recommendation by Voices of September 11th, a group comprised of surviving family members, who have said releasing the report in July would politicize the document and be "an insult to the dead," Fossella's bill would provide the Commission an additional seven months to complete its work. "Many September 11th families have expressed concern that politics could play a role in the final report if it is released at the height of the Presidential election," Fossella said. "I respect their concerns and appreciate their desire for the report to be completely free of politics. I believe the bill I will introduce meets the twin goals of giving the Commission the time in needs to complete its work and hopefully removes partisanship from the process." Legislation to extend the deadline to January 2005 was introduced in the Senate late this week.

**********

3)

1) Newsday -- Letter to the Editor from Elizabeth & Stephen Alderman who lost their son Peter: "We are sick to death of the Bush administration wrapping itself in the stars and stripes and invoking national security at the drop of a hat."

Philadelphia Daily News Editorials:

2) A 9/11 COVER UP?

"...you won't need Democrats to spin and spin the fact that the administration has something to hide, something big."

3) 9/11 Investigation -- Truth be told

"The irony is that the administration itself slowed the process, particularly its refusal to trust the commission with certain classified documents."

4) NY Daily News - Editorial - 1/29/04 -- Get the job done

"Whining about Democratic spin is disingenuous when you're doing everything in your power to invite it. When you stood atop the still-smoking wreckage of the World Trade Center, Mr. Bush, you redefined your presidency. If you want to win reelection, that must be the image you promote - not one of a chief executive afraid of the truth."

**********

Letter to the Editor from Parents of 9/11 Victim.

Newsday January 26, 2004

In response to "Bush Opposes Extension of 9/11 Probe": We are sick to death of the Bush administration wrapping itself in the stars and stripes and invoking national security at the drop of a hat.

Yet when its own political gain conflicts with the security of our country, there is no contest: Political expediency wins every time. It is in the grand tradition of this country to appoint blue ribbon commissions, giving them the time, power and money to explore the reasons for national catastrophes.

The Bush administration did not want an independent commission investigating the failures leading to the Sept. 11 attacks. It did not cooperate with the commission. And now it will not allow the commission to complete its investigation. To prevent Sept. 11-related controversies from emerging during the heat of the presidential campaign, the Bush administration seems willing to sell short this country and its national security.

Elizabeth and Stephen Alderman

Bedford, NY

Editor's Note: The writers' son, Peter Alderman, died in the World Trade Center.

**********

http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/7822324.htm

Posted on Thu, Jan. 29, 2004

A 9/11 COVER UP?

WHY WON'T BUSH COOPERATE WITH INVESTIGATORS?

THE WHITE House doesn't want to give the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks the 60 more days that it says it needs to finish its report.

Republicans are worried that a two-month extension would inject - shudder - politics into the Sept. 11 tragedy. The report would be released in July, in the middle of the presidential campaign.

As a shocked, but unidentified Republican congressional aide told the New York Times, "The Democrats will spin and spin."

Excuse us?

Where is the Republican convention scheduled?

Uh, New York?

And when?

Aug. 30-Sept. 2, later than most political conventions, but as close as possible to the third anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center.

And wasn't that President Bush framing his entire State of the Union address around the warning that "It is tempting to believe that the danger [of a terrorist attack on our soil] is behind us"?

Of course, the president's answer was an exhortation to not "turn back" and to re-elect him to keep us safe.

It apparently is not to find out once and for all what mistakes were made that allowed Sept. 11 to happen in the first place - and what changes in policies and procedures should be made to prevent it from happening again.

It was the Bush administration, remember, that resisted mightily the creation of this commission and then appointed the wildly inappropriate Henry Kissinger to be its chair. When Kissinger was forced to withdraw for a gazillion conflicts of interest, the well-respected Tom Kean, former governor of New Jersey and a Republican, took over.

Then the Bush White House proceeded to stonewall, not turning over documents until subpoenaed.

But why? Do they know something about the runup to Sept. 11 that we don't know?

It's already clear that the commission has found evidence to suggest that the terrorist attacks were not inevitable. Members of Congress who oppose extending the deadline need to explain why they don't want the whole story.

Otherwise, you won't need Democrats to spin and spin the fact that the administration has something to hide, something big.

**********

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/7820491.htm

Posted on Thu, Jan. 29, 2004

Editorial | 9/11 Investigation

Truth be told

Wouldn't you know it? Just as the independent commission probing the 9/11 terror attacks starts flexing some muscle, President Bush and congressional Republican leaders are getting impatient.

The commission looks serious about naming names and assessing responsibility for the horrific attacks. Commission chairman Thomas H. Kean contends the terrorists could have been stopped.

This week the commission revealed that border and diplomatic officials failed dismally in detecting the terrorists' moves. Meanwhile, federal airport security procedures permitted nine of the 19 hijackers to board planes despite specific warnings about each of the killers.

With such heat coming, Bush and GOP leaders want the commission to finish its work. If it's a rush job, apparently that's not their concern.

So they suggest there is no need to grant the commission more time beyond its May 27 deadline to produce a report on the attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

Well, Kean, the former New Jersey Republican governor, has the right idea. Along with his equally distinguished Democratic vice chairman, former Indiana congressman Lee H. Hamilton, Kean on Tuesday called at least for a two-month extension.

Kean said "much work remains." The commission has yet to receive key documents requested from the Bush administration. It is still seeking arrangements for testimony by top Bush officials. The commission could seek to question the President and Vice President Cheney.

The irony is that the administration itself slowed the process, particularly its refusal to trust the commission with certain classified documents.

Bush officials also dragged out the commission's work by their insistence that government employees be interviewed with minders present from the workers' agency or the Justice Department. It was a repugnant policy that suggested the Bush folks were concerned first and foremost about covering themselves politically, rather than discovering the lessons of 9/11.

So now the timing is awkward. Another two months' work by the commission will mean its report lands smack in the middle of the presidential election. Shouldn't some White House adviser have thought of that?

Chances are good Bush's Democratic opponent would be tempted to use any critiques of the President as campaign fodder. Then again, the administration could come out with flying colors, bolstering its homeland security credentials.

If America hopes to prevent another attack, one of the best strategies is an unblinking examination of the events surrounding Sept. 11, 2001. Congress and the White House should give their approval to extend the commission's life - in the interest of national security.

**********

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ideas_opinions/story/159160p-139683c.html

NY Daily News - Editorial - 1/29/04

Get the job done

The commission probing the 9/11 terror attacks is seeking a bit more time to complete its investigation. Instead of filing its report May 27, the deadline mandated by Congress, the panel would like an extension at least until July. Does anyone have a problem with that? We want a complete report, right? Well, uh....

The problem, people, is politics. Republicans fear that the commission would give the Democrats ammunition with a report that puts the Bush administration in a less-than-flattering light. So the light should be dimmed? That would be unconscionable.

The commission - headed by former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican - appears committed to a full, fair investigation. The White House should be its chief supporter, instead of strewing the path with obstacles. But obstacles have been strewn. For example, the administration has yet to commit to testimony from Condoleezza Rice and other officials. That's one reason more time is needed.

Whining about Democratic spin is disingenuous when you're doing everything in your power to invite it. When you stood atop the still-smoking wreckage of the World Trade Center, Mr. Bush, you redefined your presidency. If you want to win reelection, that must be the image you promote - not one of a chief executive afraid of the truth.

****ENDS****

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.


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