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UQ Wire: Unanswered Questions For Condi Rice

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Unanswered Questions : Thinking for ourselves.

9/11 Families Raise Tough Questions for Condi Rice

Family Steering Committee Forwards Questions for National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice
From Kristen Breitweiser

The Family Steering Committee(FSC) firmly insists that Ms. Rice testify under oath, be asked the entire list of questions that is attached to our letter written to them, and at some point testify in public with regard to her role as National Security Advisor for the Bush Administration.

We hope that you will reach out to the Commission with regard to this.

Many thanks, Kristen Breitweiser


Dear Commissioners,

The FSC had a meeting with the Independent Commission on Thursday, January 15, 2004, at which time the Minority Staff Director Chris Kojm was asked about the placing of witnesses under oath.

The FSC was told by Minority Staff Director Kojm that all individuals testifying in open hearings would be placed under oath. When questioned about individuals in private interviews, and whether they would be placed under oath, Minority Staff Director Kojm told the FSC that if there was a "contradiction of fact" regarding a witness, said witness would be placed under oath.

In a letter dated August 12, 2002 to John Bellinger, Senior Associate Counsel to the President and National Security Council Legal Advisor from the Joint Inquiry, the Joint Inquiry's Acting Director stated the following:

The JIS would like to know the specific genesis of the August 6, 2001 PDB item relating to UBL and terrorism threats to the United States. As I have told you, we have received very different versions (emphasis added) of how this item came to be published. This is especially significant in light of the timing and content of that particular item in reference to the September 11 attacks and the substantial public interest in how well the Intelligence Community was serving the President at the time. Thus we believe it important to establish a clear and complete record in that regard, and suggest that the National Security Council should share that goal.

As is indicated above, there is a contradiction of fact surrounding the August 6, 2001 PDB. This contradiction of fact revolves around the statement made by National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice on May 16, 2002 wherein she stated that "the report did not contain specific warning information, but only a generalized warning, and did not contain information that al-Qaida was discussing a particular planned attack against a specific target at any specific time, place, or by any specific method."

Because National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice is testifying before the Commission in a private interview and a contradiction of fact is clearly presented with regard to her, the FSC requests that National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice be placed under oath while testifying and being questioned either formally or informally by the Commission.

Additionally , we felt that the unanswered questions for the National Security Advisor from the Joint Inquiry report (see below) need to be addressed.

Sincerely ,

The Family Steering Committee


Questions submitted for NSA Condoleeza Rice as originally asked by the Joint Inquiry on July 31 , 2002

Terrorism as a Policy Priority

1.During your time as Deputy National Security Advisor, what priorities did you establish for U.S. Intelligence priorities and where did terrorism fit in? How did this change from the priorities of the Clinton administration?

2.How were these priorities conveyed to the intelligence Community? Did the intelligence Community propose any changes in priority with regard to counterterrorism or al-Qaida? What were they?

3.Prior to September 11, who at the National Security Council and the U>S. government played a leading role in setting counter-terrorism policy? Who else was involved in this process? Please describe the process, the participants and the fora.

4.Prior to September 11, did Congress support the NSC's counterterrorism efforts? Did Congress oppose NSC priorities related to terrorism in any way? Please provide details of both, as appropriate.

5.Was Richard Clarke, the National Coordinator for counterterrorism, included all in Principals' meetings related to terrorism after January 2002? If not, why not? How was it determined who would be involved in such meetings? What was his role in counterterrorism policy and intelligence prioritization after January 2002?

6.During the transition from the Clinton administration, did former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger or other senior Clinton NSC officials provide any advice, information, warning, or guidance requiring policy, priorities, or threats from al-Qaida and Bin Ladin? If so, what was the advice, information, warning, or guidance?

7.Prior to September 11, was the Administration engaged in a review of counterterrorism policy? What issues were identified for change? What stage were plans in? What changes in the role of the intelligence Community, if any, were planned? What happened to the review after the September 11 attacks?

8.When the new Administration came into office, was it aware that Usama bin Ladin had declared war on the United States in 1998? Who provided this information, and how was it provided? What was the impact of that fact on the Adminstration's national security priorities? How did it affect the intelligence Community's posture?

9.Prior to September 11, did the President or other senior officials in the administration make any public statements or give any speeches on the subject of the threat of terrorism, or Usama bin Ladin's terrorist network in particular? If so, please make copies available to the (Joint Inquiry Staff)?


1.Prior to September 11, did the Intelligence Community come to the new Administration with any requests for additional counter-terrorism resources, e.g. additional funding? Who made the request, and what was the nature of the proposal?

2.Did the Intelligence Community ask the Administration for more resources to fight Usama bin Ladin and al-Qaida? Who made this request?

3.Did the Intelligence Community ever cite a lack of resources as the basis for not acting? If o, provide details and the NSC response.

4.When the DCI, Director of NSA, and FBI Director requested more counterterrorism resources, what was the stated justification for their requests?

5.What was the NSC's response to each specific Intelligence Community request for any increases in resources for counterterrorism? For al-Qaida?

Agency responsiveness and support for policy makers

1.What specific strengths did you observe in intelligence collection, analysis, and reporting on Bin Ladin, al-Qaeda or terrorism in general prior to September 11? What specific weaknesses? Please provide specific examples of each.

2.What was the quality of intelligence received by the NSC? Did the NSC make any efforts to improve this quality?

3.With respect to Intelligence Community counterterrorism efforts prior to September 11, how responsive were the CIA, the FBI, NSA, and DIA?

-Did they provide the President and the National Security Council with the information needed to make informed decisions?

-Did the agencies use their authority aggressively? Did they cite limits or a lack of authority as a basis for no action?

-Did they shift resources appropriately in response to NSC direction?

-Did the NSC provide any specific tasking to Intelligence Community agencies to which they did not respond? Please provide specific examples.

Threat to the homeland

1.Prior to September 11, including especially spring/summer 2001, what information did the Intelligence Community provide to the National Security Council, orally or in writing, indicating the possibility of terrorist attacks inside the United States?

2.Prior to September 11, what information did the Intelligence Community provide to the National Security Council on al-Qaida activities and infrastructure inside the United States?

3. Prior to September 11, did the National Security Council ever consider alerting the American people to the internal threat from al-Qaeda? What happened?

4.Did the National Security Council ever consider enhancing U.S. border controls, e.g., by strengthening watchlist programs, alerting the FAA or the airlines, or inspecting cargo containers on a larger scale? If so, what happened?

5.Prior to September 11, what was the National Security council's view regarding how well postured the FBI was with respect to combating terrorist groups inside the United States? What steps were taken to improve the FBI, if any?

6.Prior to September 11, did the Intelligence Community provide the NSC with any information regarding the possibility that al-Qaida members would use airplanes as weapons or hijack airplanes in the United States? What did the NSC do in response to this information?

Foreign governments

1.Prior to September 11, which foreign governments were most and least helpful regarding counterterrorism? How were they helpful or not helpful in each case?

2.Prior to September 11, were the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan supportive of U.S. conterterrorism efforts? How responsive were European allies? What priority was counterterrorism cooperation in Saudi Arabia relative to military operations against Iraq, the Middle East peace negotiations, and other concerns?

3.Did Intelligence Community agencies ask for NSC assistance in getting foreign governments to take action against terrorist cells? Did the NSC take any specific actions to support the Intelligence Community? What did the NSC do? Did the NSC ask or instruct the State Department or the Department of Defense to assist the intelligence Community in this regard?

4.Prior to September 11, was there any discussion of increasing information sharing and/or counterterrorism cooperation with the Sudan?

Use of Force/Overt and Covert

1.Prior to September 11, did the National Security Council consider the use of military force against al-Qaida in Afghanistan? How? In what form? Why was it not pursued? Was there sufficient intelligence to support military options? Was their tasking to gain further intelligence to support military operations?

2.Prior to September 11, did the National Security Council issue any tasking to the CIA or the U.S. military to develop plans involving the covert or overt use of force?

3.Prior to September 11, did the National Security Council ever review the CIA's authorities to conduct covert action against Bin Ladin or al-Qaida? What problems were identified regarding existing authorities, (_________) ? Were there any proposals to change those authorities before September 11th? What steps were taken?

4.Prior to September 11, was the unarmed Predator flown in Afghanistan after the Bush Administration came into office? Were proposals made to the NSC to fly it? Which participants favored flying it? If it was not flown, why not?

5.Did the National Security Council support the development of the armed Predator? Did any administration official try to expedite the process? Were any discussions held on this issue at the NSC? Who participated?

6.Did you consider (_________________________) Why or why not? What impact did you expect?

7.Why was there no military response to the attack on the USS Cole? Was this considered?


1. What recommendations would you make to improve the intelligence community's performance?

**** ENDS ****

STANDARD DISCLAIMER FROM UQ.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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