9/11 Widows Want Rice/Tenet Documents Released
9/11 Widows Want Rice/Tenet Documents Released
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Wednesday 25 October 2006
A handful of 9/11 widows have started an online petition in hopes of gathering the public's support to force the White House to declassify documents related to a July 10, 2001, meeting between Condoleezza Rice and former CIA director George Tenet in which the two discussed a pending attack on US soil by al-Qaeda. Details of the meeting were first disclosed a month ago in the book State of Denial by Washington Post assistant managing editor and author Bob Woodward.
In a letter posted on petitononline.com, Patty Casazza, Monica Gabrielle, Mindy Kleinberg, and Lorie Van Auken said that details of the meeting have been confirmed by the State Department and the White House warrants declassification of documents related to the meeting. The widows take issue with Woodward's exclusive access to officials' knowledgeable about the Rice/Tenet meeting and the possibility that he may have been privy to classified documents and transcripts in order to craft a narrative for his book.
"If Bob Woodward can have access to this information, why can't we, as American citizens and victims' family members?" Van Auken wrote in an email to Truthout, adding that the families of the thousands of people who perished on 9/11 are entitled to know what Bush administration officials knew prior to the 9/11 attacks and when they knew it. "Given that much of the July 10, 2001, meeting has already been made public ... it is unacceptable to continue to keep these documents and transcripts hidden from the American public's view."
The widows, in their online petition addressed to the media and members of Congress, renewed their call for the declassification of the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, and the CIA Inspector General's Report, "CIA Accountability With Respect to the 9/11 Attacks."
The disastrous nature of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks warrants the release of all of this information so that the American public may learn what its government did or did not do to protect them," states the letter to Congress and the media. "Had this nation been properly warned of the looming and imminent terrorist threat, life-saving choices could have been made that day."
Remarkably, the 9/11 Commission said it was briefed about the Rice/ Tenet meeting during the panel's inquiry into the terrorist attacks a couple of years ago, but for reasons still unknown the commission did not include this important detail in its final report to Congress.
Woodward, who has a knack for gaining exclusive access to high-level political officials and classified documents, wrote in his book that on July 10, 2001, Tenet briefed Rice about a looming attack against the US by al-Qaeda - which according to Woodward was the first known instance that an administration official was provided with specific details about the terrorist organization's intentions. Woodward wrote that Rice did not take Tenet's July briefing seriously when Tenet and Cofer Black, then the CIA's chief of counterterrorism, met with her at the White House.
In the book, Woodward added that Tenet and Black considered the briefing the "starkest warning they had given the White House" on the threat posed by Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. But, Woodward wrote, Tenet and believed Rice gave them "the brush-off."
Jason Leopold is a former Los Angeles bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswire. He has written over 2,000 stories on the California energy crisis and received the Dow Jones Journalist of the Year Award in 2001 for his coverage on the issue as well as a Project Censored award in 2004. Leopold also reported extensively on Enron's downfall and was the first journalist to land an interview with former Enron president Jeffrey Skilling following Enron's bankruptcy filing in December 2001. Leopold has appeared on CNBC and National Public Radio as an expert on energy policy and has also been the keynote speaker at more than two dozen energy industry conferences around the country.
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