In response to some feedback I got in the Truth Action forum, here’s my revised version of Part 1 of the pamphlet:
Why we need a new investigation of 9/11
Why should anyone still care about 9/11, now that Bush is no longer President?
- Because Obama is continuing the wars that were justified by 9/11, and is letting the torturers get away with it.
- Because excessive secrecy and lack of accountability are toxic to democracy. Even if no one in the U.S. government was guilty of anything worse than incompetence, it is our right and duty, as citizens and as taxpayers, to hold them accountable.
After 9/11/2001, many people had questions about how and why the attacks were able to succeed.
- Why did the Bush administration ignore warnings?
- Why wasn’t there any effective air defense?
- Why were some of the 9/11 hijackers, already known to be terrorists, even allowed into this country?
Bush opposed calls for an investigation into these questions. Eventually the 9/11 Families movement, led by four 9/11 widows known as the “Jersey Girls,” did succeed in pressuring Congress and Bush to create the 9/11 Commission.
But there is lots of evidence of coverups. For example:
- Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, the chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commisstion, have said they were “stonewalled by the C.I.A.” (New York Times, January 2, 2008). In their book Without Precedent (2006), they charge that the 9/11 Commission was “set up to fail.” They have voiced these complaints despite their own widely perceived go-easy attitude.
- Thomas H. Kean has said that NORAD (the North American Aerospace Command) made blatantly false statements “so far from the truth” that the 9/11 Commission considered criminal charges (Washington Post, August 2, 2006).
- Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said that there is evidence of involvement by foreign governments – evidence that remains highly classified. Graham has alleged that the information remains classified not for any genuine national security reason, but merely to avoid embarrassing some people. (PBS interview, July 24, 2003)
Many people regard the 9/11 Commission itself as part of the coverup, for many reasons including the following:
- The 9/11 Commission Report, dismisses the question of the financing of the 9/11 attacks as being “of little practical significance” (Chapter 5).
- Many whistleblowers were not interviewed.
- The 9/11 Commission had subpoena power but rarely used it.
- The 9/11 Commission’s research staff was directed by Philip Zelikow, who had strong ties to the Bush administration. (He had been a member of Bush’s transition team, and he had cc-authored a book with Condoleeza Rice). Thus the investigation was not truly independent of the Bush administration, as it should have been.
It is clear to many people that there have been coverups. But coverups of what? Among people who talk about 9/11, debate is now polarized between people who insist that “9/11 was an inside job” and people who insist that whatever might have been covered up, it couldn’t possibly be anything worse than incompetence. But there are many other possibilities between the extremes of “inside job” and “nothing worse than incompetence.” Other possibilities include criminal negligence, corruption, and treason. Due to the coverups, we simply don’t know all the facts.
Chapters 5 and 7 of the 9/11 Commission Report, which deal with Al Qaeda and the hijackers, are based largely on CIA reports about interrogations of people who were tortured. Torture is not only a severe violation of human rights, but also results in notoriously unreliable confessions The commissioners were not allowed to interview the detainees themselves, nor were they even allowed to view direct transcripts of interrogations.
Whatever the U.S. government did or didn’t do on or before 9/11, what’s important is that those responsible for its failures be held accountable — even if no one in the U.S. government was guilty of anything worse than incompetence. And it is important to know what really went wrong in terms of counter-terrorism policy, so that we can know what’s really needed to protect us from terrorism, without undue sacrifice of our privacy and civil liberties. (The “PATRIOT act” was probably overkill.) To that end, we need a new, more truly independent follow-up investigation, similar to what the 9/11 Commission was supposed to be.