Back in July, I had hoped to be able to spend lots of time researching 9/11 in time to write a well-researched pamphlet to distribute in the vicinity of this year’s major 9/11 anniversary events sponsored by local 9/11 Truth groups. Alas, I was then swamped with work and other things, so I did not have a chance to do the desired research. So, I’ll just have to write the pamphlet based on what I already know. Here’s my draft of the first half of the pamphlet. (I’ll post the second half later today or tomorrow.)
Why we need a new investigation of 9/11
After 9/11/2001, many people had questions about how and why the attacks were able to succeed. Why did the U.S. government do nothing to stop the attacks?
- Why did the Bush administration ignore warnings?
- Why was there no 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). They have voiced this complaint despite their 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).
- Quite a few whistleblowers were not interviewed.
- The 9/11 Commission had subpoena power but rarely used it, preferring a gentler approach.
- The 9/11 Commission’s research staff was directed by Philip Zelikow, who had strong ties to the Bush administration (such as having co-authored a book with Condoleeza Rice). Thus the investigation was not truly independent of the Bush administration, as it should have been.
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.
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.
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.