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Stonewalled by the C.I.A. - Kean and Hamilton Op-Ed - New York Times

January 2, 2008
Op-Ed Contributors
Stonewalled by the C.I.A.
By THOMAS H. KEAN and LEE H. HAMILTON

Washington

MORE than five years ago, Congress and President Bush created the 9/11 commission. The goal was to provide the American people with the fullest possible account of the “facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001” — and to offer recommendations to prevent future attacks. Soon after its creation, the president’s chief of staff directed all executive branch agencies to cooperate with the commission.

The commission’s mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or the White House — of the commission’s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.

When the press reported that, in 2002 and maybe at other times, the C.I.A. had recorded hundreds of hours of interrogations of at least two Qaeda detainees, we went back to check our records. We found that we did ask, repeatedly, for the kind of information that would have been contained in such videotapes.

The commission did not have a mandate to investigate how detainees were treated; our role was to investigate the history and evolution of Al Qaeda and the 9/11 plot. Beginning in June 2003, we requested all reports of intelligence information on these broad topics that had been gleaned from the interrogations of 118 named individuals, including both Abu Zubaydah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, two senior Qaeda operatives, portions of whose interrogations were apparently recorded and then destroyed.

The C.I.A. gave us many reports summarizing information gained in the interrogations. But the reports raised almost as many questions as they answered. Agency officials assured us that, if we posed specific questions, they would do all they could to answer them.

So, in October 2003, we sent another wave of questions to the C.I.A.’s general counsel. One set posed dozens of specific questions about the reports, including those about Abu Zubaydah. A second set, even more important in our view, asked for details about the translation process in the interrogations; the background of the interrogators; the way the interrogators handled inconsistencies in the detainees’ stories; the particular questions that had been asked to elicit reported information; the way interrogators had followed up on certain lines of questioning; the context of the interrogations so we could assess the credibility and demeanor of the detainees when they made the reported statements; and the views or assessments of the interrogators themselves.

The general counsel responded in writing with non-specific replies. The agency did not disclose that any interrogations had ever been recorded or that it had held any further relevant information, in any form. Not satisfied with this response, we decided that we needed to question the detainees directly, including Abu Zubaydah and a few other key captives.

In a lunch meeting on Dec. 23, 2003, George Tenet, the C.I.A. director, told us point blank that we would have no such access. During the meeting, we emphasized to him that the C.I.A. should provide any documents responsive to our requests, even if the commission had not specifically asked for them. Mr. Tenet replied by alluding to several documents he thought would be helpful to us, but neither he, nor anyone else in the meeting, mentioned videotapes.

A meeting on Jan. 21, 2004, with Mr. Tenet, the White House counsel, the secretary of defense and a representative from the Justice Department also resulted in the denial of commission access to the detainees. Once again, videotapes were not mentioned.

As a result of this January meeting, the C.I.A. agreed to pose some of our questions to detainees and report back to us. The commission concluded this was all the administration could give us. But the commission never felt that its earlier questions had been satisfactorily answered. So the public would be aware of our concerns, we highlighted our caveats on page 146 in the commission report.

As a legal matter, it is not up to us to examine the C.I.A.’s failure to disclose the existence of these tapes. That is for others. What we do know is that government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.

Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton served as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the 9/11 commission.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/02/opinion/02kean.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

It's news.

Over at Salon, there is a related post;

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/01/02/obstruction/index.html

But it seems to be just a bit of buck-passing. Kean and Hamilton are up to their asses in the cover-up as much as anybody involved in the Omission Commission.

Likeable Enablers & Gatekeepers

Not as dirty as Kissinger, but still complicit in their unwillingness to deviate from the course of the 'investigation' set by the administration.

.

removed by AJF

removed

Kissinger was initially supposed to be the...

Head of the Commission.

Just a few weeks ago, I watched a documentary entitled The Trials of Henry Kissinger. It's available @ www.freedocumentaries.org.

Anyhow, after seeing that, I'm flabbergasted that Bush tried to get him in as the Commission Head.
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The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists. – Ernest Hemingway

It was the appointment of H Kissinger....

that sealed the deal for me.

I was doubting the "official" story from the start but has maintained about a 15% possibility that it could be true.
I followed everything "from the wilderness" that I could find about 9/11. When the WH gave in and announced
they would investigate themselves with Kissinger heading the investigation, I KNEW WITH 100% CERTAINTY
they would be covering up their involvement.

Oh, well, now we have the final word ...

... now that Kean and Hamilton have spoken!

Or maybe not. Check out Lorie Van Auken's and Mindy Kleinberg's letter to the editor at the NYT a couple weeks ago, after a front page story at the NYT fawned over the wisdom and concern among Commission leaders (including Zelikow) over the tape destruction disclosures.

I'm shocked, Messrs. Kean and Hamilton, shocked, to learn that gambling is undertaken in these premises!!! (Your winnings, sir -- Casablanca).

Van Auken / Kleinberg letter

The C.I.A. Tapes: Our Need to Know

Published: December 26, 2007
To the Editor:

Our government’s official story regarding the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, tells us that 19 Arab hijackers successfully defeated the United States military by hijacking four commercial airliners within two hours on a budget of approximately $400,000. These men, armed only with small knives, box cutters and Mace, were able to knock down the World Trade Center towers in New York City and strike the Pentagon.

Because our loved ones were murdered on 9/11, we felt that the details of how the hijackers succeeded should be thoroughly investigated, so we fought for an independent 9/11 Commission. It seemed logical that our government would want to know what happened so as to prevent another attack.

When the legislation for the 9/11 Commission was passed, it gave the commissioners full subpoena power. Unfortunately, that subpoena power was rarely used.

You report that “the panel made repeated and detailed requests to the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 and 2004 for documents and other information about the interrogation of operatives of Al Qaeda.” But while the panel did make “document requests” to the C.I.A., it did not subpoena the C.I.A. for the documents and tapes.

A subpoena would have meant that the C.I.A. would have had to answer the commission as to whether the documents and tapes existed, and the agency would have had to explain its reasons for not turning these documents and tapes over to the panel. We would have had a paper trail about the evidence.

You also report, “In interviews this week, the two chairmen of the commission, Lee H. Hamilton and Thomas H. Kean, said their reading of the report had convinced them that the agency had made a conscious decision to impede the Sept. 11 commission’s inquiry.”

The question is: Are Americans satisfied with this?

The 9/11 Commission did not fulfill its mandate to thoroughly investigate the 9/11 attacks. A real investigation into the events of Sept. 11 that examines all of the evidence has never been done and is still needed.

Lorie Van Auken

Mindy Kleinberg

East Brunswick, N.J., Dec. 22, 2007

I can't believe this was published...

Is that the case. If so the New York Times has some balls after all and we need to push harder in that direction as well as supporting Lorie and Mindy to further letters to the editor.

'Failures' & 'Unanswered Questions' Acceptable To MSM

If the Jersey widows started talking 'LIHOP' & 'MIHOP', they would be ignored by the MSM or worse.

The 'failures' and 'unanswered questions' approach is viewed as an acceptable risk for the MSM.

Government 'fails' all the time and questions concerning such failures often go 'unanswered'.

Not likely to stir up the natives.

Besides, the media wants the public to 'feel' and react, not think.

If...

The Bush Administration did absolutely nothing, or "let it happen", wouldn't the protocols in place have taken care of things on their own? They needed to take a more active role to insure the attacks' success. There is no such thing as LIHOP. It's a term used to label individuals and be divisive. I highly recommend people stop using it, as well as MIHOP.


Who Is? Archives

Good point Monsieur Gold

It reminds me of what Col. Robert Bowman said:

“I’m an old interceptor pilot, I know the drill, I’ve don’t it. I know how long it takes, I know the rules…and…critics on the government story of 9/11 have said: “Well, they knew about this and they did nothing.” That’s not true. If our government had done nothing that day, and let normal procedure be followed, those planes, wherever they were, would have been intercepted, the Twin Towers would still be standing and thousands of dead Americans would still be alive.” – Col. Robert Bowman from American Scholars Symposium: 9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda (June 2006, L.A.).

I Don't Believe In LIHOP

But if temporarily embracing the flawed LIHOP by some, can get the same people to graduate to MIHOP (Inside Job), I can live with it.

LIHOP may serve as a temporary gateway to ultimately accepting Inside Job.

But I think everyone needs to graduate from the 'failures' point of view. It creates the perception that modern Islamic terrorism is not a myth manufactured by western powers and that elements within the government were not behind the attacks.

I like the Jersey girls and I sympathize with them, but they will probably not obtain the truth about the attacks until they ask some unpopular questions.

A new and real investigation will not happen without them leading the way.

Do you know of anybody who

Do you know of anybody who "graduated" from LIHOP to MIHOP?

We see the "heroic Jersey Girls" and others after more than 6 years still promoting the "negligence Theory" without ever even considering LIHOP let alone MIHOP in spite of all the evidence they are aware of.

I've come to believe that both the failure/negligence Theory and LIHOP are just different levels of cover up and should be fought just as hard as the official theory.

From Al Qaeda To Inside Job In Less Than A Week

I went from 'Al Qaeda did it' to 'criminals within the U.S. government did it', in less than a week once I read 'Rubicon'.

I really think the Jersey Girls and other family members suspect Inside Job but probably feel that discussing the possibility openly is too risky and too divisive.

I suspect their numerous references to 'failures' in the 'Press for Truth vids, might be a safer way for them to appraoch the topic.

But I'm afraid the 'government dropped the ball approach' will not obtain a new investigation. But it may be more difficult to obtain a new one with the Inside Job approach.

Make no mistake about it though - 2008 must be the year we apply a full court press for a new investigation.

..but you didn't go from 'Al

..but you didn't go from 'Al Qaeda did it' to 'criminals within the U.S. government did it" over "the US gov. let it happen". If the Jersey Girls really suspect an Inside Job but don't dare say it for fear of being ostracized, they could at least give some sort of indirect clues. Instead of that, they constantly and exclusively talk about the hijackers and Al Qaeda and the warnings and negligence..Sorry, for people who claim to devote their lives fighting for the truth during the last six years, ignorance is no more an excuse than cowardice......BTW forget about a new investigation. A new investigation will be a new cover up. A government simply never investigates its own crimes and never lets anyone else doing it either. I am afraid that any acountability about 9/11 involves the overthrow of the present form of governement.

I Can't Argue With Much Of What You Say ...

A new, less restricted investigation can still happen if those who sought the first one, seek a 2nd one.

But they will have to pull fewer punches publicly.

It's spelled...

S-U-B-P-O-E-N-A.

Edit: You can see just how the 9/11 Commission used their power of subpoena here.


Who Is? Archives

CIA and 9/11

Just a quick overview of the CIA regarding Bin Laden/9/11:

1) The CIA essentially creates al-Caeda via funding and supporting the Mujahadeen in the early 1980s.

2) CIA funds and supports Osama Bin Laden as the leader of the Mujahadeen Afghan rebels.

3) Bin Laden remains a long-standing CIA asset until he allegedly turns against us just as the Cold War is over.

4) Madeline Albright twice refuses the handover of Osama during the Clinton presidency, when he's supposedly public enemy #1.

5) Bin Laden is treated at an American hospital in Dubai in July of 2001, where he meets with the local CIA chief.

6) On 9/11 George H.W. Bush, a former Director of the CIA, is in a meeting with Osama Bin Laden's brother while President Bush ignores the attacks on America.

7) There just happens to be close family ties between the Bushes and the Bin Ladens.

8) Members of Osama's family were flown out of the country without proper questioning during a time of airspace lockdown.

9) Osama Bin Laden was repeatedly allowed to escape from Tora Bora after the US invasion, according to CIA sources and Special Forces.

10) The FBI says there's no proof that Bin Laden was behind 9/11. Hence his Most Wanted page never mentions these attacks.

11) No white paper giving evidence of Bin Laden's guilt or the identites of hijackers has ever been provided to the American people.

12) The Confession video discovered by the CIA in Afghanistan is bogus according to the top US Bin Laden expert, Bruce Lawrence of Duke University. "It is not him."

13) Several alleged hijackers have been interviewed by the BBC subsequent to 9/11, proving the official list is wrong.

14) The CIA admits to destroying the tapes of its interrogations with suspected terrorists, calling into question the entire al-Caeda story.

15) The 9/11 Commission was obstructed by the CIA, who deliberately lied to the Commission and Congress.

16) The anthrax attacks in the weeks after 9/11 were ultimately linked to a source within the CIA, who was obviously trying to pin it on Arab terrorists with phrases like, "Allah Akbar" accompanying the letters. The anthrax itself was determined to be a weapons-grade anthrax emanating from Ft. Deitrick, MD. (likely).

So, the CIA created al-Cadea, sponsored the anthrax attacks, lied to the 9/11 Commission and Congress, and now admits to destroying evidence!

Damn...

that's a good list.
If there were links documenting each point that would be an awesome resource to send to people.

"Jumping Ship | Lee Hamilton

"Jumping Ship | Lee Hamilton | Rats | Thomas Kean"

^ Hahahahaha...

:>)

rats jumping is an encouraging sign

For three years

we have been saying, "Look at page 146 of the report."

Maybe now that the advice appears in the NY Times, those folks over at DailyKos, and at the other gatekeeper sites, will finally listen.

Page 146?

Simuvac, I don't have the report. What is the gist of page 146?

Thanks

Page 146 is where

the 9/11 Commission admits it never met the detainees whose alleged testimony comprises much of the chapters that outline the 9/11 plot. The Commission writes the following in a boxed off section of chapter 5:

"Detainee Interrogation Reports
Chapters 5 and 7 rely heavily on information obtained from captured al Qaeda members. A number of these "detainees" have firsthand knowledge of the 9/11 plot.

Assessing the truth of statements by these witnesses -- sworn enemies of the United States -- is challenging. Our access to them has been limited to the review of intelligence reports based on communications received from the locations where the actual interrogations take place. We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked. Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting. We were told that our requests might disrupt the sensitive interrogation process.

We have nonetheless decided to include information from captured 9/11 conspirators and al Qaeda members in our report. We have evaluated their statements carefully and have attempted to corroborate them with documents and statements of others. In this report, we indicate where such statements provide the foundation for our narrative. We have been authorized to identify by name only ten detainees whose custody has been confirmed officially by the U.S. government."

Without these alleged firsthand accounts, the Commission can say very little about the alleged plot. It has "no hard evidence," only the alleged testimony of alleged terrorists who have been tortured. Who knows if what they are alleged to have said is true?

Very Dangerous Time For Bushco

Mukasey is trying to plug the holes in the dam as it disintegrates. I believe Hamilton and Kean see the danger and want to get out front in a proactive stance in case the truth breaks.

The internet is howling over the torture tape developments and 9/11 truth stock has gone up in places where it was previously banned. Lurid stories about torture, torture/murders

and attendent coverups, all perpetrated by the government, really capture the imagination of the population.

Phillip Zelikow?

What is Zelikow up to these days? As the executive director of the 9/11 commission, wasn't he part of this obstruction/coverup?

Does he ever write OpEd pieces supporting the 9/11 "Omissions" Report? Or is he laying low these days?

MP3 Audio Clip - Philip Zelicow

Friday December 7, 2007
9/11 Executive Director Philip Zelicow Talks To NPR About Deleted CIA Torture Tapes

* source = http://www.npr.org
-----------------------------------

More MP3 Audio Clips >

I wouldn't...

hold my breath on that Simuvac.

Those losers at DK have NO clue! NONE!!!

I agree about DK

whenever I look at DK it is apparent to me that almost everyone there has had their thought parameters shaped by
their CIA controller while they remain oblivious to the fact. Anyone who still can think for themselves has abandoned KOS.

CIA & CYA

I don't find it especially "encouraging" that Kean and Hamilton are stamping their feet about the CIA tapes story. Clearly there are hundreds of omissions and distortions in, and questions about, the Commission Report; there are scores of instances of outright perjury before this Commission, and the guiding principle of the Commission was itself based on a foregone conclusion.

It's "nice" to see something in the news that might nudge people into realizing how little they really know about what happened on 9/11, but I don't see that Kean and Hamilton are doing anything more at the moment than covering their own asses. They're exploiting a story that's made the news in order to assert their innocence of any charges that the Commission Report is flawed. Will there be a steam of future editorials as other stories compromising the "findings" of the Commission break into the headlines? Fine; I hope so. But I don't care a fig about Hamilton and Kean; they failed to serve justice and were themselves an obstruction to meaningful investigation.
I'd say these bastards already "protest too much."

"If They can get you asking the wrong questions, They don't have to worry about answers."
—Thomas Pynchon

Criminal probe opened over CIA tapes By MATT APUZZO, AP

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080102/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/cia_videotapes_10

Criminal probe opened over CIA tapes

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 22 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department opened a full criminal investigation Wednesday into the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, putting the politically charged probe in the hands of a mob-busting public corruption prosecutor with a reputation as being independent.
ADVERTISEMENT

Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that he was appointing John Durham, a federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to oversee the investigation of a case that has challenged the Bush administration's controversial handling of terrorism suspects.

The CIA acknowledged last month that in 2005 it destroyed videos of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects. The acknowledgment sparked a congressional inquiry and a preliminary investigation by Justice into whether the CIA violated any laws or obstructed congressional inquiries such as the one led by the Sept. 11 Commission.

"The Department's National Security Division has recommended, and I have concluded, that there is a basis for initiating a criminal investigation of this matter, and I have taken steps to begin that investigation," Mukasey said in a statement released Wednesday.

Durham, who has served with the Justice Department for 25 years, has a reputation as one of the nation's most relentless prosecutors. He was appointed to investigate the FBI's use of mob informants in Boston, an investigation that sent former FBI agent John Connolly to prison.

"Nobody in this country is above the law, an FBI agent or otherwise," Durham said in 2002 after Connolly's conviction.

Mukasey made the move after prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia, which includes the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Va., removed themselves from the case. CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson, who worked with the Justice Department on the preliminary inquiry, also removed himself.

"The CIA will of course cooperate fully with this investigation as it has with the others into this matter," agency spokesman Mark Mansfield said.

MORE.. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080102/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/cia_videotapes_10

CIA tapes

It seems to me that the torturees should be questioned as to just what was going on between them and the CIA. They are still alive as I understand it. Congress should call on them to bare witness to the truth of what they said as they were being waterboarded.

Obviously, the fact that these clowns (Hamiton and Kean) did not see the waterboarding tapes is the least of their problems. The biggest problem is that their commission was a cover-up for something and we don't know what that something was still.

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