Flashback: What We Don't Know About 9/11 Hurts Us

In early 2005, a monograph was released from the 9/11 Commission. It caused QUITE an uproar. It's interesting to note that the author of this article, Robert Scheer, was fired in November of 2005. He appeared on Democracy Now! to talk about it. The following is his article, as well as the September 11th Advocates letter, and Kyle Hence's comment from when this was originally posted on 911Citizenswatch.org - Jon

Source: latimes.com

Robert Scheer -- Los Angeles Times -- February 15, 2005

Would George W. Bush have been reelected president if the public understood how much responsibility his administration bears for allowing the 9/11 attacks to succeed?

The answer is unknowable and, at this date, moot. Yet it was appalling to learn last week that the White House suppressed until after the election a damning report that exposes the administration as woefully incompetent if not criminally negligent. Belatedly declassified excerpts from still-secret sections of the 9/11 commission report, which focus on the failure of the Federal Aviation Administration to heed multiple warnings that Al Qaeda terrorists were planning to hijack planes as suicide weapons, make clear that this tragedy could have been avoided.

For the last three years, administration apologists have tried to make the FAA the scapegoat for the 9/11 attacks. But it is the president who ultimately is responsible for national security, not a defanged agency that is beholden to the industry it allegedly monitors. The terrible fact is that the administration took none of the steps that would have put the protection of human life ahead of a diverse set of economic and political interests, which included not offending our friends the Saudis and not hurting the share prices of airline corporations.

The warnings provided by intelligence agencies to the FAA were far clearer and more specific than suggested by Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the 9/11 commission when she reluctantly conceded the existence of a presidential briefing that warned of impending Al Qaeda attacks. Rice had dismissed those warnings as "historical," but according to the newly released section of the 9/11 report, an astonishing 52 of the 105 daily intelligence briefings received by the FAA — and available to Rice — before the Sept. 11 attacks made specific reference to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Given this shocking record of indifference on the part of the administration, it is politically understandable that it tried to prevent the formation of the 9/11 commission in the first place, and then for five months prevented the declassification of key sections of the final report. Commission members, including its Republican chairman, Thomas Kean, stated in the past that there was no national security concern that justified keeping those sections of the report from the public.

And let's be clear: The failure to fully disclose what is known about the 9/11 tragedy is not some minor bureaucratic transgression. Not since the Soviets first detonated an atomic bomb more than half a century ago has a single event so affected decision-making in this country, yet the main questions as to how and why it happened remain mostly unanswered.

Even worse, what we do know calls into question our government's explanation that a diabolical international terrorist conspiracy exploited our liberal, naive society. What has emerged, instead, is a portrait of an often bumbling terrorist gang allowed to wreak havoc because the top tiers of the administration were so indifferent to the alarms, which former CIA Director George Tenet described so graphically: "The system was blinking red."

Had the business-friendly administration put safety first and ordered a full complement of air marshals into the air, over the obscene objections of airlines loath to give up paid seats, nearly 3,000 people might not have died that day. And had the president of the United States taken some time from his epic ranch vacation that August to order a nationwide airport alert, two bloody wars abroad, as well as an all-out assault on civil liberties in this country, probably would not have happened.

Instead, an administration that resisted spending the tens of millions required to fortify airline security before 9/11 is nearing the $300-billion mark on Afghanistan and Iraq. And declassified documents have unmistakably said the latter had nothing to do with 9/11. Meanwhile, those countries that at least indirectly did, most notably "allies" Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, have been let off the hook.

Indeed, the 9/11 commission was not allowed to get near that story: It is an unnoticed but startling truth that the basic narrative on the tragedy derives from the interrogations of key detainees whom the 9/11 commissioners were not allowed to interview. Nor were they permitted to even take testimony from the U.S. intelligence personnel who interrogated those prisoners.

When the truth and governmental transparency are arbitrarily trumped by the invocation of national security, the public is simply incapable of making informed decisions on the most crucial decisions we face — starting with whom we elect as our commander in chief.

September 11th Advocates Statement re. 9/11 Commission’s Declassified Monograph on FAA Failures

February 11, 2005

September 11th was neither an intelligence failure nor was it a failure of imagination. It was nonfeasance on behalf of a whole host of government agencies, including the FAA.

Of the 105 warnings issued, 52 warnings regarding al Qaeda were given to the FAA by the intelligence community in a six month period from April 2001 to September 2001. According to the 9/11 Commission's final report, there were eight information circulars put out by the FAA between July 2, and September 10, 2001. Five of these information circulars targeted overseas threats, while the remaining three targeted domestic threats.

The 52 threats regarding al Qaeda were not received by the FAA in a vacuum. From March 2001 to September 2001, according to the Joint Inquiry of Congress, our Intelligence Community received at least 41 specific threats of a possible domestic attack by al Qaeda. Additionally, the FAA was also made aware of the August 16, 2001 arrest of Zaccarias Moussouai. Finally, the FAA attended a high level meeting on July 5, 2001 where the domestic threat posed by al Qaeda was discussed by all relevant intelligence agencies.

According to the newly released FAA monograph, in the spring of 2001 the FAA knew that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable".

The aforementioned statement is yet another indicator of how widely known it was in the national security community that al Qaeda was interested in using planes as missiles. Yet, as the historic record also widely indicates, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice publicly stated that she didn't think that anyone could imagine that planes could be used as missiles.

Furthermore, Ms. Rice also testified, under oath, before the 9/11 Commission, that the August 6, 2001 PDB, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.," contained purely "historical" threat information. The revelation of the 52 warnings given to the FAA during this same time period would seem to indicate that Ms. Rice perjured herself during her testimony.

Moreover, Ms. Rice also testified that there was nothing more the U.S. government could have done during the summer of 2001 to thwart the attacks of 9/11. Yet, the newly released 9/11 Monograph states that the federal air marshal program was specifically deleted from all domestic flights during the summer of 2001 as a result of cost cutting by the airlines. Certainly, placing air marshals on domestic flights was well within the purview of Ms. Rice's own responsibilities and tasking as National Security Advisor. Why has she not been held accountable? Additionally, why has no one in the airline community been held accountable?

An FAA spokesperson asserts that the FAA didn't have specific information regarding means or methods that would have enabled them to tailor any counter measures. This statement clearly contradicts the reality detailed in this report. Stepping up security in the face of terror warnings is not a new concept for America's government agencies. The FAA testified before the 9/11 Commission that during the millennium an unknown terror plot caused them to ratchet up their security procedures. With 52 warnings, why was this not done in 2001?

The American public must not be lulled into a false sense of security. While government reports might allege that the myriad of government agencies, individuals, and institutions that failed our nation on 9/11 have been fixed post-9/11, the disturbing fact remains that after all the failures of 9/11 have been revealed, far too many of the same individuals who were unable to react appropriately to clear and abundant warnings, are still in their positions today.

Notably missing from this monograph is any information pertaining to NORAD’s failure to timely scramble jets, which leads us to wonder what else is being withheld from the public.

September 11th Advocates

Kristen Breitweiser
Patty Casazza
Monica Gabrielle
Mindy Kleinberg
Lorie Van Auken

Kyle's Message
Increasing numbers now believe that based on mounting credible evidence it goes beyond the criminal negligence suggested here by Robert Scheer. Evidence from whistleblowers and others ignored by the Commission now demands that Americans and the world at least seriously consider the possibility of willful criminal complicity by individuals with vested interests within the U.S. government or by U.S. government contractors who stood to gain immensely (and did) from the attack. Instead of these individuals being investigated or held responsible they have been let off the hook or in many cases given promotions and rewards for their 'incompetence' or 'criminal negligence'.

It should go without saying that incompetence, criminal negligence and active criminal facilitation by U.S. government officials, agents or government contractors could have all concurred leading up to, and during the 9/11 attacks and that cover-ups of all three have been effected with the result being zero accountability and an utterly failed investigation.

Hearings should be held on Capitol Hill to examine the testimony and evidence seen by Sibel Edmonds, the statements about a lying NORAD made by Senator Dayton, the extensive warnings that were not only given to the FAA but were handled and surely vetted by Dr. Rice and the larger intelligence community. There has been willful perjury and deception on the part of the Administration relative to the investigation of 9/11. Now that the recommendations of the Commission have been acted upon, let us return to the actual findings of the Commission, what's been distorted or left out altogether and have hearings on the Hill to begin to answer for ourselves many of the hundreds of questions raised by the 9/11 Family Steering Committee which have yet to be addressed.

The time is long overdue. And it's NOT too late to set the record straight and learn the whole truth. Our future depends upon it.

Kyle F. Hence