Zelikow Failed to Mention Possible Criminal Referral of False Statements by NORAD and FAA in Memo to 9/11 Commission Heads

A document recently discovered in the National Archives shows that, in a memo to the 9/11 Commission’s chairman and vice-chairman on false statements made by NORAD and FAA officials about the failure of US air defenses, the commission’s Executive Director Philip Zelikow failed to mention the possibility of a criminal referral. This supports allegations that Zelikow “buried” the option of a criminal referral by the commission to the Justice Department for a perjury investigation. The document was found at the National Archives by HistoryCommons contributor paxvector and posted to the History Commons site at Scribd.

Initially, the FAA and NORAD claimed that the FAA had notified NORAD of the third hijacked flight 13 minutes before it hit the Pentagon and that it had also notified NORAD of the fourth plane, which NORAD then allegedly tracked until it crashed in Pennsylvania. After working for a year and analyzing documents and audio recordings, the commission formed the opinion that the FAA had given NORAD much less notice and that the fourth plane had never been tracked. The staff also thought that the FAA and NORAD officials who had made the false statements must have known they were false when they made them, and wanted the issue to be referred to the proper authorities for investigation.

The staff then spent months discussing what to do and which body the false statements should be referred to. One option was a referral to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation, as the statements had been made under oath and the officials could be prosecuted for perjury. The other option would be a referral to the FAA and Pentagon inspectors general. As the inspectors general themselves could not bring criminal charges, a referral to them would cause less discomfit to the officials who made the false statements.

At its last meeting, the commission decided to refer to matters to the inspectors general. However, the two inspector general reports blamed the errors on innocent mistakes and poor logkeeping, and no officials were seriously punished for the false statements.

In an interview with Philip Shenon, who wrote a book about the commission’s workings, staffer John Azzarello accused Zelikow of frustrating the criminal referral and not acting on the staff’s initial memo urging such referral for several months. “He just buried that memo,” said Azzarello.

Zelikow denied the allegations and in correspondence with Shenon repeatedly emphasized that he had not maneuvered against a criminal referral: “Three basic options emerged: criminal referral to DOJ, referral to the IGs (with a possible criminal referral as a follow-on to that), or proceed with our investigation without further action... Once I had worked through the evidence and felt I understood it, I concluded that the evidence was serious enough that we needed to make a referral, either criminal or to the IGs... Strongly tempted by the possible need for a criminal referral, I worked with Dan [Marcus, the commission’s counsel,] and others to play out how that would work and the sequence that would follow.”

Zelikow also wrote that he had mentioned the possibility of a criminal referral at a meeting of the full commission, although by this time he had already decided to recommend referral to the inspectors general, not the Justice Department.

The newly-found document, entitled “How Should the Commission Handle Evidence of Possible False Statements of US Officials” and dated June 6, 2004, casts doubt on Zelikow’s version and offers some support to Azzarello. If Zelikow really was “strongly tempted” by a criminal referral, why is this possibility not mentioned a single time in four-page memo to the commission’s chairman Tom Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton on what action the commission should take?

Although the memo was written several weeks before the commission’s final decision on the matter, Zelikow does not even offer criminal referral as an option. For example, in the second question he simply asks whether the commission should contact the Pentagon inspector general now or later. A person who was not knowledgeable of the issue and read the memo would not even know that the possibility of a criminal referral existed.

Although Zelikow is not known to have had friends at the FAA, according to Shenon he was a close friend of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone. Marcus even later said that Zelikow would “flaunt” his closeness to Cambone. Staffers also accused Zelikow of favoring the Pentagon in a dispute over whether a subpoena would be issued on the Defense Department.

It is unclear what other communications exist between Zelikow and the commissioners about the issue. Presumably, Zelikow did mention the possibility of a criminal referral in some documentation which has yet to be found. For example, the memo to Kean and Hamilton was found with a withdrawal notice for three memos totalling 50 pages about the false statements and they may contain discussion of the criminal referral.

Nevertheless, the way it looks is that Zelikow decided to recommend a referral to the inspectors general instead of a criminal referral and then frontloaded the documentation for the commissioners with his preferred option, instead of offering them an unbiased overview of the possibilities upfront. This again supports allegations that Zelikow was a uniquely powerful person on the commission and regulated the information flow to the commissioners to get them to rubber-stamp actions he had already decided on.

Zelikow worked on counterterrorism issues during the Bush transition under National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. When this work and all his links to Rice, with whom he co-authored a book in the 1990s, came to light in the middle of the commission’s work, he was recused from part of the investigation.

Originally posted here

Flash debacle

Recently I posted a comment about Youtube and Flash technology, and how it used to take freedom away from users. To my shock and dismay, (and enormous irritation, I might add) I see that historycommons uses Scribd to host documents. Do they host these documents anywhere else too? That would be real handy.

A worse act against the free flow of information, if you truly understand the connection between DRM, Adobe Flash, and sites like Youtube and Scribd, is unimaginable.

I really don't care that I might register and login to retrieve documents, by clicking on a 'download' button. The problem is that they can disable that button any time they want, and you are left referring people to an online source that might suddenly 'disappear' like an activist Youtube channel.

Just think about it: PDF files display in your browser easily through plugins, if you don't want to download. So why the Flash wrapper? DRM, my friends, DRM.

Activists and researchers have to stop being so damn stupid about technology, and if they aren't stupid, they aren't being true activists and true researchers, because they ain't sharin'

Disclaimer: yes I know the PDF might be available elsewhere, and yes I know the PDF might be downloadable if so allowed by Scribd. The point is: who needs Flash technology to display documents?

If the above is a bit charged

then I apologize, but Flash, being used as it is today, really ticks me off.

I forgot to say thanks for this great post, and thanks to History Commons for their excellent, excellent and ground breaking work.


It is not anywhere else, although it probably will be in the future - we have an understanding with another organisation and they will end up mirroring a bunch of stuff.

I'm not a tech person and I don't understand why there would be a technical issue - I really don't know why they use the e-paper thing, although it seems quite popular. I looked around the web for other sites at the start, and couldn't find anything like Scribd that came more highly recommended. The general tone of comments was that all document-hosting sites suck, but in slightly different ways. Therefore, i went for Scribd. We have about 2,000 documents there by now.

Let's just say

I was really shocked and upset to see Alex Jones's channel being removed recently, even though I'm not a fan. And...most of all..knowing that this was the culmination of years of degeneration of internet infrastructure. We used to host our own videos. We used to host our own documents. Now control is back into the hands where it doesn't belong..the hands of business and the hands of state, who often have a vested interest in censorship and repression. Copyright is leverage. DMCA, DRM, TC, brrrrr...

W.r.t. "all document-hosting sites suck", that is more or less true....since you can host documents simply on your own site or on your own FTP server. PDF-reader plugins are installed in almost all browsers, allowing you to read PDF's without opening them externally. I think that History Commons was and is an awesome, brilliant idea, and exactly the opposite of sites like Youtube and Scribd, because the philosophy of History Commons is one of transparency and collaboration, no hidden agendas. This is reflected in the technology used. I love History Commons as much as I hate DRM based content hosting sites.

BTW, Scribd has been discussed at Slashdot, and this commenter more or less knows what I mean when I rant about Flash & DRM. But yeah, those are the IT guys talking....

Again, great post, great info, it's apparent that Zelikow is another one of those busy nodes in the network behind 9/11. Perhaps he's somewhat similar to Arlen Specter in the Warren Commission. I wonder what Zelikow's 'betweenness' would be in a Social Network Diagram. These sorts of technologies are used by intelligence to map out criminal and terrorist organisations. Seems like the perfect tool to study the network behind 9/11. (And perhaps governments and their 'contacts' in general)

Plug In

I would recommend using the plug in, Unplug, for Mozilla. It is a great tool to download and save video files of all sorts as well as Downloadthemall. I'm not sure if they work for Adobe flash wrapped documents, but for Youtube! videos that are likely to be yanked, I would certainly recommend either program to save the valuable information to your hard drive.

"I would imagine that if you took the top expert in that type of work and gave him the assignment of bringing these buildings down with explosives, I would bet that he could do it." -1993-John Skilling, Head Structural Engineer WTC Towers

As I pointed out on 5/7/2009...

DoD Inspector General's Reports Within The Last 5/6 Years May Have Been Cover-Ups

Thank you Kevin for this important find.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

NORAD and the 9/11 Commission

In 1997 NORAD said, "Aircraft flying over our air space are monitored seven days a week, 24 hours a day."

The quote above is contradicted by the following 2008 quote from NORAD, "Since the tragic events of 9/11, NORADs role which previously was outward-looking now includes monitoring airspace within North America."

See the 5 articles on NORAD at www.DNotice.org for more on the lies NORAD told the 9/11 Commission.

The 5 articles on NORAD go beyond the "who contacted who and at what time" diversion. The 5 articles actually show that NORAD monitored American air space on 9/11, thanks to documents published BEFORE September 11, 2001!

The articles can be found under the Previous Articles section.