Many hyperlinks at original; firedoglake has been covering this issue consistently
Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission, and Effectiveness
By: emptywheel Saturday April 25, 2009 4:00 am
If you've been paying attention, you know I've been poring through the 9/11 Report to figure out how useful the interrogation reports from the waterboarded detainees were, and when they made them.
That exercise shows that the 9/11 Report found just 10 pieces of intelligence from Abu Zubaydah's interrogation reports informative and credible; it found just 16 pieces of such intelligence in al-Nashiri's interrogation reports. And while the Commission did find KSM's interrogation reports to be incredibly useful, an incomplete index (I'm working on this, but it's on the back burner for the next week) of the references to KSM show that many of his most productive interrogation sessions came long after he was waterboarded. And, as Philip Zelikow made clear in a memo relating to the torture tape destruction, there were abundant other problems with the quality of the interrogation reports coming from CIA, too.
Several of the new additions to the 9/11 Timeline this week concern the 9/11 Commission, in particular its executive director Philip Zelikow, who played a significant role in shaping the commission's take on assistance allegedly provided to the 9/11 hijackers by elements linked to the Saudi government. First, he blocked requests for interviews by commission investigators researching the allegations, then he denied them access to a key document, the 28 redacted pages from the Congressional Inquiry, and finally he fired one of the investigators.
Philip Zelikow was in Chicago on Wednesday, October 29, 2008. He spoke at the Chicago Council on Global Domination, um, I mean Global Affairs. This is another name for the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.
Lone Lantern - Chicago 9/11 Truth activists were there to accost him as he arrived.
After the confrontation, two activists infiltrated his speaking event and sat through his creepy speech on global governance. However, their cameras were prohibited and held at the front desk.
9/11 Commission, Londonistan, and Day of 9/11 - Additions to the 9/11 Timeline as of October 19, 2008
Several of this week's new entries focus on the 9/11 Commission, in particular its Executive Director Philip Zelikow, who offered public support for the invasion of Iraq in 2002, but did not want the commission to investigate false claims of links between 9/11 and Iraq. After the commission's investigation started, one staffer was sent to review CIA documents, and another, Warren Bass, was sent to review NSC material. Bass came to favor the account of events in the Bush Administration in the summer of 2001 given by counterterrorism "tsar" Richard Clarke over that given by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. However, Zelikow distrusted Clarke and tried to protect his friend Rice; it was these ties to Rice which caused both Bass and Commissioner Bob Kerrey to threaten to quit the commission, although neither of them made good on their threat.
This is a new entry at historycommons.org. Condoleezza Rice didn't deserve "more favorable" treatment. She belongs in prison.
May-June 2004: Zelikow Has Portions of 9/11 Commission Report Rewritten to Be More Favorable to National Security Adviser Rice
About half of this week's new entries concern United Airlines Flight 93. The airline's operations centre sent a message to the plane's co-pilot some minutes before the hijacking, but received no reply; it also notified flights of a crash at the WTC around 9:03 but did not send a warning about possible hijackings at this time. The airline's dispatchers were asked to warn flights at 9:21, the same time Flight 93 sent a routine message to one of the dispatchers. A couple of minutes later, it checked in with Cleveland air traffic control; the pilots then sent their last last message at 9:27.
Many of the new entries in the 9/11 Timeline this week focus on the 9/11 Commission and, in particular, its executive director Philip Zelikow, who co-authored a book with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the mid-1990s, but was not offered a full-time job in the Bush administration despite serving on the transition team. Some of the other commissioners were unhappy with Zelikow's appointment and the degree of control he exercised. For example, Zelikow had control over the hiring process, which he used to appoint a current CIA officer to lead the commission's investigation of the CIA.
At what point does "criminal negligence" become so extreme that it can be considered "complicity" beyond a reasonable doubt? Shenon attempts to put the "incompetence", "ignorance", "failure to imagine", "system failure" and "covering up incompetence" spin on what he reports while essentially supporting the theory that Al Qaeda outwitted the dimwitted and incompetent US intelligence and defense establishments, but even what he does say seems like grounds for impeachment hearings to me.
visit the link above for the whole excerpt, choice cuts:
"The warnings were going straight to President Bush each morning in his briefings by the CIA director, George Tenet, and in the presidential daily briefings. It would later be revealed by the 9/11 commission into the September 11 attacks that more than 40 presidential briefings presented to Bush from January 2001 through to September 10, 2001, included references to bin Laden.
In Their Own Words: Admissions from the people who wrote the 9/11 Commission Report that it was compromised
Quotations from Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 911 Commission, by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton
"We were set up to fail" (14).
"The chief obstacle was the White House, which argued that the congressional inquiry was continuing, and that an independent investigation would distract the government from waging the ongoing war on terrorism" (17).
"The two sides decided to split the difference, allowing eighteen months for the inquiry—a period of time that proved insufficient" (20).
"The White House also suggested some candidates for executive director for our staff. The importance of this position cannot be overstated" (22).
"…we seriously only considered one candidate: Philip Zelikow…. Zelikow was a controversial choice. In the 1990s, as an academic, he had co-authored, with Condoleezza Rice, a book about German unification, and he later assisted Stephen Hadley in running the National Security Council transition for the incoming Bush administration in 2000-2001" (28).
"…our office space and employees had to be cleared by the FBI and CIA to handle top-secret information…" (34)
Thanks to www.cooperativeresearch.org
July 9, 2003: Mylroie Testifies Before 9/11 Commission, Airs Theories of Connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda
The 9/11 Commission holds its first set of public hearings on al-Qaeda and its connections to other nations and terrorist groups. [Shenon, 2008, pp. 130-134]
From Secrecy News:
INSIDE THE 9/11 COMMISSION
"Senior investigators on the 9/11 Commission believed their work was
being manipulated by the executive director to minimize criticism of
the Bush Administration," according to a new book on the Commission.
"Investigative staffers at the Commission believe [executive director]
Philip Zelikow repeatedly sought to minimize the administration's
intelligence failures in the months leading up to 9/11, which had the
effect of helping to ensure President Bush's re-election in 2004," no
That is the sensational thesis of "The Commission: The Uncensored
History of the 9/11 Investigation" by New York Times reporter Philip
The claim was immediately disputed by the former Commissioners and by
"The author is mistaken in his criticism of the role of Executive
Director Philip Zelikow. The proper standard for judgment is the
quality of the report, and there is no basis for the allegations of
bias he asserts," according to a February 8 statement issued jointly by
How Karl Rove and Torture Influenced the 9/11 Report
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Posted on February 11, 2008, Printed on February 11, 2008
The following is a two-part transcript on the 9/11 Commission Report recently conducted by Democracy Now!. The first explores the role that Karl Rove may have played in influencing the report's findings, and the second looks at how information gained through torture form a major part of of the 9/11 Commission Report.
Former 9/11 Commission Chief Philip Zelikow on Allegations He Secretly Allowed Karl Rove & White House to Influence 9/11 Probe
Philip Shenon, author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, recently suggested on Democracy Now! that Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, sought to minimize the Bush administration's responsibility for failing to prevent the September 11th attacks. Shenon also revealed that Karl Rove repeatedly called Zelikow during the probe. In the following interview, Zelikow responds in his first broadcast interview since the publication of Shenon’s book.
EXCLUSIVE: Former 9/11 Commission Chief Philip Zelikow on Allegations He Secretly Allowed Karl Rove & White House to Influence 9/11 Probe
Earlier in the week, we spoke to Philip Shenon, author of “The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation.” Shenon suggested that Philip Zelikow—the executive director of the 9/11 Commission—sought to minimize the Bush administration’s responsibility for failing to prevent the September 11th attacks. Shenon also revealed that Karl Rove repeatedly called Zelikow during the probe. Today Zelikow responds in his first broadcast interview since the publication of Shenon’s book.
By Dan Froomkin
Monday, February 4, 2008; 1:41 PM
Less than four months before the 2004 election, it looked like President Bush might face a perilous accountability moment.
An independent, bipartisan commission was set to report on the "circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks."
The White House had a lot to lose from an unfettered, authoritative examination of those issues. The last thing Bush needed during a hotly contested reelection campaign was a reminder of his inattention to the threat of terrorism before 9/11, or of his initial paralysis when he heard the news, or of his misbegotten attempts to pin the blame on Iraq.
September 11th Advocates
Comment on the Impending Release of Philip Shenon's Book
The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation
February 4, 2008
Philip Shenon's new book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11Investigation, serves to justify our suspicions and the concerns of the Family Steering Committee, that we attempted to publicly air during the course of the 9/11 Commission's tenure.
One of the most egregious revelations put forth by Mr. Shenon is the fact that Philip Zelikow was hired as the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, despite his direct ties to the Bush Administration. In 2000-2001 he served as a member of Condoleezza Rice's National Security Council (NSC) transition team, where he was allegedly the "architect" of the decision to demote Richard Clarke and his counter terrorism team within the NSC. Furthermore he was a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) from 2001-2003, where Zelikow drafted most of the 2002 "National Security Strategy of the United States," creating the pre-emptive Iraq war strategy. These areas were within the scope of the Commission's mandate and as such were of critical importance to determine what, if any, impact they had on the government's ability to prevent the 9/11 attacks.
As the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow was given the responsibility for choosing the entire direction of the Commission's investigation. Essentially, Mr. Zelikow determined who was or was not interviewed as a witness, and which information was or was not looked at. He also influenced which documents would be requested from the various agencies. It seemed to us, that allowing an individual with this much involvement in the Bush administration to run the investigation, might give the appearance of impropriety and could ultimately taint the Commission's findings.
In a statement issued by the Family Steering Committee of March 20, 2004 we wrote:
It is apparent that Dr. Zelikow should never have been permitted to be Executive Staff Director of the Commission. As Executive Staff Director, his job has been to steer the direction of the Commission's investigation, an investigation whose mandate includes understanding why the Bush Administration failed to prioritize the Al Qaeda threat.
In the same statement we also called for:
Zelikow's immediate resignation; Zelikow's testimony in public and under oath; and the subpoena of Zelikow's notes from the intelligence briefings he attended with Richard Clarke.
Commission Chairman Tom Kean and Vice-Chair Lee Hamilton instead chose to have Mr. Zelikow recuse himself from the areas of the investigation that dealt with the transition period. However, they allowed Mr. Zelikow to be one of only two people (Ms. Gorelick was the other) to review the Presidential Daily Briefings (PDB's), reports that went to the heart of what the White House and its National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, knew prior to 9/11. While investigating the events that led up to the September 11th attacks, Philip Zelikow was called as a witness by the 9/11 Commission though transcripts of his testimony were never made public.