The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

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The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 (or 9-11) Commission, was set up "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the" September 11, 2001 attacks including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks, as well as allegations of any variation of a 9/11 domestic conspiracy theory. The commission was also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks. Some have compared its role to that of the Warren Commission of 1963-1964. The Commission was composed of five Democratss and five Republicanss.

Table of contents
1 Report
2 Members
3 Criticisms
4 External links

Report

Final 9/11 reportEnlarge

Final 9/11 report

The commission issued its final report on July 22, 2004. While releasing the report, Commission Chair Thomas H. Kean declared that both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had been "not well served" by the FBI and CIA [1]. The report was originally scheduled for release on May 27, 2004, but a compromise agreed to by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert allowed sixty days of extension, until July 26. The commission interviewed over 1,200 people in 10 countries and reviewed over two and a half million pages of documents, including some closely-guarded classified national security documents. Before it was released by the commission, the final public report was screened for any potentially classified information and edited as necessary.

On June 16, the Commission issued an initial report of its findings. The report concluded that, while meetings between al-Qaida representatives and Iraqi government officials had taken place, the panel had no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein had assisted al-Qaida in preparing for or carrying out the 9/11 attacks. The Commission also found no evidence [1] that the government of Saudi Arabia was complicit in the attacks, nor that it funded the attackers.

The commission's final report also offered new evidence of increased contact between Iran and al-Qaida. The report contains information about how several of the 9/11 hijackers passed through Iran and indicates that officials in Iran did not place entry stamps in their passports. However, according to the report (chapter 7), there is no evidence that Iran was aware of the actual 9/11 plot. Iran has since implemented several widely-publicized efforts to shut down al-Qaida cells operating within the country.

Members

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Ben-Veniste

, Lehman, Roemer, Thompson, Kerrey, Gorton. Bottom row: Fielding, Hamilton, Kean, Gorelick.]] The members of the Commission were: The Commission's Executive Director was Philip D. Zelikow, and the Deputy Executive Director was Christopher Kojm.

Past and present government officials who were called to testify include:

President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former President Bill Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore all gave private testimony. President Bush and Vice President Cheney insisted on testifying together, while Clinton and Gore met with the panel separately.

Criticisms

Because the investigation was controversial and politically sensitive, many participants have been criticised during the process. Most of the complaints fit into the following categories.

Claims of bias within the commission

Some members of victims' families have claimed that the commission has numerous conflicts of interest. 9/11 CitizensWatch, in particular, has called for the resignation of Philip D. Zelikow, the executive staff director. Zelikow is a Bush-appointee who served on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He spent three years on the President George H. W. Bush's National Security Council. Zelikow worked closely with Bush NSC advisor Condoleezza Rice and even co-wrote a book with her. Some worry that Zelikow may be using his power to deflect blame from himself and to protect Rice.

In addition, many members have ties that could be seen as conflicts of interest.

The commission's defenders claim that these do not represent significant conflicts of interest, and that the commission can be expected to maintain its neutrality.

Claims of lack of cooperation from the White House

The White House came under intense fire concerning the commission from many victims' families [1]. White House leaders were accused of blocking the commission for nearly a year before announcing its creation. The White House insisted that they be able to appoint the commission's chair, leading some to question the commission's independence. The initial person appointed to head the commission, Henry Kissinger, has been accused by many of having been involved in past government coverups in South America (specifically, the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile).

Even after Kissinger resigned, the White House was often cited as having attempted to block the release of information to the commission [1] and for refusing to give interviews without tight conditions attached (leading to threats to subpoena [1]). They have further been accused of attempting to derail the commission by giving it one of the smallest independent commission funding levels in recent history ($3 million [1]), and by giving the commission a very short deadline. The White House insists that they have given the commission "unprecedented cooperation".

While President Bush and Vice President Cheney did ultimately agree to testify, they did so only under several conditions:

The commission agreed to these conditions, and the President and Vice President gave their testimony on April 29.

Claims that the commission is being used for partisan purposes

Some conservatives believe that the Democratic Party is planning to use the commission for partisan advantage during the 2004 election campaign. Rather than focusing equally on all factors, critics predict that Congressional Democrats will ignore any policy errors made by Bill Clinton while emphasizing the mistakes of President Bush.[1] Much of this suspicion comes from memos taken from the computers of Democrats in Congress. There is an ongoing investigation of this alleged computer theft (but no investigation into the memos themselves).

External links