Tags: Bush | Creates | 9/11 | Panel | Led | Kissinger

Bush Creates 9/11 Panel, Led by Kissinger

Wednesday, 27 November 2002 12:00 AM

Kissinger would "bring broad experience, clear thinking and careful judgment to this important task," Bush said at a signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room.

The panel, composed of five Democrats and five Republicans, will have 18 months to sift evidence, everything from missed clues to lax border security, from the months leading up to last year's Sept. 11 attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives.

Although the uncovering of mistakes and intelligence lapses are part of the commission's mandate, Bush emphasized its importance in helping the administration learn more about the attackers' methods and motives. "As a people, Americans are always looking forward," Bush said. "As a nation, we're working every day to build a future that is peaceful and secure.

He said the commission would be used to learn from past mistakes.

"This commission is not only important for this administration; this commission will be important for future administrations, until the world is secure from the evildoers that hate what we stand for," Bush said.

Creation of the panel was part of a larger intelligence spending authorization measure, the details of which are kept secret.

Kissinger, an academic, first burst upon the national stage as national security adviser to President Richard Nixon. He later was appointed secretary of state and continued in the Ford administration after Nixon's 1973 resignation following the Watergate scandal.

Kissinger, a controversial figure, is known for a hard-nosed, pragmatic approach to world affairs and diplomacy. His negotiations with North Vietnam to arrange the U.S. withdrawal from the Vietnam War led to his sharing of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Kissinger said he was honored to be appointed and pledged to "go where the facts lead us."

"To the families concerned, I would like to say this: There is nothing that can be done about the losses they have suffered, but everything must be done to avoid that such a tragedy can occur again.

"And to the extent that this commission can make recommendations, we will. And we are free to make recommendations, and the president has said that he will take them very seriously. To that extent, it will contribute to the safety of America, to the future of America and to the avoidance of any future tragedies," he said.

The panel's time frame is 18 months, but Bush urged it to work quickly.

"I hope that the commission will act quickly and issue its report prior to the 18-month deadline embodied in the legislation," Bush said. "After all, if there's changes that need to be made, we need to know them as soon a possible, for the security of our country."

In addition to members of Congress at the ceremony Wednesday, there were a number of people whose relatives were killed in the attacks blamed on the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Kissinger would "bring broad experience, clear thinking and careful judgment to this important task," Bush said at a signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room. The panel, composed of five Democrats and five Republicans, will have 18 months to sift evidence, everything from...
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2002-00-27
Wednesday, 27 November 2002 12:00 AM
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