Tags: Yes | Form | the | Commission

Yes, Form the Commission

Monday, 27 May 2002 12:00 AM

Soon nine months will have passed since the tragic events of Sept. 11.

The events are even more tragic because I believe they were far from accidental. Indeed, they were preventable.

So many months have passed and yet the American public is just learning of hijack warnings, of an FBI memo in Phoenix urging a sweep of Arabs training to fly jets, and of the frantic efforts of FBI officials in the local Minnesota field office who sought to further investigate the activities of one of the plotters of 9-11, Zacarias Moussaoui.

What more could we find out if an independent commission had investigators, subpoena power and the ability to speak publicly? Probably much more.

I don't buy FBI Director Mueller's claims that little could have been done to prevent Sept. 11. Why do we spend billions of dollars on agencies like the FBI and the CIA if they can't prevent and uncover a plot that was years in the making and involved dozens of individuals?

It is obvious why the federal government doesn't want accountability. What bureaucrat would?

Reportedly, President Bush and Vice President Cheney asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle not to have a full inquiry, but to allow the House and Senate intelligence committees to investigate the matter under the cloak of secrecy.

The White House claim is that a broader inquiry by a commission will divert resources and time from the war on terrorism.

This may be true.

But it is also true that by failing to investigate the causes of Sept. 11 and the reasons why several federal agencies engaged in such gross negligence, we will only perpetuate their incompetence.

The intelligence committees cannot impartially investigate the federal handling of Sept. 11.

One reason is that these committees are also culpable and failed in their oversight duties of the very agencies they now seek to investigate. We now know that there were serious deficiencies at the CIA and FBI well before Sept. 11, yet the intelligence committees did little to demand they be remedied.

Another problem is that staffers of the House and Senate intelligence committees often get promoted or take jobs at the CIA and other bureaucracies. Current CIA Director George Tenet, a former congressional intelligence committee staff director, is a case in point.

I rarely side with Sens. McCain and Daschle. But I agree with them and Sen. Lieberman that America needs a full and thorough probe of the FBI, CIA and other agencies.

We need to carefully investigate the role the Clinton White House played in undermining U.S. national security and how al-Qaeda was able to easily strike at the heart of America.

The failure of this principle of accountability during the Clinton years led directly to Sept. 11. If we allow such dangerous thinking to be accepted and to continue, we most assuredly will be struck again in a manner more horrifying than 9-11.

I say investigate, hold accountable, and clean house.

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Soon nine months will have passed since the tragic events of Sept. 11. The events are even more tragic because I believe they were far from accidental. Indeed, they were preventable. So many months have passed and yet the American public is just learning of hijack...
Yes,,Form,the,Commission
491
2002-00-27
Monday, 27 May 2002 12:00 AM
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