Congress on 9/11

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Pelosi’s proposals for increased secruity by implimenting the remaining 911 Commission proposals are beside the point. The Commission itself avoided asking any really hard questions, like, for instance, putting Bush under oath and getting him to tell what happened that day. It even contributed to the administration’s overall obfuscation by hiding its own staff study of the inadequate FAA response to numerous pre-attack warnings, then finally releasing them — after the presidential election. The Congress never has exercised any oversight to speak of over the FAA, and that includes under both Democratic and Republican leadership. For more than a decade the FAA ignored warnings by its own staff and the Congress could have cared less — quite possibly because of close ties to the industry by former members such as George Mitchell. Tom Daschle’s wife was an airline lobbyist when he was Majority leader of the Senate.

The Members of the Family Steering Committee for the 911 Independent Commission issued a set of ratings and questions after the commission shut down. They remain unanswered. Compiled by Jersey Girls Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie Van Auken, they include such things as how come after Bush was told by the White House situation room a commercial airliner had hit the World Trade Towers, he continued with his classroom visit to the Florida elementary school? And after Bush got warnings of an attack from 11 different nations, what did he do to defend this country? There are more than 20 pages of questions from the families. You can read them here [pdf].

The clear action here is for Congress to reopen the investigation into 911 that had been begun by former Florida Senator Bob Graham’s joint intelligence inquiry. The report of that investigation raised questions about — among other things — the disastrous role played by the FBI in all this.The Congress formed the commission to carry on the inquiries launched by Graham. Instead of doing so, the commission conducted sets of hearings in which each member got to compliment people like Donald Rumsfeld, who appears to have been absent or out of the loop on 911, Robert Mueler of the FBI, whose San Diego office oversaw an informant who rented rooms to two hijackers and never told anybody about it, and Condi Rice, who had been presented with various warnings but claimed she knew nothing. And then there was Dick Cheney, who in flagrant vioilation of the Constitution was running the country on 911 because Bush was out of contact. What did he do and why did he do it? The Congress doesn’t know and to date has been unwilling to find out.

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