What Qualifies As Suspicious Behavior?
As you read through these postings, I want you to keep this thought in the back of your mind. If you were President of the United States, or any member of Government, and 2,973+ people were brutally murdered on American soil, would you want to thoroughly investigate how and why this happened so as to make sure it never happens again?
Thanks to www.cooperativeresearch.org and simuvac.
December 21, 2001: Senators Introduce Bills to Create Independent 9/11 Commission
Two bipartisan pairs of senators introduce legislation to create independent 9/11 commissions. Senators Joe Lieberman (D) and John McCain (R) propose to create a 14-member, bipartisan commission with subpoena power. At the same time, Robert Torricelli (D) and Charles Grassley (R) propose to create a 12-member board of inquiry with subpoena power. White House spokeswoman Anne Womack is noncommittal about the proposals, saying, "We look forward to reviewing them. Right now, the president is focused on fighting the war on terrorism." [New York Times, 12/21/2001]
January 24, 2002: Cheney and Bush Pressure Senator to Avoid 9/11 Inquiry
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) later claims that on this day, Vice President Cheney calls him and urges that no 9/11 inquiry be made. President Bush repeats the request on January 28, and Daschle is repeatedly pressured thereafter. Newsweek summarizes one of these conversations: "Bush administration officials might say they're too busy running the war on terrorism to show up. Press the issue ... and you risk being accused of interfering with the mission." [Newsweek, 2/4/2002] Cheney later disagrees: "Tom's wrong. He has, in this case, let's say a misinterpretation." [Reuters, 5/27/2002]
May 23, 2002: Bush Opposes Special Inquiry into Terrorism Warnings
President Bush says he is opposed to establishing a special, independent commission to probe how the government dealt with terrorism warnings before 9/11. [CBS News, 5/23/2002] He later changes his stance in the face of overwhelming support for the idea (see September 20, 2002 ), and then sabotages an agreement that Congress had reached to establish the commission.
September 5, 2002: Senator Decries Lack of Government Cooperation in 9/11 Congressional Inquiry
Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, expresses doubts that the committee's 9/11 Congressional Inquiry will be able to accomplish anything, and he supports an independent investigation. "Time is not on our side," he says, since the investigation has a built-in deadline at the end of 2002. "You know, we were told that there would be cooperation in this investigation, and I question that. I think that most of the information that our staff has been able to get that is real meaningful has had to be extracted piece by piece." He adds that there is explosive information that has not been publicly released. "I think there are some more bombs out there ... I know that." [New York Times, 9/10/2002]
September 18, 2002: First 9/11 Inquiry Hearing Amidst Protests About Lack of Government Cooperation
The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry holds its first public hearing. The inquiry was formed in February 2002, but suffered months of delays. The day's testimony focuses on intelligence warnings that should have led the government to believe airplanes could be used as bombs. [US Congress, 9/18/2002] However, the Washington Post reports, "lawmakers from both parties ... [protest] the Bush administration's lack of cooperation in the congressional inquiry into September 11 intelligence failures and [threaten] to renew efforts to establish an independent commission." Eleanor Hill, the joint committee's staff director, testifies that, "According to [CIA Director Tenet], the president's knowledge of intelligence information relevant to this inquiry remains classified even when the substance of that intelligence information has been declassified." She adds that "the American public has a compelling interest in this information and that public disclosure would not harm national security." [Washington Post, 9/19/2002] Furthermore, the committee believes that "a particular al-Qaeda leader may have been instrumental in the attacks" and US intelligence has known about this person since 1995. Tenet "has declined to declassify the information we developed [about this person] on the grounds that it could compromise intelligence sources and methods and that this consideration supersedes the American public's interest in this particular area." [US Congress, 9/18/2002] A few days later, the New York Times reveals this leader to be Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. [New York Times, 9/22/2002] An FBI spokesman says the FBI had offered "full cooperation" to the committee. A CIA official denies that the report is damning: "The committee acknowledges the hard work done by intelligence community, the successes it achieved..." [MSNBC, 9/18/2002]
September 20, 2002: Bush Changes Course, Backs 9/11 Commission
In the wake of damaging Congressional 9/11 inquiry revelations, President Bush reverses course and backs efforts by many lawmakers to form an independent commission to conduct a broader investigation than the current Congressional inquiry. Newsweek reports that Bush had virtually no choice. "There was a freight train coming down the tracks," says one White House official. [Newsweek, 9/22/2002] But as one of the 9/11 victim's relatives says, "It's carefully crafted to make it look like a general endorsement but it actually says that the commission would look at everything except the intelligence failures." [CBS News, 9/20/2002] Rather than look into such failures, Bush wants the commission to focus on areas like border security, visa issues, and the "role of Congress" in overseeing intelligence agencies. The White House also refuses to turn over documents showing what Bush knew before 9/11. [Newsweek, 9/22/2002]
October 10, 2002: Bush Backtracks on Support for Independent 9/11 Investigation
A tentative congressional deal to create an independent commission to investigate the 9/11 attacks falls apart hours after the White House objected to the plan (it appears Vice President Cheney called Republican leaders and told them to renege on the agreement [New York Times, 11/2/2002]). Bush had pledged to support such a commission a few weeks earlier (see September 20, 2002), but doubters who questioned his sincerity appear to have been proven correct. Hours after top Republican leaders announced at a press conference that an agreement had been reached, House Republican leaders said they wouldn't bring the legislation to the full House for a vote unless the commission proposal was changed. There are worries that if the White House can delay the legislation for a few more days until Congress adjourns, it could stop the creation of a commission for months, if not permanently. [New York Times, 10/11/2002] Another deal is made a few weeks later (see November 15, 2002) and the commission goes forward.
November 15, 2002: Congress Starts New 9/11 Investigation
Congress approves legislation creating an independent commission "the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States "to "examine and report on the facts and causes relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks" and "make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the attacks." President Bush signs it into law November 27, 2002. [US Congress, 11/27/2002] Bush originally opposed an independent commission (see May 23, 2002 ), but he changes his mind over the summer (see September 20, 2002 ) after political pressure. The Democrats concede several important aspects of the commission (such as subpoena approval) after the White House threatens to create a commission by executive order, over which it would have more control. Bush will appoint the commission chairman and he sets a strict time frame (18 months) for the investigation. [CNN, 11/15/2002] The commission will only have a $3 million budget. Senator Jon Corzine (D) and others wonder how the commission can accomplish much with such a small budget. [Associated Press, 1/20/2003] The budget is later increased (see March 26, 2003).
March 26, 2003: Bush Turns Down Increased Budget for 9/11 Commission
Time reports that the 9/11 Commission has requested an additional $11 million to add to the $3 million for the commission, and the Bush administration has turned down the request. The request will not be added to a supplemental spending bill. A Republican member of the commission says the decision will make it "look like they have something to hide." Another commissioner notes that the recent commission on the Columbia shuttle crash will have a $50 million budget. Stephen Push, a leader of the 9/11 victims' families, says the decision "suggests to me that they see this as a convenient way for allowing the commission to fail. they've never wanted the commission and I feel the White House has always been looking for a way to kill it without having their finger on the murder weapon." The administration has suggested it may grant the money later, but any delay will further slow down the commission's work. Already, commission members are complaining that scant progress has been made in the four months since the commission started, and they are operating under a deadline. [Time, 3/26/2003] Three days later, it is reported that the Bush administration has agreed to extra funding, but only $9 million, not $11 million. The commission agrees to the reduced amount. [Washington Post, 3/29/2003] The New York Times criticizes such penny-pinching, saying, "Reasonable people might wonder if the White House, having failed in its initial attempt to have Henry Kissinger steer the investigation, may be resorting to budgetary starvation as a tactic to hobble any politically fearless inquiry." [New York Times, 3/31/2003]
End Part I