9/11 Commission, Anthrax – Additions To The 9/11 Timeline As Of August 31, 2008

Kevin Fenton

Many of the new entries in the 9/11 Timeline this week focus on the 9/11 Commission and, in particular, its executive director Philip Zelikow, who co-authored a book with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the mid-1990s, but was not offered a full-time job in the Bush administration despite serving on the transition team. Some of the other commissioners were unhappy with Zelikow's appointment and the degree of control he exercised. For example, Zelikow had control over the hiring process, which he used to appoint a current CIA officer to lead the commission's investigation of the CIA. The commissioners rarely visited the commission's offices, further enhancing Zelikow's power, which he used to assume close control of a key investigative team. He also tried to prevent staff from talking to the commissioners.

Regarding the commissioners, vice chairman Lee Hamilton was given more power by chairman Tom Kean at the outset, and Fred Thompson became involved in a fraud scandal and was absent from the commission for a year. There was also a major problem with access to White House documents because of stonewalling by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales.

Additions to the 2001 anthrax attacks category continue, leading off with a claim by Senator John McCain that Iraq may have been responsible, a claim supported by senior Bush administration officials and some scientists, who thought one person could not have done the attacks alone. The FBI conducted a massive search to find evidence against falsely accused scientist Steven Hatfill, but its "secret weapon" against him was discredited. Currently-accused scientist Bruce Ivins was barred from accessing dangerous toxins in November 2007.

Miscellaneous entries cover a 1974 bombing of a TWA plane and a new CIA plan in the fall of 1999 to combat al-Qaeda. Senator Orrin Hatch revealed key information about the NSA's monitoring of al-Qaeda on September 12, 2001, and radical London imam Abu Hamza al-Masri was finally convicted on terrorism charges in February 2007. Finally, New York Major Rudy Giuliani banned photographs at Ground Zero meaning that few photographers could gain access, and a couple reported killed on a 9/11 flight turned up alive.

Originally posted here. If you can spare a dollar or two, please remember the History Commons is in need of donations.