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White House refuses to release 9/11 info

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Posted on Mon, May. 05, 2003

White House refuses to release Sept. 11 info

By FRANK DAVIES

Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration and the nation's intelligence agencies are blocking the release of sensitive information about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, delaying publication of a 900-page congressional report on how the terrorist assault happened.

Intelligence officials insist the information must be kept secret for national security reasons. But some of the information is already broadly available on the Internet or has been revealed in interim reports on the investigation, leading to charges that the administration is simply trying to avoid enshrining embarrassing details in the report.

Disputed information includes a well publicized warning from an FBI agent that al-Qaida supporters might be training in U.S. flight schools and the names of the president and his national security adviser as people who may have received warnings that a terrorist attack was possible before Sept. 11, one official said.

"We're trying to keep in this report some matters that have been talked about in public, discussed in newspapers, and not to do that, flies in the face of common sense," Rep. Porter Goss, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday.

"The White House is continuing a trend of presenting obstacles to us rather than cooperating with us," said Tim Roemer, a former House member who participated in the congressional inquiry and is now a member of the independent commission investigating Sept. 11.

Goss, a Florida Republican, and Sen. Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat who headed the Senate Intelligence Committee last year, co-chaired a joint investigation over 10 months that detailed security lapses, bad communication and missed clues by the CIA and FBI that preceded the Sept. 11 attacks.

In December, the joint inquiry produced a summary of findings and recommendations on how to improve intelligence, but the complete report was withheld so agencies could review and declassify some portions of it.

Graham, who will officially announce his presidential campaign Tuesday, has said he thinks much of the delay is because agencies and the administration want to avoid embarrassment, not for valid national security reasons.

Goss, Graham and staff director Eleanor Hill had hoped to release the final report by February or March. Now they are hoping to release it Memorial Day, Goss said.

"I'm very frustrated this has taken this long," said Goss, a retired CIA officer with close ties to the administration. "There's a tendency for every executive to keep matters closed up, but most of what's in dispute should be made public."

Hill said she could not discuss the specifics of the information in dispute, but said a working group of intelligence officials objected to including some testimony from public hearings last fall and some data in her interim reports.

"Maybe they didn't realize it had already been made public, but we see no reason to keep it out of the report," said Hill, a former Pentagon inspector general.

An intelligence official familiar with the review process said on condition of anonymity Monday that "the process has taken time because many portions of the report need to remain classified to protect sources and methods."

The official would not comment on specific issues in the report, and said "we hope to complete the process by the end of this month."

But an official familiar with the report said one topic of disagreement was the so-called Phoenix memo of July 2001, in which an FBI agent warned his supervisors that Osama bin Laden's followers might be enrolling in U.S. flight schools.

The joint inquiry, in a Sept. 24 staff report, included portions of the memo and summarized how it was handled and ignored by FBI officials. Most of the memo is on several Internet sites. Now intelligence officials want to block releasing excerpts of the memo.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate committee during the investigation, said: "The memo should be declassified except for portions that might compromise an ongoing investigation."

The Bush administration also consistently have fought identifying top officials, including the president and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who may have received warnings in 2001 that bin Laden's network planned to hijack commercial aircraft.

As a result, the report includes vague references to "senior administration officials."

"We fought that argument (to name officials) and lost," said Goss. "There's a history in these types of reports, going back many presidencies, that you do not mention the president of the United States, period."

Goss said there was "no cover-up of vital information" and predicted the final report will include some embarrassing details but "no 'gotcha' material about any administration."

Roemer, an Indiana Democrat, said he sees a pattern of "overclassification" by an administration unwilling to disclose information and agencies that reflexively fight disclosure.

When Roemer recently tried to read transcripts of closed-door interviews from last year's probe, the Justice Department blocked him, citing possible executive privilege.

Bush officials relented after Roemer publicly complained the administration was not following its pledge of cooperation with the independent investigation.

"There is a tight definition of what should be classified, and it does not include references to mistakes, missed communications or political embarrassments," he added.

(Knight Ridder Newspapers correspondent James Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.)

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Originally posted by bigpoppanils

Posted on Mon, May. 05, 2003

White House refuses to release Sept. 11 info

By FRANK DAVIES

Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration and the nation's intelligence agencies are blocking the release of sensitive information about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, delaying publication of a 900-page congressional report on how the terrorist assault happened.

Intelligence officials insist the information must be kept secret for national security reasons. But some of the information is already broadly available on the Internet or has been revealed in interim reports on the investigation, leading to charges that the administration is simply trying to avoid enshrining embarrassing details in the report.

Disputed information includes a well publicized warning from an FBI agent that al-Qaida supporters might be training in U.S. flight schools and the names of the president and his national security adviser as people who may have received warnings that a terrorist attack was possible before Sept. 11, one official said.

"We're trying to keep in this report some matters that have been talked about in public, discussed in newspapers, and not to do that, flies in the face of common sense," Rep. Porter Goss, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday.

"The White House is continuing a trend of presenting obstacles to us rather than cooperating with us," said Tim Roemer, a former House member who participated in the congressional inquiry and is now a member of the independent commission investigating Sept. 11.

Goss, a Florida Republican, and Sen. Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat who headed the Senate Intelligence Committee last year, co-chaired a joint investigation over 10 months that detailed security lapses, bad communication and missed clues by the CIA and FBI that preceded the Sept. 11 attacks.

In December, the joint inquiry produced a summary of findings and recommendations on how to improve intelligence, but the complete report was withheld so agencies could review and declassify some portions of it.

Graham, who will officially announce his presidential campaign Tuesday, has said he thinks much of the delay is because agencies and the administration want to avoid embarrassment, not for valid national security reasons.

Goss, Graham and staff director Eleanor Hill had hoped to release the final report by February or March. Now they are hoping to release it Memorial Day, Goss said.

"I'm very frustrated this has taken this long," said Goss, a retired CIA officer with close ties to the administration. "There's a tendency for every executive to keep matters closed up, but most of what's in dispute should be made public."

Hill said she could not discuss the specifics of the information in dispute, but said a working group of intelligence officials objected to including some testimony from public hearings last fall and some data in her interim reports.

"Maybe they didn't realize it had already been made public, but we see no reason to keep it out of the report," said Hill, a former Pentagon inspector general.

An intelligence official familiar with the review process said on condition of anonymity Monday that "the process has taken time because many portions of the report need to remain classified to protect sources and methods."

The official would not comment on specific issues in the report, and said "we hope to complete the process by the end of this month."

But an official familiar with the report said one topic of disagreement was the so-called Phoenix memo of July 2001, in which an FBI agent warned his supervisors that Osama bin Laden's followers might be enrolling in U.S. flight schools.

The joint inquiry, in a Sept. 24 staff report, included portions of the memo and summarized how it was handled and ignored by FBI officials. Most of the memo is on several Internet sites. Now intelligence officials want to block releasing excerpts of the memo.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate committee during the investigation, said: "The memo should be declassified except for portions that might compromise an ongoing investigation."

The Bush administration also consistently have fought identifying top officials, including the president and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who may have received warnings in 2001 that bin Laden's network planned to hijack commercial aircraft.

As a result, the report includes vague references to "senior administration officials."

"We fought that argument (to name officials) and lost," said Goss. "There's a history in these types of reports, going back many presidencies, that you do not mention the president of the United States, period."

Goss said there was "no cover-up of vital information" and predicted the final report will include some embarrassing details but "no 'gotcha' material about any administration."

Roemer, an Indiana Democrat, said he sees a pattern of "overclassification" by an administration unwilling to disclose information and agencies that reflexively fight disclosure.

When Roemer recently tried to read transcripts of closed-door interviews from last year's probe, the Justice Department blocked him, citing possible executive privilege.

Bush officials relented after Roemer publicly complained the administration was not following its pledge of cooperation with the independent investigation.

"There is a tight definition of what should be classified, and it does not include references to mistakes, missed communications or political embarrassments," he added.

(Knight Ridder Newspapers correspondent James Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.)

We dropped the ball..

But I don't know if you are implying the BUSH administration was responsible if so here you go my freind....

Clinton’s own admission that he could have extradited Osama bin Laden from Sudan - but he didn’t because he felt bin Laden was not a threat! If you don’t believe this, read his verbatim comments from our exclusive tape recording!

A senior CIA officer goes on record to reveal that Bill Clinton helped Saddam Hussein by allowing him to illegally sell oil - and make billions to stay in power.

Clinton adviser Dick Morris says that Clinton was warned about the terrorist bombings against American troops at the Khobar Towers - and he ignored the warning!

The FBI and CIA could have easily foiled the 9-11 attacks - but were negligent as two known terrorist gained entry into the U.S. with the CIA’s full knowledge. They would later participate in the 9-11 attacks.

FBI agent Coleen Rowley says the FBI could have prevented 9-11, but refused to get a search warrant on one of the 9-11 terrorists.

NewsMax broke the story that Bill Clinton tied the hands of the CIA and FBI - hear from agents on the inside who broke the story on NewsMax and reveal what really happened.

Bill Clinton refused to require driver’s licenses to expire at the time of expiring visas. If he had done this, one of the 9-11 terrorists would have been arrested or deported.

The 1996 Clinton-Gore airline safety commission set the stage for 9-11.

Why Clinton’s adviser Dick Morris says Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinksy helped Osama bin Laden survive and plot 9-11

Read Bill Clinton’s shocking statements about America’s guilt in 9-11 - he even blamed America for 9-11 and cited our treatment of the Indians and Muslims during the Crusades!

Heres the kicker...

A secret 1994 terrorism report warned of suicidal hijackings - and Bill Clinton ignored it.

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Originally posted by bigpoppanils

but if it was all clinton's fault...why would the republican administration refuse to release all that damning info?

dont tell me that they are trying to protect his integrity...:rolleyes:

Okay think for a minute..

Why would you let the rest of the world know how your country got caught with it's pants down (no pun intended) The govt knows where it fucked up and the recent steps taken are clearing up those loop holes.. I can't see any reason why we should air our dirty laundry, what would that accomplish? besides endless commitee hearings of diffrent dept's pointing fingers. We are on the right track the country is safer...

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Originally posted by bigpoppanils

but if it was all clinton's fault...why would the republican administration refuse to release all that damning info?

dont tell me that they are trying to protect his integrity...:rolleyes:

The bottom line is this (9/11 as a specific incident) was a massive intelligence failure--I think we all agree about that....but I personally do not see what good releasing this report will do--other than confirm what we already know- the govt (all institutions) got caught with their pants down, point more fingers of blame at people and organizations, highlight weaknesses in our ability to defend the country, and cause more hurt for the families...

In this case, I do not think the "need to know" for the mainstream public is warranted or necessary---this is just my personal opinion, but I do not know if it is right in respects to having a "right to know"...perhaps if the families of 9/11 wanted to see the report, they should have access....

Now--with respects to Clinton, and I will try and keep it short---his administration did NOTHING for eight years to confront the growing dangers of Al-Qaeda...nothing.....Of course, you will not believe me, so I challenge you to read some books that address this issue....read books on terrorism, the rise fo Al-Qaeda, Militant Islam, US dealing with the ME during the Clinton years, and intelligence books (especially Bill Gertz's)........

I have, and it actually hurts to know how weak and ineffective Clinton was on this issue for eight years.....eight years.....and for those of you who think the Monica Lewinsky bullshit did not have an effect on how Clinton handled his duties, you will learn differently.....I am confident that history will show that Clinton was a horrific foreign policy President, more concerned with his image than what was good for the long term interests of the US

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