- 9/11 Commission Report
9/11 Commission Report, formally named Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the
September 11, 2001 attacks. It was prepared by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States(informally sometimes known as the " 9/11 Commission" or the "Kean/Zelikow Commission") at the request of the President and Congress, and is available to the public for sale or free download.
The commission convened on
November 26 2002(441 days after the attack) and their final report was issued on July 22, 2004. The report was originally scheduled for release on May 27, 2004, but a compromise agreed to by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastertallowed a sixty-day extension through July 26.
The Commission interviewed over 1,200 people in 10 countries and reviewed over two and a half million pages of documents, including some closely-guarded classified national security documents. The Commission also relied heavily on the
FBI's PENTTBOMinvestigation. Before it was released by the Commission, the final public report was screened for any potentially classified information and edited as necessary.
After releasing the report, Commission Chair
Thomas Keandeclared that both Presidents Bill Clintonand George W. Bushhad been "not well served" by the FBI and CIA. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2004/s1160100.htm 9/11 Commission finds 'deep institutional failings'] ]
In addition to identifying intelligence failures occurring before the attacks, the report provided evidence of the following:
* Airport security footage of the hijackers as they passed through airport security
* Cockpit voice recordings of the terrorists as they hijacked and sabotaged the airliners
* Eyewitness testimony of passengers as they described their own final moments to family members and authorities on airphones and cellphones from the cabins of doomed airliners
The Commission also concluded 15 of the 19 hijackers that carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia, but found no evidence the government of
Saudi Arabiaconspired in the attacks, or that it funded the attackers. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3815179.stm BBC news - 9/11 probe clears Saudi Arabia] ] . Mohammed Atta, the leader of the attacks, was from Egypt. 2 hijackers were from the United Arab Emirates, and 1 was from Lebanon. According to the Commission, all 19 hijackers were members of the al-Qaedaterrorist organization, led by Osama bin Laden. In addition, while meetings between al-Qaeda representatives and Iraqi government officials had taken place, the panel had no credible evidence that Saddam Husseinhad assisted al-Qaeda in preparing or executing the 9/11 attacks. The Report notes in Chapter 2 that "Bin Laden was also willing to explore possibilities for cooperation with Iraq"
The Commission's final report also offered new evidence of increased contact between
Iranand al-Qaeda. The report contains information about how several of the 9/11 hijackers passed through Iran, and indicates that officials in Iran did not place entry stamps in their passports. However, according to the report (Chapter 7), there is no evidence that Iran was aware of the actual 9/11 plot. Iran has since implemented several widely-publicized efforts to shut down al-Qaeda cells operating within its country.
In addition to its findings, the report made extensive recommendations for changes that can be made to help prevent a similar attack. These include the creation of a
National Intelligence Directorover both the CIAand the FBI, and many changes in border security and immigrationpolicy.
The report is available for free of charge online, or can be purchased as a paperback (ISBN 0-393-32671-3). In addition,
Barnes and Noblehas independently published the report in hardcover with an index (ISBN 0-7607-6806-4).
The Report has been accused of not giving the whole story about the warnings the U.S. received prior to the attacks. [ [http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/001676.php TPMmuckraker October 3, 2006 11:42am - Why Did 9/11 Panel Omit "Secret" Meeting?] ] While the Report did describe that "the system was blinking red" and that an al Qaeda attack was imminent, it did not include the testimony of former CIA director George Tenet to the Commission in January of 2004, in which he gave a specific warning to the Administration in a July 2001 meeting with Condoleezza Rice. Commission members Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton stated that they had not been told about the meeting. But the Boston Globe reported that "it turns out that the panel was, in fact, told about the meeting, according to the interview transcript and Democratic Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste, who sat in on the interview with Tenet." [ [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/10/03/tenet_told_911_panel_that_he_warned_rice_of_al_qaeda/ Tenet told 9/11 panel that he warned Rice of Al Qaeda - The Boston Globe] ]
FAA counter-terrorism expert Bogdan Dzakovic believes that the security failures at airports that allowed the hijackers to board the planes were not due to the failures in the system that the Report identified. Furthermore, he stated that "Many of the FAA bureaucrats that actively thwarted improvements in security prior to 9/11 have been promoted by FAA or the Transportation Security Administration." [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/09/INGIVJPJR91.DTL San Francisco Chronicle - Flying the deadly skies/Whistle-blower thinks the state of U.S. aviation security invites another attack] ] The report did not mention his name, despite Dzakovic giving the following testimony to the Commission regarding his undercover checks on airport security prior to 9/11:
Other sources have criticized the Commission for not digging deep enough to get to the core of the issues. In a 2004 interview, Bernard Gwertzman, of the
Council on Foreign Relations, stated of the Report:
In a 2004 article titled, 'Whitewash as Public Service: How The 9/11 Commission Report defrauds the nation,' "
Harpers Magazine" writer Benjamin DeMottstated that:
It has also been criticized for failing to deal with several issues that surround the attacks, such as the collapse of
7 World Trade Center. The Report does not mention building 7 at all despite its collapse on September 11, 2001 without being struck by an airliner. It also fails to deal with issues of discrepancy surrounding physical laws, such as the collapse of the Twin Towers due to melted steel (steel melts at approximately 1500 degrees Celsius while kerosene based jet fuel fires never exceed 1000 degrees Celsius) and the absence of visible plane wreckage at both The Pentagonand the Pennsylvanian sites.
Although government reports are not known for their prose, the Report garnered much praise for its literary qualities.
Richard Posner, writing for the "New York Times", praised it as "uncommonly lucid, even riveting" and called it "an improbable literary triumph". The Report rose to the top of several bestseller lists and was praised by reviewers for its readability and narrative strength. In a surprising move, the National Book Foundation named the Report a finalist in its 2004 National Book Awards's non-fictioncategory.
Film, television, and graphic novel adaptations
In 2006, "The 9/11 Commission Report", a straight to DVD movie, was released by
The Asylum. It is based on the findings of the original 9/11 Commission Reports, although it does fictionalize some elements.
The report inspired a controversial television miniseries, "
The Path to 9/11". Dramatizing many specific scenes in the report, it is a synthesis of multiple (and in some cases partisan) sources in addition to the report itself.
"The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation" (ISBN 0-8090-5739-5), by
Sid Jacobsonand Ernie Colón, and published by Hill & Wang, is an abridged graphic novel adaptation of the report.
9/11 Public Discourse Project
* [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/pdf/fullreport.pdf The 9/11 Commission Report - Authorized Edition] (2.3 MB PDF)
* [http://librivox.org/the-911-commission-report-by-the-911-commission/ Free audio verison of the 9/11 Commission report] , from
* [http://gov.clusty.com/search?v%3aproject=clusty-gov&feature=911& Search the 9/11 Commission Report indexed by individual paragraphs, with clustered search results]
* [http://911.gnu-designs.com XHTML version of the full 9/11 Commission Report] (hand-converted
* [http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/joint-report/ A related 9/11 report from Congress in text format]
* [http://www.9-11pdp.org/ The 9/11 Public Discourse Project, an extension of the 9/11 Commission's work]
* [http://www.archive.org/details/20041102-Last-Chance-911-Timeline Video of 9/11 events (split screen) supplemented with text from Commission Report findings]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3917703.stm 9/11 Report: Key Findings] from the
* [http://www.slate.com/features/911report/ Slate's The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón]
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3722436852417384871&q=norman+mineta Norman Mineta's Testimony to the 9/11 Commission] (Google Video)
* [http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/ Senior Military, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, and Government Officials that Question the 9/11 Commission Report]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WdBAfmVNPQ Opening of "The Path to 9/11" (based on 9/11 Commission Report), ABC, September 10, 2006, including disclaimer]
Notable articles regarding the report
* [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/22/911.report/ 9/11 panel report: 'We must act'] - from
* [http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20030729.html The 9/11 Report Raises More Serious Questions About The White House Statements On Intelligence] - by
* [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/12/17/eveningnews/main589137.shtml 9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable] - from
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5485889/ Bush vows to heed 9/11 report advice] - from
* [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17390 Pinning the Blame] - from the "
New York Review of Books"
* [http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Group_of_widows_claim_911_Independent_0804.html Group of 9/11 widows 'question the veracity of the entire Commission’s report'] - from Raw Story, including a copy of their statement
Essays critical of the report
* [http://counterpunch.org/roberts02062006.html Who Will Save America? My Epiphany, By Paul Craig Roberts]
* [http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2004/07/30/stories/2004073000031000.htm 9/11 Commission Report - An exercise in escapism]
* [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/08/13/terror/main776979.shtml 9/11 Commission Disputes Criticism]
* [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/26/national/main303601.shtml Ashcroft Flying High]
* [http://www.cfr.org/publication.html?id=7229 Cordesman: 9/11 Commission Report Lacks Specifics]
* [http://dayton.senate.gov/news/details.cfm?id=228405&& Lessons Learned from 9/11]
* [http://dayton.senate.gov/news/details.cfm?id=228409&& On The Recommendations of The 9/11 Commission]
* [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/23/commission.senators/ Republicans amplify criticism of 9/11 commission]
* [http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0549,ridgeway,70692,6.html Running From the Truth]
* [http://www.harpers.org/WhitewashAsPublicService.html Whitewash as Public Service (Harper's)]
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