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What Did They Know Page

Who is investigating this travesty?

Most of the links below no longer work, but there is enough
information in each excerpt to find the article
at the Internet archive's WayBack Machine or in LexisNexis.


Hijack 'suspects' alive and well, BBC News, September 23, 2001:

“Another of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well.

“The identities of four of the 19 suspects accused of having carried out the attacks are now in doubt.”

Torricelli wants probe into 'stunning' intelligence failure,, September 27, 2001 :

Speaking on the Senate floor, Torricelli, D-New Jersey, called for a ‘Board of Inquiry,’ patterned after the board authorized after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Shelby Calls Goss Comments 'Incredible,' Vows to Investigate Intelligence Failure, Ben Pershing, Roll Call, October 8, 2001:

“Senate Select Intelligence Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) reiterated Friday his opinion that the recent terrorist attacks represented a massive failure on the part of the U.S. intelligence community and that his panel should investigate the matter on its own, without the help of any kind of special commission.”

Lawmakers Seek Inquiry Into Intelligence Failures, Alison Mitchell and Todd S. Purdum, The New York Times, October 22, 2001:

Representative Porter J. Goss, a Florida Republican who is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that an inquiry was coming, but that even when it was done, historians would argue for decades over how the Sept. 11 attacks occurred.  

Inquiries Into Failures of Intelligence Community Are Put Off Until Next Year , James Risen and Todd S. Purdum, The New York Times , November 23, 2001  

Examining intelligence lapses, Dan K. Thomasson, Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 4, 2001:

“It seems certain now that the intelligence lapses that preceded the Sept. 11 attacks will be examined in minute detail early in the new year with the only issues still undetermined being by whom and how openly.”

Petition to the Senate to Investigate Oddities Involving 9/11 Terrorist Attacks:

We, the undersigned, do hereby petition the Senate of the United States of America to thoroughly investigate the events surrounding the acts of terrorism that transpired in the United States on September 11, 2001…

Intelligence Gaps Preceding Attacks Subject of Inquiry, Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2002:

The Senate and House intelligence committees quietly began sending notices this week to the nation's spy agencies, requesting documents and other evidence for a pending probe of intelligence failures surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Bush asks Daschle to limit Sept. 11 probes ,, January 29, 2002:

President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle Tuesday to limit the congressional investigation into the events of September 11, congressional and White House sources told CNN.

The Reluctant Scrutiny of 9/11 , Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, February 7, 2002:

“For five long months, almost no one has wanted to gripe about it out loud.
“The shock had not yet worn off.
“It was a matter for another time, another place.
“First we had to bury the dead, heal the wounded, hail the rescuers, win the war.
“But yesterday the subject resounded across the marble halls of Congress:
“How could we not have known?
“How is it that America was totally blindsided by the Sept. 11 attacks?
“Was it a massive intelligence failure?
“Were there missed warning signs?
“George Tenet, the CIA director, said he couldn't discuss the details in a public session.
“And he warned of more terrorist attacks, always a natural headline-grabber.

But how can we prevent future attacks if we don't understand how we missed the last one?” [Emphasis added.]

Ex-CIA Official to Head Sept. 11 Probe in Congress, Tabassum Zakaria, Reuters, February 13, 2002 (archived at

“[Former CIA Inspector General Britt Snider] will head a congressional investigation into U.S. intelligence agency failures related to the Sept. 11 attacks, despite some objections he was too close to the spy agency to have an independent eye, congressional sources told Reuters on Wednesday.”

So Much To Do..., Notebook, The New Republic, Posted February 11, 2002, Issue Date February 18, 2002 (no longer available on the Internet)

“Since September 11 the Bush White House has often accused its policy critics of interfering with national security. In recent months the charge has been leveled at those raising questions about civil liberties and budget priorities. And now, perversely, it seems the White House is making it against even those trying to determine what security failures may have made the events of September 11 possible.”

Looking At What Went Wrong , Jeffrey H. Smith, Washington Post, February 19, 2002:

“Last week the House and Senate intelligence committees announced a joint investigation of the U.S. intelligence community's failure to detect the attacks of Sept. 11. The committees have wisely decided to conduct a joint investigation in order to cause the least disruption to the conduct of the war and to ensure that Congress can act quickly on any recommendations resulting from the investigation.”

Fail Safe, Peter Beinart, New Republic, February 25, 2002 Issue:

George W. Bush vowed to usher in a "responsibility era." … All of which might lead you to believe that faced with the insular, self-perpetuating government bureaucracy that failed to protect the United States from Al Qaeda on September 11--the CIA--the Bush administration would have come down like a ton of bricks. If you believed that, however, you were wrong.

[You don’t fire people who were following orders.—Caro]

Democrat Implies Sept. 11 Administration Plot , Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, April 12, 2002:

“In a recent interview with a Berkeley, Calif., radio station, [Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.)] said: ‘We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th. . . . What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? . . . What do they have to hide?’”

Head of Congressional Probe Into Sept. 11 Quits, Tabassum Zakaria, Reuters, April 29, 2002:

The head of a joint congressional investigation into why U.S. intelligence agencies failed to detect the plot that led to the Sept. 11 attacks on America has resigned, U.S. government sources said on Monday.”

Director of congressional probe into September 11 terror attacks resigns , Patrick Martin, World Socialist Web Site , May 1, 2002 :

“[I]n what appears to be a tacit attempt to answer allegations that the US government had extensive advance warning of the attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller gave a speech … to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. He declared that the FBI was still not in possession of any significant information about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, despite the mobilization of hundreds of agents, not only in the United States, but also in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, over the past eight months…

If this claim were true—and there are obvious reasons for doubt—it would suggest that the basis for the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is a monstrous lie. From the time the first US bombs were dropped on that devastated country, the White House claimed to be in possession of convincing evidence that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been launched from Afghanistan by Osama bin Laden, with the tacit consent of the Afghan government. Now the official chiefly responsible for the administration’s own investigation into September 11 declares there is not a shred of evidence connecting Afghanistan to the terrorist attack.

Inquiry of Intelligence Failures Hits Obstacles, Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times, May 4 2002:

“Lawmakers leading the investigation of intelligence agencies’ failures surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are increasingly concerned that tactics by the CIA and the Justice Department are actively impeding their efforts, congressional sources said Friday.”

Senator: U.S. didn't connect 'dots' before 9/11,, May 15, 2002:

“In an interview with CNN, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, D-Florida, said the House and Senate intelligence panels will hold hearings soon about various memos and reports, including one dubbed the Phoenix document, written by an FBI agent last summer.

“A key question, Graham said, would be ‘why these dots weren't seen and connected.’”

Failure of the top brass, Scott Shuger, Slate, May 20, 2002:

“Last week the Bush administration tried to explain why it didn’t react more vigorously to information it received last summer about al-Qaida hijack plotting — information passed along to the president on Aug. 6. The best thing you can say about these explanations is that they show political ineptitude. The worst is that they point to a colossal intelligence failure…  It’s clear now that the failure to do more to prevent what happened on 9/11 didn’t stem from a weakness of ground-level sources and methods, but from the intelligence-gathering lapses of our top intelligence officials.”

Get to the Truth , E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, May 21, 2002:

“Democracies do not fear accountability, and their leaders do not hold themselves above answering challenges from the opposition. There are worse things than getting at unpleasant truths, worse things than party strife. One of them is an artificial bipartisanship that suppresses real differences, promotes double standards and seeks to silence legitimate inquiry.”

The Way Out, George F. Will, Washington Post, May 22, 2002:

“The Bush administration is in a quandary which is, as Washington quandaries so often are, partly self-inflicted. There is only one way out of the growing -- tardily growing; by no means grown too large -- controversy about investigating intelligence inadequacies prior to Sept. 11. The way out for the administration is to go through an investigation, and not one conducted by itself.”

SF Lawyer Sues Bush Admin Over Sept. 11,, May 23, 2002:

“A San Francisco lawyer filed an ambitious federal lawsuit today on behalf of all American citizens against President Bush and six other officials for alleged dereliction of duty in failing to stop the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

Thanks for the Heads-Up, Frank Rich, The New York Times, May 25, 2002:

“[A]s we need some version of a Warren Commission to get to the bottom of what went wrong, so we need an inverted Manhattan Project (one that will stop a bomb rather than build one) to recruit America's best minds to set things right. Mr. Ridge, a decent politician with no expertise in intelligence or counterterrorism, is a frivolous choice for security czar. Mr. Ashcroft, an aspiring J. Edgar Hoover isolated from reality by a circle of cronies, lacks the intellect and leadership ability to take on an adversary as cunning as Osama bin Laden.”

Lawmaker to Probe Moussaoui Warrant, Sharon Theimer, Associated Press, May 26, 2002:

“Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle continued to press for an independent commission to investigate intelligence failures leading up to the September attacks.

“Daschle, D-S.D., said Bush asked him on Jan. 28 not to seek an outside commission. He said previously that Vice President Dick Cheney made a similar request Jan. 24.”

If You Wanted Clinton Impeached, Take a Look at Bush, Lorin Nelson, Salt Lake Tribune, May 26, 2002:

I have to wonder at the astounding silence from those who frothed and rattled ceaselessly for the impeachment of Bill Clinton…  The offices of the president and vice president of the United States of America are being abused and dishonored by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. It is quite clear there is ample reason to believe that this administration may have committed crimes and misdemeanors great enough to warrant impeachment…  Soon the silence will stop and the roar of true patriotism will call out in righteousness once again. I know this because you swore that it wasn't just personal, it was the principle. You told everyone that you were fighting to bring honor back, that integrity mattered. Many believed this. Now you have the opportunity and duty to prove it. After all, you fought hard for honor and integrity. You are not a hypocrite. You said so yourself.”

Bush Concerned About Sept. 11 Congressional Probes, Arshad Mohammed, Reuters, June 4,2002

“President Bush expressed concern on Tuesday that congressional probes into the Sept. 11 attacks might take government experts away from their central job of preventing another attack.

“‘What I am concerned about is tying up valuable assets and time and possibly jeopardizing sources of intelligence,’ Bush said as congressional hearings were beginning on Capitol Hill into the failure of U.S. intelligence to thwart the attacks.”

Stage Is Set For Public Testimony, CBS News, June 4, 2002:

“‘I don't believe any longer that it's a matter of connecting the dots,’ Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., told reporters. ‘I think they had a veritable blueprint and we want to know why they didn't act on it.’”

White House Strategy: From Attack to Admit, Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times, June 6, 2002:

“As the capital wakes up almost daily to disclosures about intelligence warnings before Sept. 11, the White House has abruptly switched its strategy of mounting ferocious partisan assaults on Democrats to one of self-inoculation — admitting past mistakes and preparing for more bad news to come…

“Both strategies … have the same two basic goals, heading off criticism of President Bush and containing moves for a full-scale independent inquiry that could careen out of White House control.”

What Did They Know Page

Last changed: December 13, 2009