12 October 2003

Is the 9/11 commission too soft?

Despite budget restraints and complaints from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that the White House had 'slow-walked and stonewalled' the joint inquiry, the panel's 900-page report was completed late last year. Then it sat in limbo for nearly nine months while committee staff negotiated with the White House and its intelligence agencies over what portions could and could not be released in the public version.

It was finally released in August, complete with some major redactions, including 28 blacked-out pages that dealt with the interaction between Saudi businessmen and the royal family and whether they intentionally or unwittingly aided al-Qaida or the Sept. 11 hijackers. Despite urging from Democrats and Republicans as well as the Saudi royal family, Bush refused to declassify the 28 pages, insisting that the revelations would jeopardize intelligence 'sources and methods.'

It's another reason for the families' dissatisfaction. 'The frustration is we even had to lobby for the commission in the first place,' says Van Auken. 'And that we still have to fight to get a report that resembles a real investigation and determines what went wrong.'

The joint inquiry report has now been around for months. is there anything in it that would have justified classification on national security grounds?

The veracity of the Bush administration is getting easy to test. Look at the join inquiry and try and find something seriously effecting US national security. Hell, look at the Kay report and try and find the clear proof of WMDs that the Bush administration is claiming. If they'll spin documents on the public record why should anyone they would not spin classified documents to get their way?

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