18 December 2003

9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable

For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

'This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right,' said Thomas Kean.

'As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done,' he said. 'This was not something that had to happen.'

Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame.

'There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed,' Kean said.

To find out who failed and why, the commission has navigated a political landmine, threatening a subpoena to gain access to the president's top-secret daily briefs. Those documents may shed light on one of the most controversial assertions of the Bush administration - that there was never any thought given to the idea that terrorists might fly an airplane into a building.

Well, this should set the cat among the stool-pigeons.

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