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National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

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The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States was created on November 27, 2002 to investigate the facts and circumstances of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. by members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. It consisted of ten members, five Republicans and five Democrats. The Commission's mandate included intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, diplomacy, immigration issues and border control, the flow of assets to terrorist organizations, commercial aviation, and Congressional oversight.

After the attacks, the Bush administration fiercely resisted any outside investigation into the tragedy; however, they eventually relented in the face of continuing public outrage. The campaign to create this Commission was led by the victim's families, especially the Jersey Girls - four women who lost their husbands in the attacks.


Incredibly, the President's first choice to head the Commission was Henry Kissinger, but his long history of war crimes and coverups made him unacceptable, and he withdrew after a couple of weeks. Throughout the course of the investigation, the President withheld sensitive intelligence documents, including the Presidential Daily Brief from August 6, 2001, which was entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The Commission only received these documents after it threatened to subpeona them. The Commission also had trouble hearing testimony from senior administration officials. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice initially refused to testify, and President Bush and Vice-President Cheney only agreed to appear in a secret session, and only if they were together. These delays caused the commission's hearings to extend past its original deadline, and once again, the administration opposed any extension until public pressure became unbearable.

The Commission heard particularly compelling testimony from CIA Director George Tenet and former National Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard Clarke. Tenet said that in the weeks preceeding the attack, "the system was blinking red". While Clarke gave a devasting portrait of an administration that simply refused to believe that terrorism was a threat, in spite of mounting evidence. Clarke also said that President Bush directed him to look specifically for evidence linking Iraq to the attacks, even though suspicion was already centered on Al-Qaeda.

CIA Obstruction

Late in 2007, the CIA admitted that it had destroyed tapes showing the interrogation of suspected terrorists. However, it never showed these tapes to the commission, despite repeated requests. (The tapes showed the torture technique of waterboarding.) Both commision chairmen say that the CIA deliberately obstructed their investigation. (Sources: CIA withheld al Qaeda tapes: paper, and "9/11 Panel Study Finds that CIA Withheld Tapes", by Mark Mazzetti, New York Times, Dec. 22, 2007.)



The Commission made many recommendations regarding foreign policy, border control, emergency response, and the organization of the executive branch. Its most important recommendation was the Struggle of Ideas. They said "We should offer an example of moral leadership in the world, committed to treat people humanely, abide by the rule of law, and be generous and caring to our neighbors. America and Muslim friends can agree on respect for human dignity and opportunity."

Their recommendations were not listed as bullet points, but as paragraphs supported by lengthy discussion. Here is a summary and paraphrase of their recommendations, organized into two groups:

Global Strategy

Government Organization

Members of the Commission

Staff of the Commission

Related Articles

External Links

Retrieved from "http://localhost../../../n/a/t/National_Commission_on_Terrorist_Attacks_Upon_the_United_States_d70a.html"

This page was last modified 16:24, 11 March 2008 by dKosopedia user Corncam. Based on work by dKosopedia user(s) Lestatdelc. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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