The agency is withholding a damning report that points at senior
October 19, 2004
It is shocking:
The Bush administration is
suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and
this one names names. Although
the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in
June, it has not been made available to the congressional
intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that
high-level people were not doing
their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being
suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me,
adding that "the report is
potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes
it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11,
or in holding people in the
government responsible afterward."
When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking
Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and
committee Chairman Peter
Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be
delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the
report," she said. "We are very concerned."
According to the intelligence official, who spoke to me on condition of
anonymity, release of the report, which represents
an exhaustive 17-month
investigation by an 11-member team within the agency, has been
"stalled." First by acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and now by
Porter J. Goss, the former Republican House member (and chairman of the
Intelligence Committee) who recently was appointed CIA chief by
The official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific
than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept.
11 commission and Congress.
"What all the other reports on
9/11 did not do is point
the finger at individuals, and give the how and what of their
report does that," said the intelligence official. "The
report found very senior-level officials responsible."
By law, the only legitimate reason the CIA director has for holding back
such a report is national security. Yet neither Goss nor McLaughlin has
invoked national security as an explanation for not delivering the
report to Congress.
"It surely does not involve issues of national security," said the
"The agency directorate is basically sitting on the report until after
the election," the official continued. "No
previous director of CIA has ever tried to stop the inspector general
from releasing a report to the Congress, in this case a report requested
None of this should surprise us given
the Bush administration's great
determination since 9/11 to resist any serious investigation into how
the security of this nation was so easily breached.In Bush's much ballyhooed war on
terror, ignorance has been bliss.
The president fought against the
creation of the Sept. 11 commission, for example,
agreeing only after enormous
political pressure was applied by a grass-roots movement led by
the families of those slain.
And then Bush refused to testify
to the commission under oath, or on the record. Instead he
deigned only to chat with the commission members, with Vice President
Dick Cheney present, in a White House meeting in which
commission members were not
allowed to take notes. All in all,
strange behavior for a man who
seeks reelection to the top office in the land based on his handling of
the so-called war on terror.
In September, the New York Times reported that several family members
met with Goss privately to demand the release of the CIA inspector
general's report. "Three
thousand people were killed on 9/11, and no one has been held
accountable," 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser told the paper.
The failure to furnish the
report to Congress, said Harman, "fuels the perception that no
one is being held accountable. It is unacceptable that we don't have
[the report]; it not only
disrespects Congress but
it disrespects the American people."
The stonewalling by the Bush
administration and the failure of Congress to gain release of the
report have, said the intelligence source, "led
the management of the CIA to believe it can engage in a cover-up with
impunity. Unless the
public demands an accounting, the administration and CIA's
leadership will have won and the
nation will have lost."