Issues Of Democracy: Accountability And Its Limits


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Congress Examines Questionable Handling of Intelligence

DOJ's suspicious treatment of 9/11 Commission monograph

under examination by Rep. Maloney

WASHINGTON, DC - In an insightful hearing on the questionable handling of intelligence since 9/11, the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations examined lax procedures at the FBI and the Department of Justice's strange handling of the 9/11 Commission monograph on aviation. The hearing marked the first time FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has appeared before Congress. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), who has repeatedly requested the full public release of the commission's monograph, also directed sharp questions to Department of Justice representatives about the delayed release and seemingly spurious redaction of the monograph.

"This hearing confirms for me three unsettling things - that we didn't have our act together before 9/11, that the FBI didn't get its act together after 9/11 and that our government doesn't want the truth about that to get out," said Maloney. "Ms. Edmonds's testimony was a disconcerting look into our intelligence community. You would think that, learning important lessons from 9/11, the FBI would be more diligent in its work, but it appears that a September 10th mentality is still in place over there.

"52 intelligence reports from the FAA between April and September 10, 2001 mentioned Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. Five of the intelligence reports specifically mentioned Al Qaeda's training or capability to conduct hijackings, and two mentioned suicide operations, although not connected to aviation. I have concerns that the Bush Administration abused the classification process to improperly withhold the 9/11 Commission findings from Congress and the public until after the November elections and the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State."

Edmonds was fired from her job as an FBI translator after publicly disclosing the incompetence of many FBI translators hired after 9/11, the close contact between some of her colleagues and organizations under watch by the FBI and FBI employees' practice of taking classified information home.

Also under scrutiny at the hearing was the treatment of the 9/11 commission's monograph on aviation threats. A heavily-redacted copy of the monograph was finally released to the National Archives in late January 2005 - it was the only monograph not released before the election and it was the only commission report to be redacted. In December, Maloney and Rep. Christopher Shays (CT-04) requested the full release of the monograph
and they repeated that request in February after it became public that the redacted monograph was released to the National Archives
Also in February, Maloney and Rep. Henry Waxman (CA-30) requested full hearings into the monograph

Today, Maloney demanded to know why the Department of Justice claimed it was taking its time with the monograph so as not to release any information that would compromise national security, then ended up redacting parts of the monograph that were taken from public hearings (for an example of the redactions, click here:
The monograph cites scores of ignored warnings to the FAA in the months before 9/11 about the possibility of hijackings by al Qaeda.

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