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September 11th Advocates Regarding Declassification and Release of Documents

The Public’s Right to Know – Declassification and Release of Documents petition ( http://www.petitiononline.com/july10/petition.html ) surpassed 15,000 signatures. As promised, we have hand delivered it to lawmakers in Washington, DC.

UPDATE

Recently, during our meetings with lawmakers, we discussed the declassification and release of all transcripts and documents relating to the July 10, 2001 meeting that took place between former CIA Director George Tenet and then National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Into The Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (JICI) and the CIA Inspector General’s report, “CIA Accountability With Respect To The 9/11 Attacks”, as mentioned in the Petition.

Almost six years have passed since September 11, 2001, yet critical information continues to be withheld from the American public regarding the attacks. Included in this statement is an “Action Alert” and background information explaining the importance of transparency in our government. Since there is currently active legislation (Wyden-Bond Amendment attached to bill #S.4) regarding the CIA Inspector General’s Report, we decided, for the moment, to focus our attention on this particular document. After reviewing the evidence produced by the Joint Inquiry of Congress into the 9/11 Attacks, both Republican and Democratic Congressmen agreed that a CIA Inspector General review into individual responsibility was necessary. Faced with the facts, these Congressmen understood that accountability in the Intelligence Community was crucial. Their intent was that a final declassified CIA/IG report was to be released to the public and where deemed appropriate by the report, for personnel at all levels to be held accountable for any omission, commission, or failure to meet professional standards in regard to the events of September 11, 2001. Americans have the right to know that competent people are serving them in these strategic positions – our safety depends on it.

Once again, we need your help to get this declassified report released as soon as possible!!

**** ACTION ALERT ****

Please call and/or fax the following people. Tell them it is of the utmost importance to the future safety of the American public that the CIA Inspector General’s Report on September 11th be released immediately!

The White House Comments: (202) 456-1111 Fax (202) 456-2461 DNI Mike McConnell Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Washington, DC 20511 (703) 733-8600 General Michael Hayden, Director CIA (703) 482-0623; Fax (703) 482-1739

Members of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee 2007-2008

Democrats

John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Chairman (202) 224-6472; Fax (202) 224-7665 Dianne Feinstein, California (202) 224-3841; Fax: (202) 228-3954 Ron Wyden, Oregon (202) 224-5244 Evan Bayh, Indiana (202) 224-5623 Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland (202) 224-4654 Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin (202) 224-5323; Fax (202) 224-2725

Bill Nelson, Florida (202)-224-5274; Fax (202) 228-2183 Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island (202) 224-2921; Fax (202) 228-6362

Republicans

Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Vice-Chairman (202) 224-5721 John Warner, Virginia (202) 224-2023; Fax (202) 224-6295 Chuck Hagel, Nebraska (202) 224-4224; Fax: (202) 224-5213 Saxby Chambliss, Georgia (202) 224-3521; Fax: (202) 224-0103 Orrin Hatch, Utah (202) 224-5251; Fax: (202) 224-6331 Olympia J. Snowe, Maine (202) 224-5344; Fax: (202) 224-1946 Richard Burr, North Carolina (202) 224-3154; Fax (202) 228-2981

 

BACKGROUND

Joint Inquiry:

In February of 2002 , The Joint Inquiry (JICI) was formed by the Senate and House Select Committees on Intelligence in order to analyze what information related to the attack was available to the intelligence community prior to September 11, 2001. The JICI found systemic failures and offered recommendations on improving intelligence community operations. In their investigation, the JICI reviewed relevant documents, held public and closed hearings and interviewed numerous members of the intelligence community. In December 2002 , the final report from the Joint Congressional Committee investigating 9/11 requested that the CIA’s Inspector General review the specific roles of individuals, since according to the committee’s report: “Assured standards of accountability are critical to developing the personal responsibility, urgency, and diligence which our counterterrorism responsibility requires.” To underscore the need for accountability the report requested that: “the Inspector General at various agencies including the CIA, were instructed to conduct investigations and reviews to determine whether and to what extent personnel at all levels should be held accountable for any omission, commission, or failure to meet professional standards in regard to the identification, prevention, or disruption of terrorist attacks, including the events of September 11, 2001″ .

Senator Richard Shelby, who served on the Joint Inquiry and was privy to all intelligence information reiterated the importance of accountability in his additional views in the JICI, ” … because we face a grave ongoing threat, we must begin reforming the Community immediately. Otherwise we will be unable to meet this threat … If we are indeed at war, accountability is more important now than ever, for it is through insisting upon accountability that life-threatening problems may best be fixed….”

Because of the JICI”S recommendation, CIA Inspector General, John L. Helgerson, spent 17 months exploring every area of the agency’s performance prior to 9/11. According to numerous media accounts following this extensive review, the IG’s final report stated that certain individuals failed to meet an acceptable standard of performance, and it recommended that their conduct be assessed by an internal review board for possible disciplinary action. The final report was then given to Porter Goss, the CIA Director at that time. Senate Intelligence Committee: In August 2005, after almost one year of reviewing the report and giving certain individuals a chance to rebut the claims against them, CIA Director Porter Goss, finally released the report to Congress. After an additional six weeks, Goss rejected appeals from both congressional intelligence committees to make it public. No action has ever been taken against the individuals named by the Inspector General and presumably many are still at their jobs.

Correspondence then began between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA requesting the declassification and release of the report. The requests are as follows:

August 2005 : request for declassification and release by Chairman Roberts to then CIA Director Porter Goss. DENIED!

January 2006 : request for redaction and release by Senator Wyden to Director Goss. DENIED!

May 2006 : issue of declassification and release raised again during confirmation hearings for new CIA Director General Michael Hayden, who stated in a letter to Senator Wyden that he “intended to examine the issue.”

June 2006 : Committee staff prepared a proposed redacted version of the Executive Summary of the report, which Chairman Roberts sent to General Hayden for Comment. August 2006 : General Hayden notified the Committee that he did not intend to declassify the report.

September 2006 : Chairman Roberts forwarded the proposed redacted Executive Summary to DNI Negroponte and requested that he work with the Committee to determine what redactions would be necessary in order to release the report.

November 2006 : Negroponte declined to do so.

January 2007 : upon the organization of the Committee in the current Congress, Chairman Rockefeller, Vice Chairman Bond and Senator Wyden wrote to Director Negroponte with their comments on his [Negroponte’s] November letter and again highlighted the need for this report to be declassified and made public. NO RESPONSE!

March 2007 : Senate Bill S.4, legislation enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations to make America more secure, including the amendment to release the CIA’s IG report on 9/11, passed with a vote of 60-38.

June 2007 : The Bill, S.4, remains stalled, the Commission recommendations have yet to be implemented and the CIA/IG report remains hidden.

Media:

In his Newsweek article of January 31, 2007, Michael Isikoff said the following:

“The report, prepared by the CIA’s inspector general, is the only major 9/11 government review that has still not been made publicly available.”

“When it was completed in August 2005, NEWSWEEK and other publications reported that it contained sharp criticisms of former CIA director George Tenet and other top agency officials for failing to address the threat posed by Al Qaeda, as well as other mistakes that might have prevented the attacks.”

Isikoff goes on to say, “What’s really behind the intelligence community’s refusal to release the report, the senators suspect, is a desire to protect the reputations of some of the main figures.”

The May 17, 2007 Associated Press article by Katherine Shrader said the following:

“It’s amazing the efforts the administration is going to stonewall this,” Wyden said. “The American people have a right to know what the Central Intelligence Agency was doing in those critical months before 9/11…. I am going to bulldog this until the public gets it.” Completed in June 2005, the inspector general’s report examined the personal responsibility of individuals at the CIA before and after the attacks. Other agencies’ reviews examined structural problems within their organizations.

For Immediate Release June 18, 2007

Statement of September 11th Advocates Regarding the Release of the CIA Inspector General’s Report — Post 9/11 June 18, 2007

“The report, prepared by the CIA’s inspector general, is the only major 9/11 government review that has still not been made publicly available.” Michael Isikoff, Newsweek , January 31, 2007

Almost six years have passed since the attacks of September 11, 2001, yet critical information continues to be withheld from the American public regarding the attacks.

In 2002, after reviewing the evidence produced by the Joint Inquiry of Congress into the 9/11 Attacks, both Republican and Democratic Congressmen agreed that a CIA Inspector General review into individual responsibility was necessary. Faced with the facts, these Congressmen understood that accountability in the Intelligence Community was crucial. Their intent was that a final declassified CIA/IG report be released to the public and where deemed appropriate by the report, for personnel at all levels to be held accountable for any omission, commission, or failure to meet professional standards in regard to the events of September 11, 2001. To date, despite enormous efforts from the Senate Intelligence Committee, nothing has happened.

Michael Isikoff wrote in his January 2007 Newsweek article that, “When it [the CIA/IG report] was completed in August 2005, NEWSWEEK and other publications reported that it contained sharp criticisms of former CIA director George Tenet and other top agency officials for failing to address the threat posed by Al Qaeda, as well as other mistakes that might have prevented the attacks.”

Isikoff goes on to say, “What’s really behind the intelligence community’s refusal to release the report, the senators suspect, is a desire to protect the reputations of some of the main figures.”

Since sources and methods are not revealed in a declassified report, national security is protected and thus not an excuse for withholding this document. Since when does embarrassment meet any standard for keeping a government report secret? Isn’t it time for our elected and appointed officials to do the job that they were sent to our Nation’s Capitol for: to protect the public and not reputations?

Americans have the right to know that the problems identified in this report have been addressed and corrected. We have the right to know that competent people are serving us in strategic positions — our safety and security depends on it. Incompetence costs lives. Legislation, co-sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden D-OR and Kit Bond R-MO, calling for the release of the 9/11 CIA/IG report, already exists, has passed the Senate and has strong bipartisan support. Yet, the White House and the CIA continue to refuse to release the already declassified version of the report. It is sadly and abundantly clear that, once again, only heightened public pressure on the Administration and the CIA will force accountability. We call on the public and the press to demand the release of the declassified version of the 9/11 CIA’s Inspector General report. Patty Casazza Monica Gabrielle Mindy Kleinberg Lorie Van Auken