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Van Auken & Kleinberg Editorial

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To the Editor:

Re “9/11 Panel Study Finds That C.I.A. Withheld Tapes” (front page, Dec. 22):

Our government’s official story regarding the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, tells us that 19 Arab hijackers successfully defeated the United States military by hijacking four commercial airliners within two hours on a budget of approximately $400,000. These men, armed only with small knives, box cutters and Mace, were able to knock down the World Trade Center towers in New York City and strike the Pentagon.

Because our loved ones were murdered on 9/11, we felt that the details of how the hijackers succeeded should be thoroughly investigated, so we fought for an independent 9/11 Commission. It seemed logical that our government would want to know what happened so as to prevent another attack.

When the legislation for the 9/11 Commission was passed, it gave the commissioners full subpoena power. Unfortunately, that subpoena power was rarely used.

You report that “the panel made repeated and detailed requests to the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 and 2004 for documents and other information about the interrogation of operatives of Al Qaeda.” But while the panel did make “document requests” to the C.I.A., it did not subpoena the C.I.A. for the documents and tapes.

A subpoena would have meant that the C.I.A. would have had to answer the commission as to whether the documents and tapes existed, and the agency would have had to explain its reasons for not turning these documents and tapes over to the panel. We would have had a paper trail about the evidence.

You also report, “In interviews this week, the two chairmen of the commission, Lee H. Hamilton and Thomas H. Kean, said their reading of the report had convinced them that the agency had made a conscious decision to impede the Sept. 11 commission’s inquiry.”

The question is: Are Americans satisfied with this?

The 9/11 Commission did not fulfill its mandate to thoroughly investigate the 9/11 attacks. A real investigation into the events of Sept. 11 that examines all of the evidence has never been done and is still needed.

Lorie Van Auken
Mindy Kleinberg
East Brunswick, N.J., Dec. 22, 2007

Related
9/11 Panel Study Finds That C.I.A. Withheld Tapes (December 22, 2007)
House Panel Subpoenas C.I.A. Official Over Destroyed Tapes (December 21, 2007)

Source URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/26/opinion/l26cia.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper&oref=slogin&oref=slogin