Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball report in Newsweek that in preparation for the 2004 presidential election, U.S. government officials are trying to restrict public disclosure of an 800-page secret report prepared by a joint congressional committee. It reveals the intelligence and law-enforcement failures that preceded 911, including unheeded warnings received by President Bush and his top advisers shortly before the attacks.
The report was completed last December and only the basic facts, with no details, were made available to the public. The government refuses to declassify the rest of the document. In some cases, the administration has even “reclassified” some material that was already discussed in public testimony. Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who helped produce the document, says, “There has been a cover-up of this.”
Rep. Porter Goss, who worked with Graham, says, “Senior intelligence officials said things in public hearings that they [administration officials] don’t want us to put in the report. That?s not something I can rationally accept without further public explanation.”
Some of the reclassified material has already been extensively reported in the media, such as the FBI “Phoenix memo” of July 2001, reporting that Middle Eastern nationals might be enrolling in U.S. flight schools. An intelligence official says, “Just because something had been inadvertently released, doesn?t make it unclassified.”
People who’ve read the classified sections of the report say one part of it reveals there were intelligence reports in the summer of 2001 suggesting that al-Qaeda was planning an upcoming attack against the United States. One CIA briefing in July 2001 predicted that Osama bin-Laden was about to launch a terrorist strike “in the coming weeks” and said, “The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.”
An intelligence briefing in early August 2001 given to national-security adviser Condaleeza Rice warned that al-Qaeda terrorists inside the U.S. might try to highjack airplanes.
How can we find out what really happened on 911?
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