March 24, 2004

Thoughts on the 9/11 Commission. Gail Sheehy was with Kristen Breitweiser, Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza yesterday at the 9/11 Commission hearing in Washington, DC. From her excellent report: "The Four Moms had submitted dozens of questions they have been burning to ask at these hearings. Mr. Rumsfeld is a particular thorn in their sides. ... When the widows had a conference call last week with the commission staff, they asked that Secretary Rumsfeld be questioned about his response on the day of Sept. 11. They were told that this was not a line of questioning the staff planned to pursue."

In the public hearings I have both attended and watched on television, the members of the Commission seem to have assumptions about the terrorist attacks that they believe are true and ask their questions as though those assumptions are incontrovertible facts. The Commission has consistently refused to question the fundamental assumptions about 9/11 and by deciding that certain questions are not important, the Commission seems intent on reaffirming the "official version." Having the Defense Secretary describe what he was told and saw and did on 9/11 is apparently not worth the Commission's time. Of course, it's possibile these questions are being asked in private, but there are dozens of questions that deserve to be answered in public. (Rumsfeld's account as told in Sheehy's article is completely implausible.)

Despite my near-constant bitching about the Commission, I still hold some slim hope that it will do its job. I don't know why I have any shred of optimism; the less I expect, the less likely I'll be disappointed. The Commission's final report -- due at the end of July -- may contain some nuggets of truth, some new information to fit into the existing Timeline, but any truly groundbreaking information will come from researchers and the pressure applied by people like Breitweiser and Kleinberg, not from "independent" bodies like the 9/11 Commission.

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