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3.26.04
Politics and Economy:
Unanswered Questions
More on This Story:
The 9/11 Commission

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, began well-publicized open hearings on March 23, 2004. You can read the submitted testimony of experts called to testify at the Commission's Web site. THE NEW YORK TIMES is providing the complete transcript for the March 23 and March 24 hearings.

The task of the ten commissioners is to analyze worldwide terrorist danger, as well as to investigate American national security and sensitive policy and intelligence issues across the federal government. The Commission is scheduled to report findings by June 2004.

The Commission was established in fall 2002, partly in response to pressure from the families of September 11 victims. In September 2003, NOW reported on some of the families who are on the Commission's family steering committee. They prepared a list of questions that they hope that the Commission will be able to answer.

President Bush had originally appointed former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as chairman of the Commission, but Kissinger stepped down within the first two weeks of taking the post rather than answer allegations of potential conflicts of interest. His replacement was former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, with Lee H. Hamilton chosen as vice chair, and the other committee members including Richard Ben-Veniste, Max Cleland, Fred F. Fielding, Jamie S. Gorelick, Slade Gorton, John F. Lehman, Timothy J. Roemer, James R. Thompson — a total of five Republicans and five Democrats.

While the Commission is gathering documents from federal agencies, Congressional intelligence committees have released their report on the actions of the FBI and CIA before and after the September 11 attacks. Read the report of the joint inquiry into the terrorist attacks. In July, 2003, Frank Sesno interviewed former Senator Max Cleland on NOW. At that time Cleland was a member of the independent 9-11 Commission. He has since resigned to take up an appointment as a Democratic director of the Export-Import Bank. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle will select Cleland's successor.

  • Read the interview with Max Cleland.

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