9/11 News Stories
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on 9/11 from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.
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Thanks to the Sept. 11 interview of Sarah Palin by Charles Gibson of ABC News, the Bush Doctrine has become part of the American vocabulary. Although it has been a fateful doctrine - it was used to justify the attack on Iraq - many Americans reported that they were as clueless about it as Gov. Palin. So what is the Bush Doctrine? According to international law as generally understood since the creation of the United Nations, a pre-emptive attack is legal only if a country has certain knowledge that an attack on it is imminent - too imminent for the matter to be taken to the U.N. Security Council. Pre-emptive war is different from preventive war, in which a country, fearing that another country may become strong enough to threaten it at some time in the future, attacks it to prevent this possibility. Preventive wars are illegal under international law. This distinction, however, creates a terminological problem: Although preventive war is worse than pre-emptive war, to most ears preemption sounds worse. Many people, therefore, speak of pre-emptive war when they mean preventive war. To avoid confusion, we can use the term pre-emptive-preventive war. Neoconservatives, the most powerful of whom is Vice President Dick Cheney, had long disliked the idea that America's use of military power could be constrained by the prohibition against preemptive-preventive war. In 1992, his last year as secretary of defense, Cheney produced a draft of the Defense Planning Guidance that said the United States should use force to "pre-empt" and "preclude threats." After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the neocons were able to turn their wish into U.S. policy.
Note: This article is by WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin. He analyzes the significance of the 9/11 attacks for the acceptance of the Bush Doctrine in more detail in his recent book The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, pointing out that the author of the document which first made the doctrine official policy was Philip Zelikow, who then later became executive director of the 9/11 Commission.
Over the past week the media was gripped by the news that the FBI was about to charge Bruce Ivins, a leading anthrax expert, as the man responsible for the anthrax letter attacks in September/October 2001. But despite the seemingly powerful narrative that Ivins committed suicide because investigators were closing in, this is still far from a shut case. The FBI needs to explain why it zeroed in on Ivins, how he could have made the anthrax mailed to lawmakers and the media, and how he (or anyone else) could have pulled off the attacks, acting alone. The spores could not have been produced at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, where Ivins worked, without many other people being aware of it. Furthermore, the equipment to make such a product does not exist at the institute. The product contained essentially pure spores. The particle size was 1.5 to 3 microns in diameter. There are several methods used to produce anthrax that small. But most of them require milling the spores to a size small enough that it can be inhaled into the lower reaches of the lungs. In this case, however, the anthrax spores were not milled. They were also tailored to make them potentially more dangerous. The spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. Each particle was given a weak electric charge, thereby causing the particles to repel each other at the molecular level. This made it easier for the spores to float in the air, and increased their retention in the lungs. In short, the potential lethality of anthrax in this case far exceeds that of any powdered product found in the now extinct U.S. Biological Warfare Program.
Fires in the 47-story office tower at the edge of the World Trade Center site undermined floor beams and a critical structural column, federal investigators [from the National Institute of Standards and Technology] concluded on Thursday, as they attempted to curb still-rampant speculation that explosives caused the buildings collapse on Sept. 11, 2001. The collapse of 7 World Trade Center ... is cited in hundreds of Web sites and books as perhaps the most compelling evidence that an insider secretly planted explosives, intentionally destroying the tower. [Critics] have pointed to the fact that the building fell straight down, instead of tumbling, as proof that explosives were used to topple it, as well as to bring down the twin towers. Sixteen percent of the respondents in a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll said it was very likely or somewhat likely that explosives were planted. Other towers in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles have remained standing through catastrophic blazes that burned out of control for hours because of malfunctioning or nonexistent sprinkler systems. But 7 World Trade Center, which was not struck by a plane, is the first skyscraper in modern times to collapse primarily as a result of a fire. Adding to the suspicion is the fact that in the rush to clean up the site, almost all of the steel remains of the tower were disposed of, leaving investigators in later years with little forensic evidence. Skeptics ... have long argued that an incendiary material called thermite, made of aluminum powder and a metal oxide, was used to take down the trade center towers. They also have argued that a sulfur residue found at the World Trade Center site is evidence of an inside job.
Seven years later, it remains conventional wisdom [in Cairo] that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda could not have been solely responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that the United States and Israel had to have been involved in their planning, if not their execution, too. Look, I dont believe what your governments and press say. It just cant be true, said Ahmed Issab, 26, a Syrian engineer who lives and works in the United Arab Emirates. Why would they tell the truth? I think the U.S. organized this so that they had an excuse to invade Iraq for the oil. Again and again, people said they simply did not believe that a group of Arabs like themselves could possibly have waged such a successful operation against a superpower like the United States. But they also said that Washingtons post-9/11 foreign policy proved that the United States and Israel were behind the attacks, especially with the invasion of Iraq. Maybe people who executed the operation were Arabs, but the brains? No way, said Mohammed Ibrahim, 36, a clothing-store owner in the Bulaq neighborhood of Cairo. It was organized by other people, the United States or the Israelis. Zein al-Abdin, 42, an electrician, [said] What happened in Iraq confirms that it has nothing to do with bin Laden or Qaeda. They went against Arabs and against Islam to serve Israel, thats why.
Note: For a two-page summary of many reports from reliable, verifiable sources that highlight unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.
The Big Apple is turning into Big Brother, civil liberties groups have warned in response to a new plan from New York city's police chiefs to photograph every vehicle entering Manhattan and hold the details on a massive database. As well as placing cameras at all tunnels and bridges into Manhattan, the 36-page plan, called Operation Sentinel, calls for a security ring to be erected at Ground Zero and for a 50-mile buffer zone around the city within which mobile units would search for nuclear or "dirty" bombs. [The] 3,000 cameras that could be mounted as a result of the plans of the New York police ... have provoked outrage in the United States. Donna Lieberman, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the idea of tracking the movements of millions of people was "an assault on the country's historical respect for the right to privacy and the freedom to be left alone". The NYCLU is pressing the New York police to release further details of its intentions under freedom of information laws. The toughest element of the scheme relates to preparations to secure Ground Zero once the six-hectare site is rebuilt and open to the public again. Those measures include moveable roadblocks, security cameras across lower Manhattan and an underground bomb-screening centre through which all delivery vehicles would have to pass. The plan to video the number plates of every vehicle would be applied to all points of entry into Manhattan, including the main Brooklyn-Battery, Holland, Lincoln and Midtown tunnels and Brooklyn, Manhattan and other bridges.
Note: For lots more on threats to privacy from major media sources, click here.
Nearly seven years after the terrible events of that September day, the US authorities are due to publish the final report on a third tower that also collapsed on 9/11. Unlike the Twin Towers, this 47-storey, 610-foot skyscraper was not hit by a plane. The official explanation is that ordinary fires were the main reason for the collapse of Tower 7. That makes this the first and only tall skyscraper in the world to have collapsed because of fire. Yet despite that all the thousands of tonnes of steel from the building were carted away and melted down. The way official bodies have investigated Tower 7 at the World Trade Center has made some people think they're hiding something. Its destruction was never mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report. An inquiry by the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the building collapsed because intense fires had burned for hours, fed by thousands of gallons of diesel stored in the building for emergency generators. But its report said this had "only a low probability of occurrence" and more work was needed. That was in May 2002. The task has now fallen to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) based at a sprawling campus near Washington DC. For more than two-and-a-half years, scientists there have been studying Tower 7. The officials have been criticised for being slow and even of being frightened to publish. Steven Jones, a former physics professor at Brigham Young University, who has become [a] leading academic voice in the movement, first watched a video of the collapse of Tower 7 in the spring of 2005. But when he did, he said he was taken aback as a physicist.
Note: For a two-page summary of some unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.
The 47-storey third tower, known as Tower Seven, collapsed seven hours after the twin towers. Investigators are expected to say ordinary fires on several different floors caused the collapse. Conspiracy theorists have argued that the third tower was brought down in a controlled demolition. Unlike the twin towers, Tower Seven was not hit by a plane. The National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] ... is expected to conclude in its long-awaited report this month that ordinary fires caused the building to collapse. That would make it the first and only steel skyscraper in the world to collapse because of fire. [NIST's] lead investigator, Dr Shyam Sunder, spoke to BBC Two's "The Conspiracy Files": "Our working hypothesis now actually suggests that it was normal building fires that were growing and spreading throughout the multiple floors that may have caused the ultimate collapse of the buildings." However, a group of architects, engineers and scientists say the official explanation that fires caused the collapse is impossible. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth argue there must have been a controlled demolition. The founder of the group, Richard Gage, says the collapse of the third tower is an obvious example of a controlled demolition using explosives. "Building Seven is the smoking gun of 9/11. A sixth grader can look at this building falling at virtually freefall speed, symmetrically and smoothly, and see that it is not a natural process. Buildings that fall in natural processes fall to the path of least resistance", says Gage, "they don't go straight down through themselves."
Note: To watch a one-minute clip of the fall of WTC 7 from a PBS documentary, click here. For a two-page summary of some unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here. To learn about over 3,000 architects and engineers who claim a major cover-up around 9/11 click here.
World Trade Center Building 7 has become the subject of heated speculation and a host of conspiracy theories suggesting it was brought down by a controlled demolition. And some people suggest it was not just the government and foreign intelligence, but ... even the media that were involved. It is certainly true that on 9/11 the BBC broadcast that WTC7 had collapsed when it was still standing. Then the satellite transmission seemed to cut out mysteriously when the correspondent was still talking. Then [head of BBC News] Richard Porter admitted in his blog last year that the BBC had lost those key tapes of BBC World News output from the day. The internet movie Loose Change has been viewed by more than 100 million people according to its makers and it asks this question in the latest film release: "Where did CNN and the BBC get their information especially considering the building was still standing directly behind their reporters?" It turns out that the respected news agency Reuters picked up an incorrect report and passed it on. They have issued this statement: "On 11 September 2001 Reuters incorrectly reported that one of the buildings at the New York World Trade Center, 7WTC, had collapsed before it actually did. The report was picked up from a local news story and was withdrawn as soon as it emerged that the building had not fallen." And the reason the interview with the BBC correspondent, Jane Standley, ended so abruptly? The satellite feed had an electronic timer, which cut out at 1715 exactly.
Note: How many "coincidences" does it take for people to start to ask questions? How could people know that the building was going to collapse when a skyscraper had never collapsed before from fire? For a useful BBC FAQ on 9/11 alternative theories, click here.
BLITZER: The 9/11 Commission second-guesses the Pentagon on the timeline of events on that fateful day. What kind of impact might that have? Let's check ... with Jack Cafferty in New York. CAFFERTY: A member of the 9/11 Commission says that the commission didn't trust some of the testimony from Pentagon officials about the timeline of events on that fateful day, September 11. The question we asked is: What does it mean if the 9/11 Commission thought the Pentagon wasn't telling the truth? Marie in Bartlett, Illinois, [writes]: "The 9/11 Commission failed. If they mulled criminal charges because they doubted the veracity of testimony from Pentagon personnel, why did they stop at that? And why say so now? If persons are suspected of lying, they must be brought up on charges, and found either guilty or innocent. The commission declared themselves to be judge and jury. And the kangaroo court verdict was not guilty." Paul in Rockville, Maryland [writes]: "The fact that Henry Kissinger and George Mitchell both took the job, and then quit, should have been a tip-off to how big a can of worms they were opening." BLITZER: And, as commercial airliners approached Washington and New York on 9/11, what did the Pentagon know and when?
Note: The above summary is taken from the section at the very bottom of the CNN News transcript at the link above. For a three-minute video clip of this report, click here. For a two-page summary of some other unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.
Government lawyers say the ongoing investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks could be compromised if the airline industry is allowed to seek more information from the FBI to defend itself against lawsuits brought by terrorism victims. The government urged a judge to block aviation companies from interviewing five FBI employees who the companies say will help them prove the government withheld key information before the 2001 attacks. The lawyers said it would be impossible to interview the employees without disclosing classified or privileged material that could "cause serious damage to national security and interfere with pending law enforcement proceedings." The largest investigation in FBI history has resulted in 167,000 interviews and more than 155,000 pieces of evidence and involved the pursuit of 500,000 investigative leads, the lawyers wrote. The airlines and aviation companies are defending themselves against lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages for injuries, fatalities, property damage and business losses related to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The companies filed separate lawsuits against the CIA and the FBI last August to force terrorism investigators to tell whether the aviation industry was to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks. Meanwhile, lawyers for the victims of the attacks ... recounted in court papers numerous hijackings and attacks aboard planes before Sept. 11 that they said should have put the airline industry on notice that a disastrous attack could occur.
Note: For a two-page overview of many unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.
To the ["9/11 Truth movement"], Building 7 the third building in the World Trade Center complex to collapse on September 11 is evidence that the mainstream media is in on the plot. On that day, the BBC reported the buildings fall almost half an hour before it happened. Journalist Jane Standley was broadcast at 4.54pm eastern time reporting that the tower had collapsed but in the background, it was still standing. It fell 26 minutes later, seven hours after the Twin Towers came down. When the Standley clip hit YouTube, truthers bombarded the BBCs website with questions and accusations. Richard Porter, head of BBC world news, was forced to deny that the broadcaster was reading from the Bush conspirators script. He said the BBC had misreported warnings from fire crews of the buildings imminent collapse and instead stated that it had already happened. He blamed the confusion of the day for the mix-up. CNN had earlier reported rumours that a third building had either collapsed or was about to. This explanation was undermined by Porters admission that the BBC no longer had the original tapes of its coverage. Building 7 is [a] smoking gun for other reasons, too. How, they ask, could this modern, steel-framed skyscraper collapse merely because of fire, without even being hit by an airliner? The 47-storey WTC7 fell straight down, at almost free-fall speed, largely into its own footprint: all the hallmarks, the sceptics say, of a controlled demolition.
Note: To read a related Financial Times report on the 9/11 Truth movement's claims, click here.
The Supreme Court ... delivered its third consecutive rebuff to the Bush administrations handling of the detainees at Guantnamo Bay, ruling 5 to 4 that the prisoners there have a constitutional right to go to federal court to challenge their continued detention. The court declared unconstitutional a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that ... stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus petitions from the detainees seeking to challenge their designation as enemy combatants. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the truncated review procedure provided by a previous law, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, falls short of being a constitutionally adequate substitute because it failed to offer the fundamental procedural protections of habeas corpus. Justice Kennedy declared: The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. The decision, which was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen G. Breyer, was categorical in its rejection of the administrations basic arguments. Indeed, the court repudiated the fundamental legal basis for the administrations strategy, adopted in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, of housing prisoners captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere at the United States naval base in Cuba, where Justice Department lawyers advised the White House that domestic law would never reach.
Note: For many disturbing reports on threats to civil liberties from major media sources, click here.
Defense attorneys for the 270 detainees at Guantanamo Bay said the Supreme Court decision yesterday that granted detainees habeas corpus rights was a watershed moment that will allow the men, some held for as long as 6 1/2 years, to challenge their detentions before a civilian judge. The court's ruling immediately gives the detainees access to a federal court in Washington, where lawyers will seek to have judges order the men released from indefinite detention. Legal experts said it is unclear how the hearings will proceed, but the government could be compelled to present highly classified evidence, and detainees could for the first time be able to publicly call witnesses, present evidence of abuse and rebut terrorism allegations. The decision could force the U.S. government to show why individual detainees must be held, something U.S. officials have fought for years. As many as 130 detainees have been deemed dangerous but are unlikely to ever face criminal charges, according to prosecutors, and now government officials could have to argue for indefinite detention even if the evidence is flimsy or nonexistent. "We're going to see a high number of people the government is going to have to release," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented Guantanamo Bay detainees since 2002. It is unclear how the Boumediene v. Bush decision will affect military commissions trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where 20 detainees, including ... Khalid Sheik Mohammed, have been charged with war crimes.
When Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his alleged collaborators in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks appear before the war crimes tribunal here today, ousted chief prosecutor Col. Morris D. Davis will not be celebrating. Davis, who has spent half of his life in the military justice system, still considers it "the most ethical process in the world." But the Pentagon's push to prosecute the so-called 9/11 Five is tainted, in his view, by political intrusions, illegal influence applied by more-senior officers and reliance on evidence obtained through coercion or torture. Davis drew the wrath of many in the Pentagon hierarchy when he objected last fall to pressures from Bush administration political appointees to prosecute Mohammed, known in intelligence circles as KSM, ahead of other war crimes suspects whose cases were already researched and on whom vital evidence was declassified. Unless the evidence prosecutors have against Mohammed and his codefendants is declassified, much of their prosecution will be conducted behind closed doors, depriving the American media and public of a clear view of the proceedings, he says. Davis ran afoul of superiors ... when he advised his prosecutors against relying on evidence obtained through waterboarding and other interrogation techniques that have been deemed coercive or tantamount to torture. Davis resigned after political appointees at the Pentagon rejected his judgment on the choice of cases to be tried in the months leading up to this November's election, as well as his advice against building prosecutions on coerced and potentially unreliable confessions.
When Cynthia McKinney speaks the words of Martin Luther King Jr, they resound through the church with some of Kings cadence. A time comes, declares the former US congresswoman from Georgia, when silence is betrayal. Before the packed pews of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, McKinney is speaking of the American governments war on its own people. The shock and awe phase of this conflict ... began on September 11 2001, when the Bush administration launched attacks on New York and Washington, or at least waved them through. According to a show of hands that February afternoon, several hundred people in the immaculate church believe this to be true. They had all come to hear the message of Architects, Engineers & Scientists for 9/11 Truth, one of the dozens of [9/11 truth] groups across the US. Last winter, Investigate 9/11 banners seemed to be popping up all over the place. Bill Clinton was heckled by truthers in Denver while campaigning for his wife. Country music star Willie Nelson ... described as naive the notion that the implosion of the Twin Towers was caused by crashing jets. Meanwhile the European Parliament screened the Italian documentary Zero, in which Gore Vidal, Italian playwright Dario Fo, and Italian MEP Giulietto Chiesa blame the US government, not al-Qaeda, for 9/11. The following month, Japanese MP Yukihisa Fujita raised his own doubts about the official story at a seminar in Sydney. A busy season for the 9/11 Truth movement.
Note: This extensive story in The Financial Times shows that the 9/11 movement is having a major impact. For a detailed two-page summary of many questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.
More than 360 workers who dealt with the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster have died, state health officials said Wednesday. Officials have determined the cause of death of 154 of the responders and volunteers who toiled at Ground Zero, the blocks nearby and at the Fresh Kills landfill, where debris from the site was taken. Of those, 80 died of cancer. "It's the tip of the iceberg," said David Worby, who is representing 10,000 workers - 600 with cancer - who say they got sick after working on rescue and recovery efforts. "These statistics bear out how toxic that site was," Worby said. Most of the deadly tumors were in the lungs and digestive system, according to the tally from the state's World Trade Center Responder Fatality Investigation Program. Other deaths were traced to blood cancers and heart and circulatory diseases. Five ex-workers committed suicide, said Kitty Gelberg, who is tracking the deaths for the program. Gelberg said ... there is an overall undercount of workers who have died. Last year, the head of Mount Sinai Medical Center's monitoring and treatment program, Dr. Robin Herbert, predicted a "third wave" of 9/11-related deaths from cancer. Cathy Murray, whose husband, Fire Lt. John Murray, died of colon cancer April 30, "absolutely" connects his disease to his work at Ground Zero. He was diagnosed in June and was 52 when he died, she said. "He was perfectly healthy," said Cathy Murray, 53, of Staten Island. "He never smoked a day in his life, and neither did I. It happened so quick and so aggressive. He was responding at first, but then he wasn't," she added. "And now he's gone."
Note: For a powerful summary of reports from major media sources questioning the official story of what happened on 9/11, click here.
Sixteen months ago, Brigham Young University and Steven Jones parted ways, but he said this week he isn't bitter about the academic divorce. He certainly hasn't curtailed his volatile research on the collapse of the three World Trade Center towers after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In fact, Jones is the lead author of a paper on the collapses published April 18 in a civil engineering journal. Most importantly, he is preparing several more papers that, if they pass peer review and are published, will give him the peace of mind that his case reached the public. Jones was energized in November when he ... received a response from the national lab charged by Congress to determine why and how the towers collapsed. The letter contained the following phrase: "We are unable to provide a full explanation of the total collapse." "That," Jones said, "really was progress. It made me believe we could talk with them." It is striking. After producing a 10,000-page report, the National Institute of Standards and Technology can't explain the collapse. Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has said that its best hypothesis for the fall of the third tower, WTC 7 diesel fuel stored in the building caused fires that collapsed the building has a "low probability" of being correct. [Jones'] new peer-reviewed paper in the Open Civil Engineering Journal ... lays out 14 points of agreement Jones and his colleagues have with the official government reports. "We're getting to a higher level of discussion with this paper," Jones said. The open paper can be found for free on the Web at www.bentham.org.
Note: For many revealing reports on the path-breaking work of renowned physicist Steven Jones to shed light on what really happened on 9/11, click here.
President Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News. "Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people," Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved." As first reported by ABC News, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA. The president had earlier confirmed the existence of the interrogation program run by the CIA in a speech in 2006. But before [ABC's original] report, the extraordinary level of involvement by the most senior advisers in repeatedly approving specific interrogation plans -- down to the number of times the CIA could use a certain tactic on a specific al Qaeda prisoner -- had never been disclosed. Critics at home and abroad have harshly criticized the interrogation program, which pushed the limits of international law and, they say, condoned torture. In the interview with ABC News, Bush defended the waterboarding technique used against KSM. "We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it," Bush said. "And no, I didn't have any problem at all trying to find out what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed knew." The president said, "I think it's very important for the American people to understand who Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was. He was the person who ordered the suicide attack -- I mean, the 9/11 attacks."
Note: For a transcript of the interview with President Bush on the Washington Post website, click here. For a powerful two-page summary of many unanswered questions about who really ordered the 9/11 attacks, click here.
Jesse Ventura says he regrets not asking more questions about the 9/11 attacks when he was still governor of Minnesota. Ventura tells the nationally syndicated radio host Alex Jones that his skepticism about the official version of events would have then carried more weight. Among many other things, Ventura questions how the Twin Towers could have fallen so fast and in such a way as to turn so much of the wreckage into dust. He also says that after watching the Twin Towers collapse in slow motion, it appears to him exactly like the controlled demolition of a Las Vegas hotel. Ventura spoke on Jones' program on Wednesday. Ventura was elected as an independent in 1998 and left office in 2003 after deciding not to seek re-election. Jones frequently questions the events surrounding 9/11 and often discusses conspiracies on his radio show and documentary films.
Note: For a powerful two-page summary of unanswered questions about the official account of 9/11, click here.
For 30 years, Lew Ellingson loved being a telephone man. His job splicing phone cables was one that he says gave him a true sense of accomplishment, first for Northwestern Bell, then US West and finally Qwest Communications International. But by the time Mr. Ellingson retired from Qwest last year at 52, he had grown angry. An insider trading scandal had damaged the companys reputation, and the life savings of former colleagues had evaporated in the face of Qwests stock troubles. It was a good place, he said wistfully. And then something like this happened. Now, Mr. Ellingson is the public face of a proposed ballot measure in Colorado that seeks to create what supporters hope will be the nations toughest corporate fraud law. Buttressed by local advocacy groups and criticized by a Colorado business organization, the measure would make business executives criminally responsible if their companies run afoul of the law. It would also permit any Colorado resident to sue the executives under such circumstances. Proceeds from successful suits would go to the state. If passed by voters in November, the proposal would leave top business officers [with] unprecedented individual accountability, said Mr. Ellingson. If nothing else, these folks in charge of the corporations and companies will think twice about cutting corners to make themselves look more profitable than they really are, he said. The plight of Mr. Ellingsons former employer, Qwest, based in Denver, was a motivation for the proposal. Last April, a jury in Denver convicted Qwests former chief executive, Joseph P. Nacchio, of 19 of 42 counts of insider trading. Mr. Nacchio was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $19 million and forfeit $52 million in money he earned from stock sales in 2001.
Note: As reported in the Washington Post, Joseph P. Nacchio, the former Qwest CEO, has claimed that he was singled out for prosecution because he refused to cooperate with the National Security Agency's electronic surveillance of American citizens, which began before 9/11.
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