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9/11 Commissioners Kean, Hamilton: CIA Obstruction
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times


New York Times, January 2, 2008
Posted: September 22nd, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/02/opinion/02kean.html

More than five years ago, Congress and President Bush created the 9/11 commission. Soon after its creation, the presidents chief of staff directed all executive branch agencies to cooperate with the commission. The commissions mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes and did not tell us about them obstructed our investigation. No one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations. We did ask, repeatedly, for the kind of information that would have been contained in such videotapes. Beginning in June 2003, we requested all reports of intelligence information ... that had been gleaned from the interrogations of 118 named individuals, including both Abu Zubaydah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, two senior Qaeda operatives, portions of whose interrogations were apparently recorded and then destroyed. The C.I.A. gave us many reports summarizing information gained in the interrogations. But the reports raised almost as many questions as they answered. So, in October 2003, we sent another wave of questions to the C.I.A.s general counsel. The general counsel responded in writing with non-specific replies. The agency did not disclose that any interrogations had ever been recorded or that it had held any further relevant information, in any form. Government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.

Note: The authors of this op-ed, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, served as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the 9/11 Commission.


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