National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

2002 -2003


Materials arranged chronologically.

Best, Richard A., Jr. The Intelligence Community and 9/11: Proposals for An Independent Commission. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Updated 6 Nov. 2002. Available at:

"In separate legislation, the House and Senate have endorsed proposals for an independent commission [to assess the performance of the U.S. Intelligence Community in regard to the 9/11 attacks]. Proponents argue that an investigation by persons without ties to intelligence agencies could provide greater assurance of an impartial assessment that could lead, if necessary, to improvements in the nation's intelligence effort. Opponents argue that it would usurp the responsibilities of congressional intelligence committees, burden senior intelligence officials, and risk exposure of intelligence assets deeply involved in the current struggle against terrorism."

Loven, Jennifer. “Bush Taps Kissinger to Head 9/11 Probe.” Associated Press, 27 Nov. 2002. []

On 27 November 2002, President George W. Bush "signed legislation creating a new independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks … and named former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to lead the panel."

Shenon, Philip. "Former New Jersey Gov. to Head 9/11 Panel." New York Times, 17 Dec. 2002. []

On 16 December 2002, President George W. Bush named Thomas H. Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey, to replace Henry A. Kissinger as chairman of an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks. Kean commented that "he did not believe he faced the potential business conflicts that led Mr. Kissinger to abruptly withdraw last week as chairman.... Kissinger's appointment had drawn fire in large part because of his refusal to disclose his company's client list and his possible ties to foreign governments and companies that could have intersts in the investigation." See also, Amy Goldstein, "9/11 Panel Gets New Chairman; Ex-N.J. Governor Kean Named to Replace Kissinger," Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2002, A1.

Schmidt, Susan. "Broader Probe of Terror Threat Underway; Panel Looks Beyond Intelligence Failures, Into U.S. Government's Response." Washington Post, 27 Jul. 2003, A10. [http://www.]

"The bipartisan commission appointed by Congress and President Bush is conducting what participants believe is the most ambitious government investigation in history, looking not only into intelligence failures, as the congressional committee did, but much more broadly at how the U.S. government responded to the terrorist threat." Commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean said that newly available information "may provide new facts and lead to some recommendations that are different from those of the joint [Congressional] committee."

Eggen, Dan. "Ex-Chiefs Disagree on Intelligence Overhaul." Washington Post, 15 Oct. 2003, A3. []

Testifying on 14 October 2003 before a bipartisan commission investigating the 9/11 terrorist attacks, former DCIs John M. Deutch and James R. Schlesinger disagreed on whether drastic reform is needed in U.S. intelligence. Deutch "said that the government should create a domestic intelligence agency to take over counterterrorism responsibilities from the FBI and vest the director of central intelligence with more authority.... But Schlesinger ... urged caution. 'Tinkering with the organizational structure can help, but by itself will not produce major improvement,' Schlesinger said."

Isikoff, Michael. "PDB Battle Heats Up." Newsweek, 10 Nov. 2003, 8.

After battling for months demands by the national 9/11 commission for the President's Daily Briefs (PDBs) from the summer of 2001, the White House is now being pressed to see them as well by Senate investigators looking at pre-Iraq-war intelligence. "White House hard-liners ... insist any accommodation on PDBs will set a dangerous precedent; one insider calls the documents the 'crown jewels' of executive privilege." At the same time, "the 9/11 commission is threatening" to subpoena the PDBs. Thus far, "commissioners have refused to accept an offer to let only the panel's chair and vice chair, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, review them in private."

Eggen, Dan. "Kerrey Replacing Member of 9/11 Panel; Former Senator Taking Seat as Group Decides Whether to Extend Deadline." Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2003, A14. [http://www.]

"Former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey, who served as the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee," was named on 9 December 2003 to "the independent panel investigating the government's performance before and during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Kerrey replaces former Georgia senator Max Cleland. See also, Philip Shenon, "Ex-Senator Kerrey Is Named to Federal 9/11 Commission," New York Times, 10 Dec. 2003.

Milbank, Dana. "Kean Says 9/11 Attacks Could Have Been Prevented." Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2003, A25. []

In remarks broadcast on 17 December 2003, Thomas H. Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey and chairman of the commission investigating the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said that he believes "the strikes could have been prevented."

Shenon, Philip. "Chief of Sept. 11 Panel Assesses Blame but Holds Off on Higher-Ups." New York Times, 19 Dec. 2003. []

Thomas H. Kean, chairman of the federal 9/11 commission, said in a telephone interview on 18 December 2003 that "information long available to the public showed that the attacks could have been prevented had a group of low- and mid-level government employees at the F.B.I., the immigration service and elsewhere done their jobs properly." Kean also said "that his investigators were still studying whether senior Bush administration officials should also share the blame."

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