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Official commission: members and mission


Just focusing here on the membership and the mission:
  • Budget for space shuttle Challenger investigation: $112.6 million
  • Investigation of Las Vegas gambling casinos: $50 million
  • 2005 Bush Inauguration events: $40 million
  • September 11 investigation: $13 million ($3 million at first, $10 million more added after public outcry)

OK, let's just say it was very weakly funded, after lots of initial resistance to any kind of investigation at all, and move on.

As for the mission, they say right off they don't want to assign blame to anybody. They also say that discovering who financed the attacks was a matter "of little practical significance"! Little practical significance?! What about the old "follow the money" principle! Oh, wait, right, that's only if you want to blame someone.

Anyway, the membership. First choice to lead inquiry: Henry Kissinger. The original Mr. Secret Dirty Business. He withdrew after an outcry saying he didn't want to reveal his client list, with its extensive ties to Saudi, Afghan, oil company and pipeline interests.

So Bush looked for other insider types and came up with Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton as chairs. As a former official with Amerada Hess, Kean has deep ties to the oil industry. Not a crime: true. But hardly disinterested and independent.

Hamilton has experience on investigative committees. As chair and co-chair, respectively, of the "October Surprise" investigation and the Iran-Contra investigation, he found no wrong-doing regarding Reagan-Bush making a deal with Iranian authorities not to release their US hostages until after the election, and no wrong-doing in Reagan's secret and illegal sales of arms to Iran to fund the contras in Nicaragua, nor in the massive CIA drug smuggling to fund the same purpose, nor in the cover-up following these events. He said it wouldn't have been "good for the country" to go through a dreary impeachment proceeding. Just the sort of man for the 9/11 job.

Another example is Jamie Gorelick, board member of Schlumberger, the oil-drilling giant, and co-chair of the Intelligence Community Law Enforcement Policy Board with George Tenet during the time that Project Bojinka was reported. (Bojinka being a terrorist plot to hijack commercial airliners and explode them or fly them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, among other possible targets; plot uncovered and reported by Philippine authorities in 1995.) Gorelick was one of only two 9/11 commissioners allowed to access classified materials.

And Philip Zelikow was executive director of the Commission (and the only other member to have access to classified information). Member of Bush's own Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. National security advisor in the Ford and Bush Sr. administrations. Member of the Bush-Cheny transition team. Put in the position of controlling which questions would be asked and which witnesses would be interviewed. Perhaps that's why the last thing the Commission wanted to do was blame anybody for anything.

Max Cleland, an original Commission member, resigned, calling the Commission's work a "scam" and a "disgrace" after other members cut a deal with the White House limiting access to classified documents. Cleland said "I don't think any independent commission can let an agency or the White House dictate to it how many commissioners see what..We shouldn't be dealing. If somebody wants to deal, we issue subpoenas...[T]hat decision compromised the mission of the 9/11 commission, pure and simple."

Source: Marrs, p. 150-157, and the Commission Report itself.


I suppose it's just generalized cynicism that prevents me from saying this is more than just somewhat suspicious. Who would the President select to be on the Commission? People he knew. Who does he know? Oil people and secret dirty dealers and cover-uppers. I mean, he picks his cronies for all the jobs. So yeah, he stacked the deck, but I'm looking at this from the angle of "does it indicate facilitation of or complicity in the attacks?" And it's somewhat suspicious in that regard. If we were looking at the question "Is the Bush Administration a bunch of arrogant slimy bald-faced lying bums who think they can get away with anything in general?" then it would rate as extremely suspicious.

Bottom line, me, I give it:

somewhat suspicioussomewhat suspicious


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