Descent into the Maelstrom: 9/11 Part 2

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”


– Arthur Conan Doyle

It was not until 2006 that I began to research in earnest the facts surrounding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. By then, I had become familiar with The 9/11 Commission Report, released in 2004, as well as many of the accusations that “conspiracy theorists” had publicized refuting the conclusions of the Commission. The 9/11 Commission’s report was intended to explain what had happened on September 11, 2001, while making recommendations on how to avoid a similar catastrophe in the future.

During 2006, the war in Iraq was constantly in the news and I had not intended to pursue the story of the 9/11 attacks beyond what I already knew. Then I came across a story published by the Washington Post, on Wednesday August 2, 2006, entitled, “9/11 Panel suspected deception by Pentagon”.

According to the Post’s story, for more than two years after the attacks officials from NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] and the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] had provided “inaccurate information” regarding their response to the hijackings. Some staff members and commissioners “concluded that the Pentagon’s initial story of how it reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public.”

This revelation did not become clear until the 9/11 Commission obtained audiotapes from NORAD and the FAA that were recorded on September 11. In fact, the commission was “forced to use subpoenas” in order to secure the tapes due to “the agencies’ reluctance to release the tapes.”

“I was shocked at how different the truth was,” said John Farmer, a former New Jersey attorney general who led the staff inquiry into the events of September 11. “The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years.”

It was thought that the available evidence “provided enough probable cause to believe that military and aviation officials violated the law by making false statements to Congress and the commission.” In a secret meeting at the end of its tenure in the summer of 2004, the 10-member commission debated whether or not to refer the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. They decided not to. “We to this day don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us,” said Thomas H. Kean, the former New Jersey Republican governor who led the commission. “It was just so far from the truth…It’s one of the loose ends that never got tied.” According to “sources involved in the debate”, it was assumed that false statements were made “hoping to hide the bungled response to the hijackings.”

9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean

9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean

I found it hard to believe what I was reading. Investigators of the most heinous attack ever perpetrated against American citizens had discovered in the course of their inquiry that employees of the federal government and the military, material witnesses in the crime’s investigation, had lied to them and withheld evidence, yet no effort was made to find out why. The Commission Chairman, Thomas Kean, dismissed this fact as “one of the loose ends that never got tied.”

This was not revealed to the public until two years after the 9/11 Commission had concluded its investigation.

I asked myself the obvious question – why did they not investigate further? If I had been a member of the 9/11 Commission, I would want to know why I was being lied to and why senior administrators were shielding the liars. What did they have to hide?

People who conceal evidence and falsify statements during a criminal investigation have something to hide.

In the 9/11 Commission’s final report of 2004, it was stated: “Our aim has not been to assign individual blame. Our aim has been to provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons learned.” (Preface, xvi)

How could the commission provide the “fullest possible account” of what had happened without investigating all available leads? How could they make recommendations for reforms without possessing all of the facts, knowing as they did that people within their own government had misled them and that additional information may have been withheld?

If bureaucratic incompetence was the explanation for a “bungled response” to the 9/11 hijackings, as suggested by a commission insider, how could the incompetent bunglers at NORAD and in the FAA be identified then weeded out of these agencies if the commission was not going to “assign individual blame”?

Under no circumstances could I imagine myself leaving any “loose ends” during an investigation into the murder of more than three thousand human beings.

In 2006, Chairman Thomas H. Kean and Vice Chair Lee H. Hamilton co-authored a book entitled, “Without precedent: the inside story of the 9/11 Commission”, in which this obstruction of justice by government officials is discussed:

“Fog of war could explain why some people were confused on the day of 9/11, but it could not explain why all of the after-action reports, accident investigations, and public testimony by FAA and NORAD officials advanced an account of 9/11 that was untrue.” (261)

Despite this knowledge, no action was taken. Kean explains that “the issue was presented to the commission in May 2004” and that they had a “reporting date” of July 22. “At that point, we did not have time to launch a separate investigation into why the FAA and NORAD had presented inaccurate information in public, nor was that question clearly under the commission’s mandate.” (262)

I did not find this explanation at all convincing, particularly since Kean himself stated earlier in the book, “We had an exceedingly broad mandate.” (14) He went on to explain, “our inquiry would stretch across the entire U.S. government, and even into the private sector, in an attempt to understand an event that was unprecedented in the destruction it had wrought on the American homeland, and appalling even within the catalogue of human brutality.” (15)

Kean and Hamilton during the 9/11 Public Hearings of 2004

Kean and Hamilton during the 9/11 Public Hearings of 2004

Yet despite the unprecedented nature of this appalling crime, and the commission’s exceedingly broad mandate allowing it to pursue lines of inquiry across the entire U.S. government and even into the private sector to understand what had happened, the commission chose not to take the time to try and find out why they had been lied to by members of the FAA and NORAD, and why these same agencies had withheld physical evidence from the investigation.

By this time I no longer considered The 9/11 Commission Report a credible source of information for explaining the events of September 11, 2001. The commissioners had abrogated their responsibility to the American public and the world by not conducting a thorough investigation. There must have been a compelling reason to explain why they failed to do so. Unlike the Commission Chairman, however, I would not be content to leave this question as just one of the loose ends that never got tied.

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3 Responses to “Descent into the Maelstrom: 9/11 Part 2”

  1. Dorothy Kew Says:

    So, because of utter incompetence on the part of both government and private entities the 9/11 Commission and the powers that be decide to do a cover-up of sorts, rather than admit to their own negligence and failure to act! And what’s the result? It’s spawned an entire industry of conspiracy theories that blame the U.S. Government for 9/11 …. see the famous phrase: “9/11 was an inside job”. The most offensive one I’ve heard and still hear is that it was planned by the Israelis and that 3,000 Jews working in the twin towers didn’t show up to work that morning …. absolute crap and anti-Semitic to boot.

    But worse than the cover-up is the fact that the powers that be took advantage of the terrorist attack to launch the Iraq invasion, based on complete fabrication, with doctored evidence. Of course, there’s never been an inquiry into that, has there? And if there were, could we trust it? That’s the question!

  2. Guy Says:

    A cover-up to hide negligence within the American government by the 9/11 Commission may be what has happened, but not necessarily. To assume as much based on what I’ve discussed in my blog so far would be presumptuous – although not unreasonable – something “conspiracy theorists” are regularly accused of. Thus far, I only provide strong circumstantial evidence of a cover-up, the nature of which remains unqualified. The majority of the 10 member panel may actually have believed their official conclusions as written, regardless of the obstruction of the investigation by members of the FAA and NORAD. There is also no evidence that members of the Commission were in collusion to ensure the direction that the investigation took.

    In fact, one commissioner resigned eight months before the final report was completed, and called for a new inquiry into 9/11. There was at least one other dissenter within the Commission that I will also be discussing in the future.

    Were the members of the FAA and NORAD who were responsible for obstruction of justice during the investigation trying to cover up their own bureaucratic incompetence, or something more nefarious? On the surface it’s difficult to say, because the Commission did not make the effort to find out, at least publicly.

    As with a juror sitting in judgement during a court trial, we need to try and clear our minds of extraneous facts and influences while we approach the case as objectively as possible. However difficult, if we are to glean the truth, however obscure, we must avoid jumping to conclusions. Even if we harbour foregone conclusions, we have to backtrack and ask ourselves why we believe something, then try to justify that belief, giving our own evidence an honest hearing.

    Apparent obfuscation on the part of government authorities has indeed nurtured an “industry of conspiracy theories”. Suspicion of the government based on historic examples of proven corruption and lying has provided the foundation, however erroneous, for a myriad of 9/11 speculations. It has been a common mistake among researchers to jump to the conclusion that 9/11 was an “inside job” without assessing all of the available information. Consider also that the term “inside job” can mean many things to many people, just as the term “conspiracy theory” does. One conspiracy theory should not be judged by the merits, or demerits, of another.

    The 9/11 commission has provided the public with a conspiracy theory explaining what happened: nineteen terrorists funded by other terrorists conspired to attack targets of opportunity in the United States on September 11, 2001, because they don’t like America and its values, are envious of its wealth and success, and resent its influence throughout the world. This is a perfectly reasonable conspiracy theory.

    Other conspiracy theories are far less plausible, even ridiculous: Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks in order to provoke the United States into attacking the enemies of Israel.

    Then there are 9/11 conspiracy theories propounding varying degrees of American government involvement; before, during and/or after the events of September 11. Not all of these theories accuse President Bush of being a participant, for example, and not all accuse agents of the American government of engineering the attacks. Depending on what “facts” an observer has been exposed to, or what preconceptions they may harbour, one theory may seem more plausible than another. The sheer volume of information available makes the whole process of an objective assessment very problematic – and time consuming. Not many people are in a position to make that commitment, so it is very easy to resign oneself to making an educated guess as to what really happened, and so, again, rationalize what can’t be directly proven.

    If one were an advocate of an “inside job” conspiracy theory, for example, it could also be postulated that in an effort to obscure the truth of 9/11, a trail of misinformation and disinformation has been intentionally created, augmented by encouraging the lunatic fringe (who need very little encouragement) and so add bizarre commentary into the mix, thereby further insulating the truth from public scrutiny and discrediting the work of legitimate truth seekers. There is a historic precedent for such a belief in the documented history of both the CIA and FBI in their covert operations against foreign nationals and American citizens, but what real proof is there, circumstantial or otherwise?

    The Bush Administration’s response to the 9/11 attacks generates more suspicion, and generates more conspiracy theory fodder. For example, Colin Powell assured the public that the Administration had concrete proof that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, and that he would be presenting a “white paper” with the proof. He never did. Does that mean bin Laden was not responsible? Of course not. Nor does it explain the Bush Administration’s motivations or justifications for accusing bin Laden, particularly after bin Laden publicly denied involvement. The FBI has publicly stated that it possesses no proof connecting bin Laden with the attacks of 9/11. Why has the Bush Administration continued to insist that Osama bin Laden was involved, yet not provided evidence for this conviction to the public?

    What happened to the manhunt for Osama bin Laden?

    Was falsely accusing Osama bin Laden part of a conspiracy to inflame the American public into supporting a war against Afghanistan, just as “weapons of mass destruction” appears to have been the chimera we attacked in Iraq?

    Was George W. Bush manipulated by his advisors into believing that Iraq was an immediate threat to the United States? Or were his advisors manipulated by members of the CIA, NSA and DIA who had their own agenda, into believing Iraq was an immediate threat?

    Did “they” know 9/11 was going to happen, then let it happen to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the passing of unconstitutional laws which concentrate more power in the military and the office of the President? A lot of people are getting rich in the American military-industrial complex; was this also part of “the plan”?

    Was the attack on Iraq planned all along and was going to take place, even if 9/11 hadn’t?

    There are many, many questions to explore. As often as not, answering one question poses another…

  3. Russ Says:

    Hey Guy;I won`t beat around the “bush” with my response.Obviously President Bush and Dick Cheney had a lot to gain by promoting this war.Wether they created the spark(9-11 terrorist attack)or just reacted to it,they responded in the way that was most profitable to them and their lobbyists.The list of lobbyists obviously include the President`s father and Osama Bin Laden`s Dad as well.Both those prominent poppas sit on the board of the Carlysle Group.Companies they control manufacture weapons for the U.S.A.So there is a lot of conflicts of interest.It seems to me that there must have been a conspiracy somewhere along the line motivated by profits.

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