Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

9-11: Known Deceptions Raise Grave Concerns

Revelations the 9-11 Commission was aware, but refused to forward suspicion of, criminal activity to the FBI, raises substantial questions. Ref Ref Hat Tip: Feline, #23

Transcript ViaM

Discussion Via #28

Revisiting the 9-11 Issues: Ref

* * *

There was nothing stopping the individual members of the Commission from privately discussing with the FBI their concerns, and turning over evidence.

The failure to oversee, investigate, and impose sanctions -- for whatever reason [early in the President's term (in 2000-2002) time frame] -- sent the incorrect signal to others:

  • Incompetence, failure, and inefficiency will face no consequences

  • Misconduct, failing to cooperate with investigators will face no sanction

    It remains to be understood how the above trends then led to:

  • A. Arrogance over the Iraq planning

  • B. A sense with the bureaucracy and Congress that "obvious problems" will not get a review

  • C. A sense within government that "the American people can have the wool pulled over their eyes, we can get away with it, and nothing will happen"

    The ineffectiveness of the 9-11 Commission in taking appropriate action on this evidence of misconduct raises questions not only about the 9-11 investigation, but the integrity of the Commissioners themselves:

  • 1. Did we get the straight story?

  • 2. How much other information are they holding back?

  • 3. As they've been touring the country, knowing this information, how have they reconciled in their minds [a] the patterns of abuse/incompetence they suspected; with [b] the apparent arrogance DoJ shows toward Congress over the FISA violations.

    * * *

    US officials were willing to lie about 9-11. They did this to avoid consequences.

    - Why should we believe Hayden was going to do anything different over matters of the NSA and FISA compliance?

    - Why should we believe the statements about anything: Iraq, combat readiness, real reasons for war on terror, other evidence of war crimes and impeachable offenses; and what else is known, but being suppressed?
    - The President has made similar misstatements about the NSA activity. Why isn't the Congress and media just as inclined, as the 9-11 Commissioners want us to believe they are now, to forwarding this information to criminal investigators?

    - How is the information of misconduct within DoD and other branches/agencies of the US government being factored into whether specific individuals are or are not eligible for promotion awards, membership in associations, and findings that they are or are not members of good standing in various DoD-related associations [Professional associations that military and civilian personnel in DoD are associated with, attend conferences, and later work with when they depart DoD?]

    - What contractor-related fraud issues are involved: NORAD doesn't create things on its own; it relies on military contractors to create the hardware and software. Contractors are also required to comply with weapon system specifications and various performance criteria. Before the government accepts this material, the equipment has to go through (supposedly) rigors independent testing. How is the DoD Independent Verification and Validation process being reviewed in light of [a] NORAD's failure to do what IV&V certified could be done; vs. [b] what we now know occurred? How have the contract-related defects been resolved; and when were the Joint Staff and Members of Congress in the Armed Services Committees informed of these problems and resolution plans? [Need Budgeting BPAC numbers for the budget codes within the Strategic Command and then-Space Command to find out the specific contractors in the Descriptive Summaries who were involved in the facility upgrades; and where these officers are now assigned or are retired for purposes of issuing subpoenas.]

    - They’ve lied about what happened. How is this "big revelation" factored into the Securities and Exchange Commission assessment of the "self reports" from the Chicago Board of Options Exchange: Did the SEC reconsider the initial statements; DoD has lied, why wouldn't CBOE traders also lie?

    - Where is the truth actually documented; and who's had access to this info; how long have they know or suspected the 9-11 Commission has been lied to; what was their plan to provide this concern to the FBI?

    - What efforts is there to take this misleading conduct into account (for purposes of impeaching witnesses during trial) when the courts make adverse inferences, per Federal Rules of Evidence?

    - We keep having a problem of unreliable information from DoD: NORAD, GTMO. Ref This is a leadership problem, especially when the Former Chief of Staff General Jumpers is under investigation over alleged Thunderbird Maintenance Contract Fraud, and the Dryuan Scandal (Boeing Tanker issue). Looks like DoD has a problem with the pond scum sitting on the surface too long. Anyone have any ideas on how the DoD Inspector General Investigators (apparently too lazy to review these matters on their own) should be (figuratively, not actually) kicked in the rear end?

    - They lied about 9-11. Why should we believe the story on Rendition?

    - They lied about 9-11: Why should we believe the RNC denials about domestic surveillance, or pre-textual stops, or harassment of demonstrators in NYC?

    - They lied under oath to the 9-11 Commission. Nothing was done. Do the Grand Juries do the same thing; if not, why didn't the 9-11 Commission do what we might expect of a Grand Jury: Forward evidence for action and resolution?

    - They lied about 9-11: How many other departments also lied -- Why should we believe their stories about the domestic threat, terrorism, or what the FBI really was doing prior to 9-11?

    - DoD thought they could get away with things. Who else thought they could get away with things related to 9-11: FBI, DoJ. Was the Commission reluctant to provide info to DoJ because the Commission suspected the FBI and DoJ were also lying, and would take no action to target their own, as is the case with the DoJ Staff Attorney misconduct and alleged war crimes?

    * * *

    I'm all for examining the 9-11 Commissioners individually, especially people like Gorelick who are attorneys, have access to legal resources, and should have known that they had a duty to report misconduct -- especially possible misconduct by the Judge Advocate Generals and other ABA-affiliated peers.

    Moreover, when the military has a high profile investigation, but not sanctions, this leads to a sense of arrogance:

  • A. That they can conduct operations or fail to do what is required, without consequences [relating back to contracting fraud, WMD lies, and the Iraq 2002 planning]

  • B. Creates a sense of entitlement that they can do other things without sanctions, and fuels resentment toward the law and public officials creating a (false) sense in the mind of the military and bureaucracy that they are not accountable

  • C. That the failed planning and response (for whatever reason) will not face a sanction, thereby contributing to a sense of acquiescence to the incompetent leadership that would have otherwise been sanctioned-investigated had the criminal referrals been made.

    * * *

    IT remains to be understood:

  • How did the 9-11 Commission failure to forward (apparently) well known evidence of problems about problems in the Military, fuel a sense of imperial immunity within DoD to issues related to the law, Geneva, and other requirements that would otherwise have been investigated, but the military assumed (rightly or wrongly) would not face sanction.

  • How did the failure to reporting misconduct (and the subsequent vacuum of accountability) fuel a sense of hopelessness within the lower ranks of the military, and contribute to their sense of "there's nothing that can be done" as evidence of war crimes, Geneva volitions, and illegal Iraq war planning continued.

  • Putting aside the issue of what the 9-11 commission did or didn't do, and focusing on the central issue of what the military knew or should have known [peers in the military were engaged in misconduct, malfeasance], how did the military leadership handle subsequent reports of similar misconduct

  • A climate of abuse and malfeasance is not a single incident; it's reasonable to expect the 9-11 related misconduct to have continued. The question is how did others (unrelated to 9-11 investigations) handle the information and trends as they surfaced. Were they similarly not referred?

  • In the vacuum of 9-11 commission inaction, what other indicators of abuse, incompetence, and misstatements (that were not sanctioned, thereby given a green light to continue) were other investigators aware, but failed to act on?

    * * *

  • What really got in the way of making the referrals?

  • Regardless what Secretary Lehman said or didn't say, how did the other 9-11 investigators, staff, and Commissioners resolve [a] what they promised to do; with [b[b] what actually happened

  • What plans does the ABA have to review the misconduct by their peers within the JAGS: Is there a deeper pattern of "knowing things, but not taking action" that is entrenched?

  • Putting aside that nothing has been done, what's the plan to provide the evidence now and have it reviewed?

  • We've been told that certain people were related to the events: Those we attacked in Afghanistan. The military was apparently misleading the commission, and it is reasonable to conclude that others were also misleading the public. What is to be said of the assurances by the military, NSA, and others in the intelligence community of "who really did this"?

  • When someone lies, they have a motivation. But there are also consequences in terms of "how that lie is permitted to take on a mythology". How much of the current "war on terror" is linked with information that the same people who lied to the 9-11 commission also know is not true?

  • Where is there a transcript of the Secret 2004 meeting the 9-11 Commissioners had?

  • It's one thing to promise to do a job; quite another to find those we've placed special trust may have similarly engaged in misconduct or lied to Congress. The 9-11 Commission was a federally funded effort with an obligation to truthfully report their findings. The Commission has apparently lied to Congress, and not as they promised or asserted in writing, that the findings were complete, accurate, fair, or independent. What kind of criminal review of the 9-11 Commissioners should be done, not simply talked about?

  • The 9-11 Commissioners are not trained criminal investigators. They are for the most part bureaucrats, and policy makers. It does not appear they were sufficiently competent to assess the narrow or broad implications of the issues they did not review, nor refer. Thus, it's not reasonable to accept their narrow definition of what the implications of the evidence may or may not be. Rather, it's more likely that the implications are much deeper and broader; but this is only something that a Grand Jury can asses along with the assistance of the public, media, and oversight by Members of Congress and the Judicial Branch. Why should we believe the current contentions that the implications of the e-mail are or are not narrowly construed?

  • It is a question of malfeasance when public officials with a special access to secret information (hello, same thing as Roberts WMD report) know of something, but refuse to take timely action. It is troubling that these facts are now surfacing, and it's reasonable to as (as with the NYT-NSA issue) why this information was not revealed in 2004. What type of gag order was the 9-11 Commission under; and how does this gag order or apparent restraint on questions, investigation, and review compare with the gag order the White House placed on the Judiciary Committees over issues related to FISA, NSA, and the Alito-Roberts investigations? [See Senator Kennedy's recent editorial discussing the limits of his questions.]

  • Who on the Senate and House Committees knew of these concerns that the 9-11 Commissioners had?

  • DoJ OPR is the agency within DoJ that receives complaints of attorney or DoJ Staff misconduct. Given the 9-11 Commissioner concerns with apparently misstatements, it's reasonable to presume that the DoJ OPR ha already been aware of, and has reports of similar misconduct. How does the DoJ OPR plan to respond to these revelations; and does the President and Attorney General plan to block (as they did with the NSA issues) efforts by DoJ OPR to follow-up on these matters?

  • FBI officials are known to review public press reports. The Media is not considered an absolute reliable source for purposes of conviction, but media reports are the basis (in some cases) for the US Attorney, DoJ Staff and FBI to open an investigation. It would be curious to see how the FBI, in light of these reports, now takes action; and to what extent this information then funnels into a Grand Jury inquiry.

  • It does not matter, and it is not the place of the commissioners to speculate, why the personnel and witnesses lied. Rather, it was the job of the Commission to gather facts. The facts also include the "factual conclusion" that the witnesses were not truthful. How were these conclusions introduced into the report as "adverse inferences"; and upon believe that there were lies, what was the duty of the Commissioners to report this lying?

  • Were those who (apparently) lied sworn and under oath; and did the President and Vice President refuse to be placed under oath because they knew they would have to lie in order to match the stories of other officials who they knew the 9-11 Commission was aware of deception, but no action was taken?

  • Given what we know of the apparent lying, which officials who testified would object to being placed under oath and testifying to the facts?

  • What types of gag orders or other threats have been imposed on officials to testify?

  • Given the commission believes there were lies, with the passage of time, the chance of inconsistencies rises. What plan is there for the public to independently fact-check each statement with the specific witnesses and then report inconsistencies in the open media, blogosphere, and then report those out of court (admissible) inconsistencies to federal officials and grand jury?

  • A pattern of deception, misstatements, and other misconduct is not isolated. The media has been well placed to review these matters. Is this pattern of misconduct and the knowledge of that misconduct something the media has been sitting on; and what has been the reason for various media players to not report in 2004 the concerns from the 9-11 Commission?

  • If the Commissioners were concerned with this pattern, what effort did they take to assert their 5 USC 3331 obligation to do what they promised to do: Turn the information over to professionals; how were their concerns documented; and how many others in the FBI and auditing community know of these concerns; to what extent has the Government Accounting/Auditing professionals been increasing audit scope per SAS99?

  • IF NORAD officials have lied, then those officials after lying have been transferred/promoted, and have received other jobs within DoD. What's the plan of the DoD Inspector General to find these people, put them under surveillance, and see if there is a systemic problem within the Flag Officer ranks to support violations of the law, misleading statements to the Commission, or provide incorrect statements to fact finders despite being under oath?

  • What's the plan to "red line" [stop military officials from being considered for promotion, attend schools, or enjoy TDY discretionary travel privileges] those in the DoD and other government agencies?

  • The Senior Executive Service must testify before the Senate before they are appointed to positions. What plan does the Senate Judiciary and other Senate oversight committees -- related to Presidential appointments -- have to review the testimony of those who [a] appeared before the 9-11 commission; and [b] subsequently appeared for Senate confirmation; when does the Senate plan to complete this assessment, and provide a full report to the voters before the November 2006 election?

  • The Congressional leadership appears to be in a position to know of the misconduct. It remains unclear how the 9-11 Commissioners have or have not shared these results with the Congressional leadership. There has been no leadership within Congress to follow-up on these matters. When did Congressional leaders learn of this problem with untruthful statements, and how did this pattern of misconduct factor into the Member of Congress assessments of the Iraq WMD data; the statements about the veracity of CIA reports on WMD; and other information Members of Congress were getting?

  • DoD Inspector Generals can have their reviews shut down by DoD Agency heads and the President for "national security reasons." However, the ORCON rules state that information cannot be classified if it is illegal. What steps did the DoD IG take to transfer their information to the FBI once it was known to the DoD IG that the DoD would not cooperate with the reviews?

  • How much of the 9-11 Report has to be reconsidered?

  • How much of what Congress has been "cooperating with the Executive with" [NSA, FISA, DHS warrantless interrogations, rendition, GTMO abuse, Iraq war crimes, and other illegal activity] is premised on a host of lies which the 9-11 Commission well knew?

  • TO what extent have the National Intelligence Estimates [NIE] been couched in terms of the misleading myths presented before the 9-11 Commission?

  • The US Congress has recently found that all combat-ready troops have been deployed and the remaining forces are non-existent, non combat ready, and there are no reserve forces. What is the Joint Staff position on this finding; and why should we believe the Joint Staff assessments that there is "no concern" given they've apparently lied on other matters while under oath?

  • What information does GCHQ and the foreign media have about these revelations, and initial discussions; what information do foreign embassies have of the known discussions and intercepts they have made on this subject; would the foreign media and foreign diplomatic agencies at the UN be under increased pressure to focus on another diversion so they cannot discuss these matter?

  • To what extent did foreign media-embassy knowledge of the 9-11-related misconduct lead to their refusal to believe the United States officials' Iraq WMD-claims;

  • Knowing that the embassies could not comment on their knowledge of the illegal activity, fraud, and other misstatements to the 9-11 commission). Did the US officials, (rely on their likely non-inclination to release their findings, thereby ensuring the US would march into Iraq on the basis of non-sense information?

  • Was the foreign resistance to cooperate with the US based not only on the suspected deceptions about WMD, but the known-deeper pattern of misstatements by administration officials?

  • What information do other governments have about the pattern of abuse, misconduct, and misstatements to investigators?

  • The 9-11 Commission "compromised": They did not turn over information to criminal investigators but the IG. The thinking within the IG is reasonable expected to the same: Find other reason to compromise. It is reasonable to conclude the IGs did not turn the information over to the FBI, but assented to Agency head review that the matters were over and complete. What effort is being made to review the IG knowledge of the misconduct, and whether the IGs have adequately complied with their Constitutional mandates and legal obligations to timely report to Congress urgent matters; how were these documented to Members of Congress; and when the Agency Heads refused to permit the IGs to review the matters, how were Members of Congress briefed or made aware of this misconduct by the DoD IG?

  • Title 50 of the US Code outlines a mandatory reporting requirement on POTUS to report illegal NSA activity. NORAD and NSA closely cooperate on sharing information through the Joint Staff. Given the revelations of FISA violations and now the apparent misstatements before the 9-11 Commission, what efforts have been made by Congress, DoJ Attorney General, DoJ OPR, DoJ/DoD/NSA/CIA IG to review the apparent growing body of evidence that the Title 50 violations have not been reported, as required, to Congress?

  • The DoD personnel have said a report is going to be issued soon. What assurances does the DoD have that this report will be accurate, complete, and something the public can rely on?

  • DoD Auditors have been known to destroy audit working papers. FAA officials have destroyed transcripts and tapes. Why should we believe the conclusions of the DOD IG that the problems were with "record accuracy"?

  • FAA is required to complete timely reports of aircraft crashes. Preliminary reporters are due within a matter of hours; and a NTSB reports are official filings and public documents. Delays in providing information by NTSB and Transpiration amount to violations of the US Code and obligations of the investigators to comply with their charger. Transportation says that their report (from 2002) is still incomplete (in 2006). What plan is there of Members of Congress to review the unacceptable delay?

  • Officials have apparently lied to create a false impression of US combat response capabilities. Fighter response is critical in assessing operational combat capability. How were the errors and false statements incorporated into less that credible Air Force planning assumptions; and how were these clear "failure to comply with operational requirements and reports to the Joint Staff" either ignored, not corrected, or otherwise swept under the rug when issuing assessments to members of Congress on the effectiveness of the get-well plans in response to 9-11? Why should we believe the Joint Staff assessments of what USAF combat patrols can or cannot do; what effort was made to ensure that the advertised combat-response capability was real, and not something that essentially duplicated the non-response of Pearl Harbor?

  • NSA was designed, in part, to deal with the problems of Pearl Harbor: A failure to assess information. 9-11 happened. Now we find that the military officials, otherwise responsible for performing a job of addressing what failed at Pearl Harbor, have lied. How was the NSA-DoD response to the events of 9-11 been tainted by the fact that Members of Congress (apparently) have not been told of the real problem, and are in no position to ensure there is sufficient funding to ensure that the Air Force and Joint Staff are actually supported to do what they have been given the job to do?

  • Refusing to go after bureaucrats because they mislead seems absurd. The DoD has turned things around and is going after reporters who are reporting on misleading statements and failures. How does the DoD and 9-11 Commission resolve in their minds the disconnect between [a] their failure to follow-up on misleading statements; but [b] the arrogance of DoD to target reporters for discussing facts?