Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001
The Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 is the official name of the inquiry conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence into the activities of the U.S. Intelligence Community in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks. The investigation began in February 2002 and the final report was released in December 2002.
Calls for inquiry
The White House, Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and Representative Porter Goss (R-Fla.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, originally rebuffed calls for an inquiry following the September 11 attacks. After December 2001, initial resolutions in the Senate called for the establishment of an independent bipartisan commission. The Joint Inquiry was announced February 14, 2002 with Senator Graham saying it would not play "the blame game about what went wrong from an intelligence perspective", and Representative Goss saying, "This particular effort focuses on the broader issues of terrorism worldwide, our capacity to counter terrorist activities and our preparedness to protect the American people at home and abroad."
Senator Graham and Representative Goss, accompanied by their respective committee ranking minority members, Republican Senator Richard C. Shelby and Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi, led the joint inquiry. L. Britt Snider, the former inspector general of the CIA, was staff director. He hired a 30-person investigative staff to gather evidence and interview Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
However, the committee quickly ran into stonewalling, delays and attacks from Vice President Dick Cheney and United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, especially after an alleged leak from the committee. CNN had reported classified information that the National Security Agency had received warning of the attacks on September 10th but failed to translate and forward them. Staff director L. Britt Snider was pressured to resign in April 2002 because of questions about whether one or more of his hires had lacked proper clearance to view classified material.
The Washington Post reported in May 2002 that Senator Goss dismissed as "a lot of nonsense" reports that five weeks before the attacks a CIA briefing had alerted President Bush about possible Osama bin Laden associates' plans to highjack aircraft; he said the investigation focus would be on why the United State intelligence bureaucracy composed of 13 agencies failed to detect the hijackers. Senator Graham said the question was why wasn't the intelligence precise. Critics on and off of Capitol Hill complained that Goss was too aligned with the CIA and Graham was insufficiently assertive.
In August 2002 unnamed individuals who had read the report revealed it contained accusations of links between the government of Saudi Arabia and the attacks. The Saudis denied this and asked that the section be made public, but President Bush refused. In December 2002 Senator Graham himself revealed in a PBS interview that "I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States."
The joint inquiry released their findings in December 2002. The 832 page report (available as both S. Rept. 107-351 and H. Rept. 107-792) presents the joint inquiry’s findings and conclusions, an accompanying narrative, and a series of recommendations. The critical and comprehensive report detailed failings of the FBI and CIA to use available information, including about terrorists the CIA knew were in the United States, in order to disrupt the plots.
The 28 Pages refer to a small section at the end of the inquiry commission report on the 9/11 attacks which includes the details of foreign state sponsor support for Al-Qaeda prior to the attack and "the possible Saudi connection with the terrorists." This part of the congressional report was classified by George W. Bush administration. Since then, attempts were made to declassify the redacted pages by senators and political activists, among them former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the co-chairman of the joint congressional panel, Bob Graham. United States' intelligence agencies declassified the pages, and Congress publicly released the pages with some parts redacted on July 15, 2016.
September 11th victim families were frustrated by the unanswered questions and redacted material and demanded an independent commission. In late 2002 President Bush and congress established the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, an independent bipartisan commission popularly known as the "9/11 Commission".
In 2004 Senator Graham released his book Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America's War on Terror which dealt with issues raised by the investigation. In April 2016, both co-chairmen of the Inquiry, Bob Graham and Porter Goss, later director of the CIA, as well as other former U.S. officials, who are familiar with the entire text of the Joint Inquiry′s report, aired their belief that the U.S. government was persisting in its coverup on the Saudi Arabian government officials′ substantial aid provided to the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack and urged the Obama administration to declassify the bowdlerized pages of the report. A bipartisan effort led by Walter Jones and Stephen Lynch seeks to make the document fully available to the public. Questions are likely to persist even if the "28 pages" are released.
In 2015, efforts began in the U.S. Senate to pass a bill that would allow victims to sue foreign powers that fund terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda, to kill Americans on American soil. This bill became law on September 28, 2016 as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.
- Patrick Martin (6 March 2002). "Further delay in US congressional investigation into September 11 attacks". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- Press Release of Intelligence Committee, Senate and House Intelligence Committees Announce Joint Inquiry into the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, February 14, 2002.
- Greg Miller, Leader of 9/11 Probe Resigns Suddenly, Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2002.
- Athan G. Theoharis, editor, The Central Intelligence Agency: Security Under Scrutiny, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 222-224, 2006, ISBN 0313332827
- Richard Leiby, A Cloak But No Dagger; An Ex-Spy Says He Seeks Solutions, Not Scapegoats for 9/11, Washington Post, May 18, 2002.
- James Risen and David Johnston, Report on 9/11 Suggests a Role By Saudi Spies, Washington Post, August 2, 2003.
- Improving Intelligence, PBS interview with Sen. Bob Graham, December 11, 2002.
- The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (December 2002). "Report of the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-04-18.
- DePetris, Daniel R. "The 28 Pages: What's Taking So Long?". The National Interest. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Porter, Gareth (27 April 2016). "The Classified 9/11 '28 Pages': A Diversion from Real US-Saudi Issues". Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- Demirjian, Karoun (15 July 2016). "Congress releases long-classified '28 pages' on alleged Saudi ties to 9/11". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- "Investigating Sept. 11". NewsHour. PBS. November 27, 2002. Archived from the original on February 20, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
- Bob Graham, with Jeff Nussbaum, Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America's War on Terror, Random House], 2004, ISBN 1588364526
- Interview: Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, discusses his theory about a Saudi link to 9/11, NPR, September 9, 2004.
- "28 Pages: Former Sen. Bob Graham and others urge the Obama administration to declassify redacted pages of a report that holds 9/11 secrets". CBS. April 10, 2016.
- Rachael Revesz (April 12, 2016). "Barack Obama urged to declassify report detailing links between 9/11 and Saudi Arabia". The Independent.
- Top secret "28 pages" may hold clues about Saudi support for 9/11 hijackers
- "A Saudi Imam, 2 Hijackers and Lingering 9/11 Mystery". Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane. NYT. June 17, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
- "SCHUMER, CORNYN ANNOUNCE 'JUSTICE AGAINST SPONSORS OF TERRORISM ACT' – LEGISLATION, LONG SOUGHT BY 9/11 FAMILIES, WILL ALLOW VICTIMS OF 9/11 & OTHER TERRORIST ACTS TO SUE FOREIGN COUNTRIES & OTHERS THAT FUNDED AL QAEDA, ISIS". September 17, 2015.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (September 28, 2016). "Congress Votes to Override Obama Veto on 9/11 Victims Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
- S. Hrg. 107–1086, Volume 1. Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. Hearings before the Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. Senate and the Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, House of Representatives; Volume I, September 18, 19, 20, 24, and 26, 2002
- S. Hrg. 107–1086, Volume 2. Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. Hearings before the Select Committee on Intelligence U.S. Senate and the Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, House of Representatives, Volume II, October 1, 3, 8, and 17, 2002
- S. Rept. No. 107-351, 107th Congress, 2d Session; H. Rept. No. 107-792. Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. Report of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Together with Additional Views, December 2002.