If the Justice Department and the CIA want to put suspicions to bed, then they should stop behaving as if they are part of a cover-up.
This news attached below from the LA Times only makes a murky process murkier as this report comes on the heels of Snider's resignation a week ago and the revelations of the FBI's utter failure to heed legitimate warning by agents in the field re. Arabs (including one of the 19) training to fly in Arizona reported last week!
Senators, Representatives and Staffers: I hope you will ask hard questions (and follow-ups) of Dir. Tenet and send the appropriate messages to AG Ashcroft. I understand Tenet may be at a hearing with the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Media: There is compelling evidence of prior warnings and prior knowledge. No one as far as I know has been held accountable for the worst intelligence failure in history. Now it appears cover-up, delaying tactics and lack of cooperation are the order of the day in order to be sure this investigation goes nowhere.
It appears there are those on the Intelligence committee who are not content with sweeping things under the rug and looking the other way.
I hope the media does its job and reports on the growing evidence of an attempted whitewash of prior warnings and likely prior knowledge of the attacks of Sept. 11
Colleagues, friends, and investigators: In my view now is a good time to once again intensify our efforts to put the pressure on our representatives in Congress to be sure key people see the key documents that support the case the public has not been told the whole truth re. 9-11.
Please look for a compendium of the best researchers, web sites sources, unanswered questions, etc. to follow in a future email on this issue.
Kyle F. Hence
Lawmakers leading the investigation of intelligence agencies' failures surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are increasingly concerned that tactics by the CIA and the Justice Department are actively impeding their efforts, congressional sources said Friday.
Members of the Senate and House intelligence committees are so frustrated with the tactics, sources said, that they intend to complain directly to CIA Director George J. Tenet and Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft.
Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declined to discuss the committee's concerns with the CIA and the FBI in detail but said: "There are problems we are going to have to address." The flare-up centers on obstacles congressional investigators say the agencies have strewn in their path. The CIA, for example, has refused to allow investigators to send their contact information to agency employees by e-mail to make it easier for the employees to volunteer information, congressional sources familiar with the investigation said.
At the Justice Department, the intelligence committees' requests for records take weeks to wind their way through the department's bureaucracy and sometimes are simply not acted upon, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
The perceived heel-dragging has bogged down an inquiry that already was sidetracked last week by the resignation of its lead investigator. Congressional investigators are under pressure to complete their work before ranking Intelligence Committee members' terms expire at the end of the year.
"There's no time to waste," one source said, adding that the targets of the inquiry seem intent on exploiting that deadline. Although the agencies have cooperated somewhat, he said, their recent tactics are a significant impediment.
CIA officials flatly rejected the suggestion that they are less than cooperative. "The CIA has provided extraordinary support to the investigation staff," CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said. "We have provided thousands of pages of documents, facilitated numerous interviews, housed members of their staff in our headquarters and provided briefings on counterterrorism, all while fighting a war.
"We have had 15 members of the agency staff working full time since before there was a congressional investigation collecting material to aid their efforts."
Justice Department officials also brushed aside investigators' complaints. "The attorney general has worked cooperatively with Congress on all matters related to Sept. 11 and will continue to do so," said Barbara Comstock, director of public affairs.
Members of the intelligence committees discussed the perceived lack of cooperation in meetings this week. Describing the mood among members, one aide said, "You have to use the word 'angst.'"
By Friday, the ranking members of the committees had agreed to take the issue directly to the heads of the CIA and the Justice Department. Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Shelby, and Reps. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) were going to request meetings.
A CIA official, who asked not to be identified, said he was unaware of any planned meetings: "I can tell you that none of the leadership of these committees have called Director Tenet to advise him of any unhappiness."
The friction underscores the stakes of an investigation that could yield embarrassing details about what the nation's $30-billion intelligence community knew or didn't know leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The congressional probe was launched in February. It aims to determine whether the terrorist attacks could have been prevented, and to consider ways to improve the nation's intelligence capabilities.
Sources close to the investigation said they recently obtained documents indicating that an FBI agent in Arizona had warned headquarters concerning his suspicions about Arabs training at area aviation schools months before the attacks.
Small teams of investigators have been based at the Justice Department and the CIA, gathering documents and conducting interviews. They have come back with a litany of complaints about tactics they say are designed to slow their progress and restrict their access to documents and potential informants, sources said.
All interviews with agency employees are supervised by CIA officials who have prevented investigators even from collecting business cards or phone numbers from interview subjects, sources said.
The CIA official said employees have been urged to cooperate with the probe and that a notice listing investigators' contact information is scheduled to be distributed next week.
Investigators also complain that they have been stationed in a location at the agency where employees cannot get to their offices without passing by, and probably attracting the notice of, the CIA's congressional affairs staff.
"In a sense, they've put a wall up so no one can get to the investigators," a congressional source said.
The CIA official acknowledged that investigators were placed near the agency's congressional affairs office but said that was to assist the investigators.
Investigators also say their requests for certain documents have been rebuffed, often by agency employees who explain that they first need clearance from all other spy agencies that contributed material to the documents.
And when investigators do get to view documents, sources said, it has been only under the supervision of CIA staffers.
Former CIA officials say that they would be surprised if the agency were intentionally hindering the investigation and that much of the tension might be because of legitimate security concerns.
"In my experience, I have been absolutely astonished at the amount of detail the intelligence community and the CIA in particular give the Congress," said Jeffrey Smith, a former general counsel for the CIA.
He said the only exceptions tend to be when there is a need to protect sensitive information.
As for the intelligence agency refusing to circulate investigators' contact information, Smith said, partly in jest: "Frankly, anybody at CIA who wants to leak to the committee who can't figure out how to do it" probably shouldn't be working there.
Copyright © LA Times 2002. Reprinted for fair use only
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MIL205A.html
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