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December 11, 2002

Two senators discuss the 9/11 report examining the failure of intelligence agencies to prevent the terrorist attacks.


 Lehrer Hour, 11 December /décembre 2002.
 globalresearch.ca ,    18 December/ décembre 2002

Senators Bob Graham and Richard Shelby acknowledge in a December 12 PBS interview State:

"...there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing -- although that was part of it -- by a sovereign foreign government..."

The foreign government referred to by Senator Graham is Pakistan. Documented by an FBI report published in late September 2001, and other reports Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI) played a role in channelling money to the terrorists.

Now if indeed Pakistan was behind the terrorists, why is this information being withheld? What do Members of Congress and Senior Bush Administration officials have to hide?


(Scroll down for relevant excerpts of this transcript, which are indicated below the excerpt of the ABC Sept 30 2001 story revealing the role of Pakistan in the 9/11 attacks.)


The excerpt of the FBI report released to ABC News on September 30, 2001, which suggests state sponsorship in the financing of the 9/11 terrorists:

SHOW: This Week (10:30 AM ET) - ABC

September 30, 2001 Sunday

HEADLINE: General Shelton talks about bin Laden; Prince Bandar discusses his political position; King Zahir Shah willing to rule lead Afghanistan again; division between State Department and Defense Department



BODY: Announcer: From ABC News, THIS WEEK with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.



DONALDSON: Well, united in the hunt for the terrorists, which continues this weekend on two fronts. Our chief investigative reporter Brian Ross has the latest on the FBI's investigation.

Brian, what's new?

BRIAN ROSS reporting:

Well, good morning, Sam.

The investigation is divided into two areas, what happened on September 11th and what might happen next. And that's getting, by far, the most attention. Of greatest concern terror strikes that may be planned or already under way, including, ABC News has been told, intelligence information that American tourists overseas, particularly in Asia, could be targeted for kidnappings or assassinations. As to September 11th, federal authorities have told ABC News they have now tracked more than $100,000 from banks in Pakistan, to two banks in Florida, to accounts held by suspected hijack ring leader Mohamed Atta. As well this morning, Time magazine is reporting that some of that money came in the days just before the attack and can be traced directly to people connected to Osama bin Laden. It's all part of what has been a successful FBI effort so far to close in on the hijacker's high commander, the money men, the planners and the mastermind. Sam:

DONALDSON: Thank you, Brian. Brian Ross.


The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

December 11, 2002, Wednesday Transcript #7518

HEADLINE: Dangerous Cargo; Rescue Mission; Improving Intelligence


 JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. On the NewsHour tonight: A summary of the news; the latest on Yemen's North Korean Scud missiles; a report on the effort to reform the public schools of Philadelphia; and Senators Graham and Shelby on today's Congressional findings about pre-9/11 intelligence problems.


GWEN IFILL: Are you suggesting that you are convinced that there was a state sponsor behind 9/11?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing -- although that was part of it -- by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down, make the further case, or find the evidence that would indicate that that is not true and we can look for other reasons why the terrorists were able to function so effectively in the United States.

GWEN IFILL: Do you think that will ever become public, which countries you're talking about?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: It will become public at some point when it's turned over to the archives, but that's 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it's relevant to the threat that the people of the United States are facing today.

Accountability for failures GWEN IFILL: Senator Shelby let's talk about accountability. You have been quoted on more than one occasion and again today talking about the CIA, George Tenet, the director of Central Intelligence - saying that more massive failures occurred on his watch than any CIA director in history. Do you think he should resign?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY: Well, I have spoken on that before. I would like him to resign. Whether he stays there is up to President Bush. He works with the president; he was not appointed by this president. I personally like George Tenet. I think he has a lot of good attributes and in some areas he's done a good job, but he has not even tried to manage the community.

But there are a lot of other people that ought to be held accountable. Look at the former director of the CIA -- John Deutch -- on his watch a lot things did happen that shouldn't have happened. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh; he has got some accountability there. We can go on and on and I believe people should be accountable for their actions or inactions.

GWEN IFILL: You call Louis Freeh's tenure at the FBI catastrophic I think is the word you used.

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY: If you look back and you examine it, despite all of us liking Louis Freeh, it was not the best -- finest hour of FBI

GWEN IFILL: The White House spokesman was asked today about your comments and his response was basically that you are a one-man minority opinion and appeared to brush off your one-man minority opinion.

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY: Well, I think whoever said that didn't know what they are talking about. And secondly, if you see the report and if we release and I hope we will declassify all of the information, you're going to see that it's a majority opinion.

GWEN IFILL: That was Ari Fleischer, the president's spokesman, who said that.


The Kissinger Commission GWEN IFILL: Senator Graham, whose job is it to assign responsibility in this case -- if indeed there are people's whose heads should roll, people who should be held responsible for failures that led up to 9/11? Should it be your job as the head of committee or the president's job, should it be a new commission? Who should be doing this?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: Well, it is essentially an executive responsibility. The president should review the performance of those persons who he appointed within the agencies. There should be a process to evaluate how well middle management personnel function.

We have placed the responsibility to make that inquiry on the inspector generals within each office. It happened that Eleanor Hill, who is our staff director, served for several years as the inspector general for the Department of Defense. And she is well aware of their capabilities and their responsibilities to make those kinds of judgments.

We then call for the inspector general's report to not only be submitted to the head of agency but to the president of the United States and to the Congress so that we can all be assured that a full review was conducted and the appropriate sanctions or recognition and reward for exemplary performance was dispensed.

GWEN IFILL: Senator Graham, in pulling altogether the disparate pieces of this report, do you feel that you got the cooperation you needed either from the CIA, the FBI, the White House or the Department of Defense that you just alluded to?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: I do not believe we got the full cooperation that we needed. As an example, as of today there are 13 requests outstanding with the FBI alone for additional information which would help us follow the trail -- including the trail of foreign government involvement.

That agency and others have been reticent to come forward. Frequently we didn't know what witnesses were going to be available until a matter of a few hours before the hearing, which restricted our ability to be as fully engaged in interrogating the witnesses as we would have liked to have been.

There's going to be a follow up commission under Dr. Kissinger appointed by the President and we're going to give him everything we developed including the trails that we will recommend they pursue and follow.

GWEN IFILL: Senator Shelby, picking up where you leave off here as Senator Graham just alluded, the Kissinger Commission -- Senator George Mitchell just announced today he's stepping down from that commission and former Congressman Lee Hamilton is stepping into the job.

Do you think that they'll face more significant hurdles than you did in trying to get this information on the record, declassified in the public eye or do you think you've made their job easier?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY: We hope we've made their job somewhat easier but they'll face many challenges. When you're investigating a community such as the intelligence community, and immigration and everything that goes with it. There are going to be a lot of people that resist this investigation. There's not going to be cooperation like you would think.

But they've got their work cut out for them. We wish them well. They have got some able people there. And I think Lee Hamilton coming on to the commission in place of George Mitchell that's going to be a plus. George Mitchell is very able but he had some conflicts, acknowledged them, decided to resign from the commission.

GWEN IFILL: Do you think this commission, it will be conflict free now with Henry Kissinger as its chairman?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY: Well, I think Dr. Kissinger brings a lot of prestige, a lot of experience to the commission but I believe at the end of day the commission is going to be balanced and they're going to put what is in the interest of this nation first. They have to do it. Otherwise it will be a sham commission.

GWEN IFILL: Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Bob Graham, thank you for joining us.

 Copyright ABC, 2001 PBS 2002.  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .

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