Rep. Adam Schiff recently announced that he would be drafting a bill to create a “9/11-style commission” to investigate the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Considering how absolutely corrupt and compromised the 9/11 Commission was, it should never serve as a model for any investigation.
As I wrote in my article, “The Facts Speak For Themselves,” a different kind of praise for the 9/11 Report has come in the form of requests for “9/11-Type Commissions” following other horrible events in America’s history, such as [Hurricane] Katrina and the recent 2008 financial crisis. It’s precisely this type of “praise” that enables Rep. Schiff to promote a similar type of commission.
The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results, and the 9/11 Commission was both corrupt and compromised. The Bush Administration, in fact, was the biggest adversary of victims’ families when it came to the creation of a so-called independent 9/11 Commission. I highlighted some of the many shortcomings of that commission in a previous article:
Dick Cheney and George Bush refused to testify under oath before select individuals of the 9/11 Commission even though the families wanted them to. They testified together, not in public, and no recordings were allowed. The families requested the transcripts of their meeting, but were denied.
They made it difficult for the commission to get funding.
Alberto Gonzales “stonewalled” the 9/11 Commission’s access to the White House.
They appointed Thomas Kean as Chairman, someone “who will be easily controlled by the administration,” and Lee Hamilton, “a long time friend” of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to be the co-chair. Hamilton participated in two inquiries that resulted in cover-ups. The Iran/Contra Affair inquiry, and the “October Surprise” inquiry.”
The Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission
From my article “The Facts Speak For Themselves”…
Paul Sperry explained, “though he has no vote, (Zelikow) arguably has more sway than any member, including the chairman. Zelikow picks the areas of investigation, the briefing materials, the topics for hearings, the witnesses, and the lines of questioning for witnesses… In effect, he sets the agenda and runs the investigation.”
In 1995, Zelikow wrote a book with Condoleezza Rice called, “Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft.” In September 2019, they wrote another book together entitled “To Build A Better World.”
While at Harvard, “he worked with Ernest May and Richard Neustadt on the use, and misuse, of history in policymaking. They observed, as Zelikow noted in his own words that “contemporary” history is “defined functionally by those critical people and events that go into forming the public’s presumptions about its immediate past. The idea of ‘public presumption’,” he explained, “is akin to William McNeill’s notion of ‘public myth’ but without the negative implication sometimes invoked by the word ‘myth.’ Such presumptions are beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community.”
In 1997, Zelikow and Ernest May wrote a report about John F. Kennedy that is “riddled” with errors.
Zelikow wrote the pre-emptive war strategy for the Bush Administration.
Zelikow said that the “real threat” with regards to Iraq’s WMD was to Israel.
Zelikow tried to insert a false connection between Iraq and 9/11 into the 9/11 Report, but the families, and the staffers fought against it. Select staffers of the 9/11 Commission dispute this account, though Zelikow ultimately had to approve Mylroie’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission.
It has been alleged that he may have taken direction from Karl Rove who, according to Philip Shenon, was concerned about the 9/11 Commission because “in the wrong hands… [it] could cost President Bush a second term.” The allegation regarding Rove drove the September Eleventh Advocates (formerly known as “The Jersey Girls”) to call for an entirely new investigation. Only Rawstory.com covered that story.
In early 2003, Philip Zelikow and Ernest May wrote a complete outline of the final 9/11 Report. Zelikow, Kean, and Hamilton decided to keep this outline a secret from the commission staffers. When “it was later disclosed that Zelikow had prepared a detailed outline of the commission’s final report at the very start of the investigation, many of the staff’s investigators were alarmed.”
Zelikow refused to approve half of the interview requests for “Saudi Connection” investigations. He blocked investigators from accessing the 28 redacted pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry, and then fired investigator Dana Leseman after she tried to get the pages through a back channel. In June 2004, Philip Zelikow and Dieter Snell take part in a “late-night editing session” to delete passages of the 9/11 Report having to do with Saudi support for the hijackers.
During the time of the 9/11 Commission, the families called for the resignation of Philip Zelikow, but were denied that request.
On October 9th, 2010, during “Freedom Watch” with Judge Napolitano, 9/11 Whistleblower Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer alleges that during a lunch in Philadelphia, a 9/11 Commissioner told him that, “everybody on the commission was covering for someone.” The following week, Judge Napolitano asked Philip Zelikow to appear on the show to talk about this. He REFUSED.
On 9/7/2011, it was reported that “President Obama appointed Philip Zelikow, associate dean for graduate academic programs in the University of Virginia’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, to serve on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.”
The many failures of the 9/11 Commission
Given the recent revelations of insider trading related to the coronavirus pandemic and the righteous anger that it sparked, one would think that a thorough investigation of the insider trading related to events of 9/11 would also be warranted. But the 9/11 Commission dismissed that insider trading as “innocuous,” yet given how easy it is for D.C. insiders to take part in insider trading, that is, at best, unbelievable.
9/11 Families have also been involved in a lawsuit for well over a decade now against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They’ve had to fight against both the U.S. government as well as its Saudi counterparts. What good is a commission that is beholden to such overtly political agendas? It was recently reported that “a day after Turkish authorities charged 20 Saudis in connection with journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, a New York federal judge advanced a bid Thursday to include that international scandal as part of a lawsuit seeking to hold the kingdom liable for the 9/11 attacks.” That same report states that “Attorneys for 9/11 families first revealed late last month that their investigator met with Khashoggi on Oct. 26, 2017, a little less than a year before the journalist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.”
In regard to another area of investigation concerning the Saudi government, the New York Times reported that “the president promised to help. “It’s done,” he said, reassuring several visitors. Later, the families were told that Trump ordered the attorney general, William P. Barr, to release the name of a Saudi diplomat who was linked to the 9/11 plot in an F.B.I. report years earlier. Justice Department lawyers handed over the Saudi official’s name in a protected court filing that could be read only by lawyers for the plaintiffs.”
Advocates for truth surrounding the events of 9/11 are still working tirelessly to reveal what happened on that day in a way that the 9/11 Commission was never willing, or able, to do. A joint study between AE911Truth.org, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Professor Leroy Hulsey was recently released and “includes clarifications and supplemental text based on public comments submitted in response to a draft report released by UAF and AE911Truth on September 3, 2019.” “I am grateful to everyone who supported or participated in this study in any way,” said Professor Hulsey of the report. “We hope that our findings will be carefully looked at by the building community and spur further investigation into how this building came down on that tragic day.”
When Sen. Patrick Leahy proposed a “Truth Commission” following Barack Obama’s inauguration, many people wanted him to investigate members of the Bush Administration over their role in, or failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks. The September Eleventh Advocates wrote a scathing response to Leahy’s proposal that epitomizes in many ways why Schiff’s proposal for a “9/11 style Commission” is little more than political theater.
This is a portion of their response:
The 9/11 Commission was mandated to follow the facts surrounding the events of September 11, 2001 to wherever they might lead and make national security recommendations based upon those facts.
Sadly, prior to even beginning their investigation, like you, the 9/11 Commissioners agreed amongst themselves that their role was to /fact find, not fault find/.
This decision resulted in individuals not being held accountable for their specific failures.
These people were shown to be incompetent in the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report but were left in their positions, or worse, promoted. No one should be allowed to make this compromise on behalf of the American people.
“How can any agency be deemed fixed or reformed if the people working there are inept? How can anyone feel safer?
At the 9/11 Commission hearings, little actual evidence was ever produced.
Many individuals were not sworn in, critical witnesses were either not called to testify or were permitted to dictate the parameters of their own questioning, pertinent questions were omitted and there was little follow-up.
Whistleblower testimony was suppressed or avoided all together. The National Security Agency, an intelligence agency that is responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign
communications and foreign intelligence, was barely investigated at all.
With the narrative of the 9/11 Commission’s final report predetermined and with the preexisting intention to never hold anyone accountable in place, the 9/11 Commission was doomed to fail as a real investigation.
The end result of the 9/11 Commission’s work was that some of the recommendations that they produced were in fact, based on distortions and omissions. Since their mandate of a complete accounting was ignored, the recommendations were incomplete at best.
There was clearly no desire on the part of Congress to force the Commission to meet its legislative mandate. Accordingly, there were no repercussions for the fact that the investigation and its recommendations were incomplete.
It could be surmised that holding no one accountable was more important than uncovering and disclosing the truth. This could compromise the future safety of American citizens.
Why then would you want to model another Commission after it? Why would you want another Commission at all?” – September Eleventh Advocates, 3/3/2009
The Trump administration has already committed enough crimes. Many members of that administration deserve to be arrested and tried in a court of law. They should not, however, have the luxury of escaping truth and justice by way of a “9/11-style Commission.”
Feature photo | House Democratic impeachment manager, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., leaves the Senate chamber after the acquittal of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 5, 2020. J. Scott Applewhite | AP
Jon Gold is a Philadelphia-based advocate for 9/11 justice. He was a member of the steering committee for 911truth.org. He has written two books, “9/11 Truther: The Fight For Peace, Justice And Accountability” and “We Were Lied To About 9/11: The Interviews.” He is also a long-time advocate for the 9/11 first responders and those affected by the environmental impact of the attacks.