From: Otis Willie
Subject: CIA, FBI Heads Speak to 9-11 Panel
Organization: The American War Library
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 18:55:07 EDT
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 22:55:07 GMT
CIA, FBI Heads Speak to 9-11 Panel
(EXCERPT) Tue Jun 18, 1:11 PM ET, by PETE YOST, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The rush to reorganize the government's intelligence
community should slow down long enough to get some sound advice from
Congress, say several participants in the inquiry into what went wrong
before Sept. 11.
After two weeks of preparation, the House and Senate intelligence
committees are hearing firsthand about pre-Sept. 11 intelligence
lapses from FBI ( news - web sites) Director Robert Mueller, CIA (
news - web sites) Director George Tenet and the National Security
Agency director, Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden.
All three agency heads appeared Tuesday in closed-door sessions before
the joint panel. Their detailed opening statements lasted throughout
the two-hour morning session and they were to face questioning from
the panel in the afternoon, said Rep. Saxby Chambliss ( news, bio,
voting record), R-Ga.
Chambliss was expected to be among the first lawmakers to question the
panel. Speaking during a break in Tuesday's session, he said he wanted
to ask directors about "what appear to be very overt deficiencies" in
He said much has been learned about the terrorists after the Sept. 11
attacks. "How much of what we found out after the fact, if we had
known before the fact, might have triggered somebody's mind to do some
things differently," he said. He declined to elaborate, citing the
confidentiality of the proceedings.
Sen. Bob Graham ( news, bio, voting record), D-Fla., chairman of the
Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday that lawmakers want to
learn who was behind the idea of the multiple hijackings, how the
terrorists were recruited, trained and financed, how money transfers
were arranged and what was the command structure of those involved in
He said they also want to learn if there are patterns of behavior by
Osama bin Laden ( news - web sites)'s al-Qaida network that would
offer clues of what to look for in future attacks.
The committees are expected to work until late this year. But the
White House and congressional leaders are talking about creating a new
Homeland Security Department by the Sept. 11 anniversary date of the
Some intelligence committee members expressed concern about moving too
quickly on the reorganization.
"I would hope we're not in such a hurry to hit a symbolic date that we
don't try to get this thing put together the right way," said Rep. Tim
Roemer ( news, bio, voting record), D-Ind.
Rep. Collin Peterson ( news, bio, voting record), D-Minn., said,
"Everyone's getting on the bandwagon," but "I'm uncomfortable with
this. I clearly don't have a good picture yet" with the inquiry in its
"I do believe we will not be far enough along to provide the advice
we'd like to provide," said Rep. Doug Bereuter ( news, bio, voting
At the same time, some on the committees are beginning to express
frustration with what they regard as the inquiry's slow pace. The
first two weeks were devoted to reviews of U.S. counterterror efforts
since the 1980s.
"There's a little impatience growing among the members," Sen. Richard
Durbin ( news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., said.
On Monday, Sen. Ron Wyden ( news, bio, voting record), D-Ore., said he
wants to focus his questioning of Tenet and Mueller on communications
problems and intelligence technology.
Wyden has proposed creating a terrorist tracking system that assures
that law enforcement and intelligence agencies share information with
each other and with local law enforcement.
Durbin said, "Clearly the first item on the agenda is coordination of
"We know, from what we learned so far, that before Sept. 11 that was
totally inadequate, totally unacceptable. We're going to be focusing
on that and then perhaps getting into more detail about some of the
more specific items brought to our attention"
Mueller faces questions about the refusal of FBI headquarters to allow
an aggressive pre-Sept. 11 investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui, now
facing trial as a conspirator of the hijackers and Osama bin Laden.
The FBI director also will be questioned about the bureau's handling
of a memo from an agent in Phoenix who urged checks of U.S. flight
schools before Sept. 11 to see if they were training suspected
terrorists. No checks were made.
Tenet must explain why the agency did not pursue information about two
of the eventual hijackers after it placed them at a meeting with an
important al-Qaida operative in early 2001 after the bombing of the
USS Cole ( news - web sites).
Mueller and Tenet are also expected to appear as witnesses when the
committees hold their first open hearings.
The open hearings have been scheduled for next week, but Graham said
they might be delayed while committee staff talk with the Justice
Department ( news - web sites) about what information can be released
to the public.
The Justice Department says some of the material the committee wants
to use in the public proceedings will be needed for the Moussaoui
trial, Graham said.
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