9/11 Trial Could Be Stalled for Another 4 Years

Mark Hughes, New York Correspondent, The Telegraph | Aug. 22, 2012, 6:33 PM
Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-911-trial-could-be-stalled-for-anothe…

The trial of the five men charged over the September 11 attacks on America will not be televised and may not begin for another four years, it has been disclosed.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators are due to be tried at Guantanamo Bay military base for the murders of 2,976 people in what has been dubbed the ‘trial of the century’.

But yesterday both the prosecution and defence conceded that the trial will not be televised, unlike many high profile trials in America.

And the defence claimed that, while the hearings have begun, they do not expect that actual trial to start until 2016 – 15 years after the attacks which prompted the USA’s war on terror and remain the worst terror atrocity in history.

Unlike in the UK, many US trials are broadcast on television and can be watched at home.

High profile cases such as the trial of OJ Simpson and that of Conrad Murray, the doctor accused of killing Michael Jackson, have been televised in America, as have many other US trials.

But yesterday the military prosecutor Brigadier General Mark Martins said that the trial of the 9/11 conspirators would not be broadcast on television, as per the current laws surrounding military commissions. He said: “The government position is that the rule works.”

He said that a “fair and appropriate balance” would be to have the trial screened in selected military bases and courtrooms in the USA.

But James Connell, one of the defence lawyers, expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of television cameras and said that the defence had made representations to the judge, but that the prosecution opposed.

He said: “We have asked for the proceedings to be televised on a feed to commercial television outlets.

“The defence position is that there should be a television feed of this so that members of the public, whether they are victims’ families or people who are interested in these proceedings in the US or worldwide can watch.

“Having a couple of military bases [with a feed] is hardly the same.”

The alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is due to stand trial along with his Pakistani nephew Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi; Mustapha al-Hawsawi of Saudi Arabia; and Yemenis Ramzi Binalshibh and Walid bin Attash.

The five face the death penalty if convicted for their roles in the terror attacks by al-Qaeda militants in which hijacked planes were used to strike New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006, the five men were held in secret CIA prisons, where they were subjected to interrogation tactics which they say amounted to torture.

The prosecution estimated that the trial was on schedule to begin in June or July next year, but Mr Connell said that he believed it would be much longer, suggesting four years from now as a realistic timescale.

He said: “I recall General Martin talking [in May] about the [Zacarias] Moussaoui case taking four years and I remember thinking at the time that seemed like a reasonable estimate for this case.

“I think it is a long time. It seems comparable to other major terrorism trials.”

Mr Connell said his prediction was based on the “enormous” amount of paperwork the defence still has to read through.

He added: “The prosecution has been preparing for this case for 11 years. It makes sense that now they have gotten round to bringing this case that there needs to be time for all of the information they have spent 11 years digesting that the defence needs time to digest that.”

He added that the decision to hold the trial in Guantanamo Bay rather than New York – a decision taken by the US Government – will also play a part in the delay.

“There is no question that the trial would be quicker in another jurisdiction. There are a lot of issues that would not have to be tackled.” He added that one such problem was “the difficulty of getting people here.”

The predictions came as a series of pre-trial hearings were set to begin at the base in Cuba. Those hearings, which were scheduled to last six days, were cancelled amid fears that a tropical storm is due to hit the island. All non-essential personnel –about 200 people – are set to be evacuated from the island as tropical storm Isaac approaches.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-911-trial-could-be-stalled-for-anothe…

9/11: Criminal Incompetence and Ass-Covering by the Bush Administration

14 Facts Which Show Criminal Negligence and Ass-Covering

 

On this eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, we would like to take a look back at what went wrong.

While the Bush administration tried to make its response to 9/11 its crowning achievement, the truth is that they acted with criminal incompetence and ass-covering.

(1) The U.S. is at least partly responsible for creating Al Qaeda.  For example, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser admitted on CNN that we organized and supported Bin Laden and the other originators of “Al Qaeda” in the 1970s to fight the Soviets.

Professor of strategy at the Naval War College and former National Security Agency intelligence analyst and counterintelligence officer John R. Schindler documents, the U.S. supported Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda terrorists in Bosnia.

(2) The chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable.  It is thoroughly-documented that an attack such as 9/11 was entirely foreseeable.  Specifically, Al Qaeda flying planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon was something which American military and intelligence services – and our allies – .

(3) U.S. intelligence services have repeatedly infiltrated Al Qaeda and related groups, but then idiotically failed to stop them.  For example – as the New York TimesCBS News and others reported – the FBI informant involved in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center begged the FBI to substitute fake bomb power for real explosives, but his FBI handler moronically let real explosives be used.

Similarly – as reported by Newsweek, the New York Times and others – an FBI informant hosted and rented a room to 2 of the 9/11 hijackers while they were in the U.S., but then stupidly failed to stop them.

Indeed, former counter-terrorism boss Richard Clarke theorizes that top CIA brass tried to recruit the hijackers and turn them to our side, but were unsuccessful. And – when they realized had failed – they covered up their tracks so that the FBI would not investigate their illegal CIA activities , “malfeasance and misfeasance”, on U.S. soil.

In other words, our intelligence services’ attempts to infiltrate and work with people inside of terrorist cells was horribly botched; and they did a horrible job of stopping terrorist attacks once they were set in motion.

(4) Dick Cheney was in charge of all of America’s counter-terrorism exercises, activities and responses on 9/11. See this Department of State announcement and this CNN article.  As such, at least part of the blame for failing to stop the attacks is on his shoulders.

(5) The Energy Task Force chaired by Dick Cheney prior to 9/11 collected maps of Iraqi oil, Saudi and United Arab Emerates fields and potential suitors for that oil. And you might have heard that the oil bigs attended the Task Force meetings.

According to the New Yorker – a secret document written by the National Security Council (NSC) on February 3, 2001 directed NSC staff to cooperate fully with  the Energy Task Force as it considered the “melding” of two seemingly unrelated areas of policy:

“The review of operational policies towards rogue states,” such as Iraq, and “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields”.

It is difficult to brush off Cheney’s Energy Task Force’s examination of arab oil maps as a harmless comparison of American energy policy with known oil reserves because the NSC explicitly linked the Task Force, oil, and regime change.

The above-linked New Yorker article quotes a former senior director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs at the NSC said:

If this little group was discussing geostrategic plans for oil, it puts the issue of war in the context of the captains of the oil industry sitting down with Cheney and laying grand, global plans.

See also this essay.

Is that why idiot Cheney – the guy in charge of all terror protection efforts before and on 9/11 – failed to effectively respond to 9/11 with normal air defense?  Was he too busy pining over Iraqi oil maps to pay any attention?

(6)  The military – under the idiot Vice President’s command that day – didn’t scramble enough fighter jets, and then scrambled jets far over the Atlantic Ocean, in what Senator Mark Dayton called:

The most gross incompetence and dereliction of responsibility and negligence that I’ve ever, under those extreme circumstances, witnessed in the public sector.

Cheney – and the other people in charge of anti-terror response that day – screwed up big time.

But just like the bank CEOs who are rewarded for causing the financial crisis by being given bailouts and subsidies and breaks, the military and intelligence officials who dropped the ball that day have been promoted. As Time reported:

They have basically promoted the exact same people who have presided over the … failure,” says a former Justice Department official, “and those individuals took the same thinking with them.

As the Washington Post reported, no one from the  CIA, FBI or NSA has been reprimanded, punished, or fired for the events of 9/11.

The same is true for the military personnel on watch that day. For example, General Myers, who was Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 11th, was quickly confirmed as Chairman two weeks later. General Ralph Eberhart, Commander in Chief of NORAD at the time of the attack, was promoted to head the new “Northern Command” a year after the attack.

Just as with the financial crisis, no one has been punished, and the people who screwed up have been allowed to fail upwards.

(7) On the day of 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney initiated Continuity of Government Plans that ended America’s constitutional form of government (at least for some undetermined period of time.)

On that same day, a national state of emergency was declared … and that state of emergency has continuously been in effect up to today. … even though U.S. military and intelligence officials say that the threat from Al Qaeda is now almost entirely non-existent.

(8) Many of the draconian “national security programs” – such as the Patriot Act, spying on Americans and indefinite detention – overtly approved after 9/11 had actually been implemented or planned before 9/11.  September 11th was used as an excuse to ramp up these programs.

These programs were approved during the Bush administration … but were never terminated by the Obama administration.  In fact, while Obama is a nicer and smarter guy than Bush, top constitutional law professors say that Obama has actually expanded these programs.

(9)  The Bush administration immediately used the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to carry out decades-old neoconservative plans to implement regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa.  And see this,

(10) The Bush administration pretended that Saddam Hussein had a hand in 9/11 …  one of the two main justifications for that war.

(11) Allegedly,  Saddam offered to leave Iraq – and the Taliban offered to turn over Bin Laden – in order to prevent U.S. invasion.  But the U.S. turned down the offers and invaded anyway.

We can’t get the bad guys using peaceful means, now can we?  We have a war to fight!

(12) In contrast, other governments that might actually have sponsored the attacks have been let off scot-free … and have even been given huge amounts of financial support.

(13) As the 9/11 Commission itself notes, as part of its ass-covering efforts, the Bush administration engaged in criminal obstruction of justice.

There are numerous examples of obstruction of justice into the 9/11 investigation, including:

  • The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Official Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 said that Soviet-style government “minders” obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses
  • The 9/11 Commissioners concluded that officials from the Pentagon lied to the Commission, and considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements
  • As reported by ACLUFireDogLakeRawStory and many others, declassified documents shows that Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

Moreover, the CIA videotaped the interrogation of 9/11 suspects, falsely told the 9/11 Commission that there were no videotapes or other records of the interrogations, and then illegally destroyed all of the tapes and transcripts of the interrogations.

9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:

Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

This is particularly disturbing because the torture methods used were specially-targeted at producing false confessions.  And according to NBC News:

  • Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
  • At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being “tortured.”
  • One of the Commission’s main sources of information was tortured until he agreed to sign a confession that he was NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO READ
  • The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves

The 9/11 Commissioners publicly expressed anger at certain cover ups and obstructions of justice:

  • The Commission’s co-chairs said that the CIA (and likely the White House) “obstructed our investigation”
  • The Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) – who led the 9/11 staff’s inquiry – said “At some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened“. He also said “I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described …. The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years…. This is not spin. This is not true.”

And the Co-Chair of the official Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11 – and former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee – has called for a new 9/11 investigation.

(14)  The American government – like many other governments – has long spun accidents and intelligence failures as justifications for war propaganda.   Unscrupulous Americans – just like dishonest people all over the world – have long used deception as a basis for war.

Whatever the details of the screw-ups on 9/11, the Bush administration used the attacks as a justification to promote their agenda.  And – instead of changing the agenda – Obama has continued it.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/08/911-criminal-incompetence-and-ass…

Secrecy creep

 

 

Executive branch agencies have learned well from the Obama administration’s fixation on punishing whistleblowers

BY 

 

That the Obama administration has waged an unprecedented war on whistleblowers is by now well-known and well-documented, as is its general fixation on not just maintaining butincreasing even the most extreme and absurd levels of secrecy. Unsurprisingly, this ethos — that the real criminals are those who expose government wrongdoing, not those who engage in that wrongdoing — now pervades lower levels of the Executive Branch as well.

Last night, McClatchy reported on a criminal investigation launched by the Inspector General (IG) of the National Reconnaissance Office, America’s secretive spy satellite agency, against the agency’s deputy director, Air Force Maj. Gen. Susan Mashiko. After Mashiko learned that four senior NRO officials whose identities she did not know reported to the IG “a series of allegations of malfeasant actions” by another NRO official relating to large contracts, Mashiko allegedly vowed: “I would like to find them and fire them.”

Moreover, after McClatchy published stories in June about the agency’s abusive and problematic use of polygraph tests to root out leakers, top agency officials made statements “taken as a threat that polygraphers who raise similar concerns about the agency’s practices — even to the inspector general — would be punished or criminally prosecuted as leakers.” As usual in today’s Washington, punishment is solely for those who expose high-level wrongdoing, and secrecy powers are primarily devoted to shielding the wrongdoers.

Today, Mother Jones‘ Kate Sheppard reports on a complaint alleging very similar behavior at the Department of Interior. In 2009, President Obama issued an executive order requiring the primacy of objective science over ideology in policy-making. It was not until 2011 that the Interior Department got around to complying by creating the position of Scientific Integrity Officer — “to ensure and maintain the integrity of scientific and scholarly activities used in Departmental decision making” — and it then hired for that position a hydrologist, Dr. Paul Houser, who was previously an associate professor in George Mason University’s Geography and Geoinformation Sciences Department.

But only a few months later, Houser began experiencing serious problems within the agency when he raised substantial questions, on scientific and environmental grounds, about the administration’s proposal to remove dams from a river that flows through Oregon and California. Here, as Sheppard describes it, is what happened next:

When he raised those concerns to then-DOI press secretary Adam Fetcher, Houser says he was told that he should not write anything about them in any electronic correspondence. “He wanted a hard copy, no email,” says Houser, in order to avoid creating any internal correspondence that could be subject to a Freedom of Information Act request. (Fetcher is now the deputy national press secretary for Obama’s reelection campaign.) Houser says his boss, who was out of the office during the initial exchange, also chastised him for emailing other scientists working on Klamath regarding the release. “I was told that the secretary of interior wants to remove the dams, so my actions weren’t helpful,” says Houser.

His complaint did result in some minor changes to the press release, but his main concerns about the summary of the science were not addressed. And almost immediately after the incident, “I was systematically retaliated against,” he says. His position was changed from a permanent post to a probationary one. He was given a negative performance review and told he “wasn’t a team player.” In February 2012, his job was terminated.

(Evading legal transparency requirements is, like persecuting whistleblowers, a standard practice for the Most Transparent Administration Ever™: recently disclosed emails revealed that Jim Messina — then-former White House deputy chief of staff, now the Obama campaign manager – deliberately met with lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry at coffee houses rather than the White House when drafting the health care bill, and used his personal rather than official email account to communicate with them, in order to evade record-preservation and transparency obligations). About the Interior whistleblower case, Sheppard notes: “Advocates for transparency and good science within government agencies point out the apparent irony in firing a guy hired to enforce scientific integrity for his attempts to do just that.”

This vindictive attack on whistleblowing as a means of shielding government corruption and deceit from accountability is anything but isolated. To the contrary, it’s one of the defining features of the Obama administration. The same mindset evident in these cases has driven the administration’s overall approach to secrecy and anti-whistleblower intimidation. As Atrios rhetorically asked last night about the satellite agency case: “Retaliating against whistleblowers. Where on Earth would someone get the idea that it was ok to do that?” In its reporting, the McClatchy article makes this connection clear:

The drama is unfolding as Congress debates whether to toughen anti-leak laws to crack down on classified information being provided to the news media. The Obama administration has responded by ordering that thousands of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement employees be questioned about media leaks when they’re polygraphed during security clearance screenings. In an unprecedented move, the administration also has criminally prosecuted numerous government employees for leaking. Whistleblower and media advocates fear that theaggressive efforts will have a chilling effect on the reporting of government wrongdoing but won’t stop classified information from being leaked when it’s politically advantageous to administrations.

It’s genuinely difficult to overstate the significance of this systematic attack on whistleblowers. In a nation in which government secrecy is close to all-consuming — in which the vast majority of government acts of significance take place behind a classified wall — whistleblowers remain virtually the only avenue left for learning of serious political wrongdoing. Moreover, the attack on whistleblowing, by design, seriously impedes investigative reporting; as Jane Mayer put it recently: “when our sources are prosecuted, the news-gathering process is criminalized, so it’s incumbent upon all journalists to speak up.” Worse still, allowing the Executive Branch to leak at will information thatglorifies the President and his policies, while aggressively suppressing all information that does the opposite, is the classic recipe for propagandizing without limit. What these lower-level officials are doing in threatening and retaliating against whistleblowers may very well be criminal, but they’re adhering to a mindset clearly decreed from the top.

Email exchange between Philip Zelikow and Philip Shenon

 

 

In the reporting of this book, Philip Zelikow, the commission’s executive director,

declined a face-to-face interview when I first approached him in January 2007. He

recommended instead that the interview be conducted by email, which he thought might

allow for a more thoughtful exchange. I was pleased with the results, and I am grateful to

Dr. Zelikow for taking so much time to answer so many questions. This is virtually the

entire exchange between us. I have X’d out one name in our exchanges from late January

2007. That person, whose name was raised by Dr. Zelikow, is incidental to my reporting,

and I saw no reason to violate that person’s privacy. There are a few other names offered

with reference to their roles – Benjamin Rhodes was a deputy to Lee Hamilton, the

commission’s vice chairman, at the Wilson Center; Christopher Kojm was the deputy

executive of the commission and another former Hamilton aide; Ernest May is a

professor of history at Harvard University and was a consultant to the 9/11 commission.

Dr. Zelikow was still at the State Department, as counselor to Secretary of State

Condoleezza Rice, when I began this exchange, which explains the early references to the

department. He was just about to return to the University of Virginia. “Pillar” refers to

Paul Pillar, a retired senior CIA analyst who wrote a blistering attack on the 9/11

commission for the magazine “Intelligence and National Security,” published in its

December 2006 issue. The article was entitled, “Good literature and bad history: The

9/11 commission’s tale of strategic intelligence.”

 

@@@@@

 

 

Jan. 10, 2007, Philip Shenon to Philip Zelikow

On Jan 10, 2007, at 6:25 PM, Phil Shenon wrote:

>>

>>>

>>>

>>> Dr. Zelikow,

>>>

>>> I hope you’re enjoying a less frantic life. I can’t blame anyone

>>> for wanting out of Washington.

>>>

>>> The State Department press office assured me that they passed along

>>> my interview requests from before Christmas, but I did want to be

>>> sure.

>>>

>>> I’ve got a contract from Warner Books for a history of the 9/11

>>> commission, and obviously I’d appreciate the chance to talk with

>>> you. I’ve been at work on the book for about six months. I’ve

>>> talked to all but two of the commissioners and most of the staff.

>>> Those interview made clear, as if there was any doubt, that you

>>> were at the center of everything.

>>>

>>> Given your responsibilities at State, I figured I would leave the

>>> interview request until later in 2007, when I got closer to the end

>>> of my reporting. But I’m wondering if, given your return to

>>> Virginia, there might be a chance now.

>>>

>>> If you’d be available for an interview, it would be totally at your

>>> convenience. I’d be pleased to travel down to Charlottesville.

>>>

>>> Would you let me know?

>>>

>>> Thanks,

>>>

>>> Phil Shenon

>>>

>>>

>>>

@@@@@@

 

Jan. 10, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

> At 07:35 PM 1/10/2007, you wrote:

>> I’m happy to help you with this important book.  I would prefer to

>> handle questions in writing.  On matters of this kind, I can express

>> myself more thoughtfully and accurately if I can write my answers.

>> Where time is available, and you;re not on an overnight deadline, It

>> can be a better medIum.

>>

>> Also more flexible for you, since you don’t have to set aside

>> specific times, places, etc.

>>

>> Philip Zelikow

 

@@@@@@

 

>>

Jan 11, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

On Jan 11, 2007, at 12:11 PM, Phil Shenon wrote:

> Dr. Zelikow,

>

> Thanks for getting back.

>

> I’m hoping you might reconsider the idea of a face-to-face

> interview. I’m interviewed eight of the commissioners—still

> hopeful of getting Thompson, Fielding less so, especially now—in

> person and on the record. I’ve had several hours of on-the-record

> conversations with Dan Marcus about “front office” issues.

>

> And you’re renowned for your work on oral history! I don’t have to

> tell you how artificial and unsatisfying a written exchange can be

> in this sort of venture, especially since it limits the ability for

> follow-up questions while issues are fresh.

>

> If it’s a question of accuracy, I can certainly give you a copy of

> the digital tape within hours of an interview.

>

> But again, I appreciate your willingness to help me.

>

> Best wishes,

>

> Phil Shenon

>

>

@@@@@@

>

Jan. 11, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

>

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Philip Zelikow

To: Phil Shenon

Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 17:20:55 -0500

Subject: Re: interview request

Different methods work for different circumstances.  Most respondents

in oral history projects won’t sit still to write thorough answers to

written questions, and followups.  I’ll try.  The written medium will

be more effective in this case, at least for me.

Philip Zelikow

@@@@@@

>>

Jan. 11, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow\

 

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Jan 11, 2007 7:13 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

Dr. Zelikow,

Thanks again for your quick response.

I’ll hope to convince you down the road to meet with me. But, obviously, I

bow to your request. You are very important to this story.

I would ask that we do this incrementally, given the large number of

questions I have for you. It would also allow me some chance to follow-up

quickly to your answers as we go along.

(I’ve moved this exchange to a different email account, which is more

easily accessible when I travel.)

****

May we start with some basic pre-9/11 bio questions?

1) I’ve only found bare bones material about your early life. Were you

born in Texas? But can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing,

your family?

2) What led you to leave Texas for college in California (if indeed you

went straight from Texas to California)? Were you torn about leaving

Texas?

3) I saw from some of the biographic material that after law school, you

practiced in Texas for a time. Is that correct? Was your original plan to

practice law? What sort of law?

4) What led you to Fletcher? A desire for a career in diplomacy? History?

5) Did you have any early political involvement? Are you a Republican?

6) What led you to your first govenment postings?

7) I see from your State bio that you had an overseas posting (or

postings) as a diplomat. Where?

7) What led you to the NSC in Bush 41? Were you recruited by someone? Who?

 

8) What were you resonsibilities on the NSC? Did you work closely with Dr.

Rice? On what projects?

9) Did you enjoy your teaching years at Harvard? Would you have been happy

to stay? Was the Miller Center offer too good to pass up?

10) Your “Catastrophic Terrorism” piece in Foreign Affairs was remarkable

for its prescience. Where did you come by your interest in terrorism

issues? Can you tell me more about the origins of the piece?

*****

That’s my start.

I’ll forward to a response (at your leisure).

Thank you.

Phil Shenon

@@@@@@

Jan. 11, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Jan 11, 2007 7:16 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

my mistake.

make that question 7a and 7b…..

 

>>>

 

@@@@@@

 

Jan. 30, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Jan 30, 2007 6:55 PM

Subject: Questions for your book

To: shenon

I apologize for taking so long to reply, but I’ve been preoccupied

with organizing my life back in Charlottesville and getting my new

classes underway.

But back to your questions!

”1. I’ve only found bare bones material about your early life.  Were

you born in Texas?  But can you tell me a bit about your upbringing,

your family?”

A:  I was born in New York City but my family moved to Houston while

I was a baby.  That’s where I grew up, went to high school, did most

of my undergraduate education, went to law school, and practiced law

(aside from a brief stint as a briefing attorney for the Texas Court

of Criminal Appeals in Austin).

”2. What led you to leave Texas for college in California (if indeed

you went straight from Texas to California)?  Were you torn about

leaving Texas?”

A:  I was active in intercolleigate debate for the University of

Houston.  I transferred to Redlands to participate in their excellent

debate program during my senior year.  I then went back to Houston

for law school.

”3. I saw from some of the biographic material that after law school,

you practiced in Texas for a time.  Is that correct?  Was your

original plan to practice law?  What sort of law?”

A:  Law school was the basic plan (unless I chose a career coaching

debate).  During law school I had worked on civil rights (employment

discrimination) and on criminal and civil rights cases at the US

Attorney’s office in Houston.  I was also active in moot court,

winning the ABA’s national competition in 1978.  After clerking at

the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, I went into private practice

with a lawyer named David Berg, a renowned trial lawyer.  My practice

was criminal and civil, trial and appellate, state and federal.  I

tried at least a dozen cases to a jury.  My most well known work was

in civil rights, especially:

(i)  a case where we sued the University of Houston for giving way to

perceived Saudi pressure and refusing to let their PBS station air a

program that was critical of the Kingdom.  The program was called

”Death of a Princess.”  We won in the District Court.  Then, when the

case was combined with another from Alabama, we lost in a deeply

divided en banc decision of the full Fifth Circuit which the Supreme

Court declined to review.  I argued the case in the Fifth Circuit.

The case was Barnstone v. University of Houston.  The district court

opinion is available at 514 F. Supp. 670 ( S.D. Tex. 1980); the final

appellate opinion is at 688 F.2d 1033 (5th Cir. 1982).

(ii) a case where, along with Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law

Center, we represented Vietnamese-American shrimpers who were being

harassed by the Klan and Klan-trained/inspired thugs.  We sought

unprecedented injunctive relief, putting marshals at docks, shutting

down Klan training camps, etc., using an old anti-militia law that

had never been applied before.  We were successful, and the precedent

was then used in other anti-Klan cases.  The case was Vietnamese

Fishermen Association v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 543 F. Supp.

198 (S.D. Tex. 1982).

”4. What led you to Fletcher?  A desire for a career in diplomacy?

History?”

A:  While practicing law, I had returned to graduate school, studying

history at night.  I was very interested in foreign policy and had no

idea how to pursue a career in it.  Fletcher said it trained people

for this.  So I asked David to give me a leave of absence while I

gave this a try.  He did, shunting some work my way while I was in

school so that I could help pay the bills (I sat second chair on a

murder trial during my Christmas break during my first year in

school).  I did well at Fletcher and stayed with that field, though I

was ‘of counsel’ to David’s firm from time to time even into the 1990s.

”5. DId you have any early political involvement?  Are you a

Republican?”

A:  I was registered as a Democrat or as an Independent until 1991.

Until then my only active political work had been to work and speak

publicly for Carter in the election of 1976.  My experience in the

Bush White House, and especially during the first Gulf war, led me to

register as a Republican and work actively for the reelection of

George H.W. Bush during 1992.

I have not taken an active role in any subsequent political campaign,

except my own.  While living in Massachusetts, I ran for and was

elected to my local school board.  No one asked me about my party

affiliation.  It wasn’t listed in local races in my town.

”6. What led you to your first government postings?”

A:  After receiving my M.A. and completing my Ph.D. coursework at

Fletcher, I taught for the U.S. Navy at the Naval Postgraduate

School.  I then entered government through the front door, joining

the Foreign Service in 1985 through the traditional exam process.  I

remained a career diplomat until I went to Harvard, first taking a

year of leave and then resigning from the Service in order to remain

at Harvard.

”7. I see from your State bio that you had an overseas posting (or

postings) as a diplomat.  Where?”

A:  My first tour, an unusual one, was at the conventional arms

control negotiations in Vienna.  I did consular work at the Embassy

when the talks were out of session.  As I arrived the talks morphed

from the old MBFR talks on central Europe into the new CFE talks

covering all of Europe.  I was the first political adviser to the new

CFE delegation, headed by Steve Ledogar, until I was transferred back

to Washington to work in the Department’s crisis center, then in its

Secretariat staff.  I was then detailed at the beginning of 1989 to

work on the NSC staff for Brent Scowcroft, Bob Gates, and Bob Blackwill.

”8. What led you to the NSC in Bush 41?  Were you recruited by

someone?  Who?”

A:  Still an FSO, I was detailed there from State.  Bob Blackwill

played a key part in that.  I had encountered him as a professor at

Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and he had led the MBFR

delegation in Vienna.

”9. What were your responsibilities on the NSC?  Did you work closely

with Dr. Rice?  On what projects?”

A:  I handled European security issues and was deeply involved in the

diplomacy to unify Germany and end the cold war in Europe.  Later I

was also involved in coalition management during the Gulf crisis and

war of 1990-1991.  Condi had the Soviet portfolio.  You can get a

very detailed sense of our work, and our working style, from our

book, “Gemany Unified and Europe Transformed,” published in 1995 by

Harvard University Press.

”10. Did you enjoy your teaching years at Harvard?  Would you have

been happy to stay?  Was the Miller Center offer too good to pass up?”

A:  I loved my time at Harvard.  I was deeply involved in the Kennedy

School’s core curriculum and in my joint work with Dick Neustadt and

Ernie May, among other colleagues.  I would have been happy to stay,

and believe the University felt likewise, if folks from Virginia had

not sought me out.

The Miller Center offer was extraordinary because of the potential to

build an institution and develop unprecedented programs for basic

research in American political history (the White House recordings

program—see WhiteHouseTapes.org, the Presidential Oral History

Project, and the program on American Political Development).  The

University also offered me the chair in an excellent history

department, the chair I still hold.

And Charlottesville is a wonderful place to live, with a temperate

climate.

”11. Your ‘Catastrophic Terrorism’ piece in Foreign Affairs was

remarkable for its prescience.  Where did you come by your interest

in terrorism issues?  Can you tell me more about the origins of the

piece?

A:  Because of my background, I had long been struck by the problem

of the bridge between criminal justice problems, constitutional

rights, and national security.  My involvement in the Klan cases was

part of that.  My master’s thesis at Fletcher was on the British

suppression of the Arab revolt in Palestine between 1936-1939.  After

coming to Harvard, I wrote a set of case studies on “Policing

Northern Ireland” based in part on work in Belfast (these studies are

still available from the Kennedy School Case Program).

Ash Carter and John Deutch were good friends and colleagues.  The

three of us led a Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group in 1998 (the

full membership of this group is footnoted in the Foreign Affairs

article).  We talked to a number of officials in the Clinton

administration at the time, including John Hamre and Eric Holder.  I

was the principal drafter of the group’s report, which was boiled

down for the article.

Hope this helps.

Philip

 

 

@@@@@@

Jan 30, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

Forwarded conversation

Subject: Fwd: Pillar article

————————

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Jan 30, 2007 7:45 PM

To: mailto:shenon

I believe you asked me or one of my former colleagues about this Pillar

article some time ago.  Since I prepared some comments on it for XXXXX,

it is only fair that you should get them too.  In addition, I’ll

send along a brief supplemental email that I sent to XXXXX, and will also

forward to you an informative addition I received from Ben Rhodes.

So this should be the first of three messages on that topic, which was a

useful occasion for further clarifying some of our reasoning about

intelligence performance and our recommendations.

Philip

Begin forwarded message:

@@@@@@

 

———-

Jan. 30, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Jan 30, 2007 7:47 PM

To: shenon

Begin forwarded message:

Date: January 28, 2007 4:05:41 PM EST

One point I did not include in my memo, but relevant perhaps for you, is

to reflect a bit upon Pillar’s extended argument on the virtues of the

Robb-Silberman commission (pp. 1041-1042).

Given his praise for their work and their methods, you may find it

striking to read chapter 6 of that commission’s report, and its

recommendations on (a) the community management problem and the DNI; and

(b) the proposed NCPC, based on reasoning quite analogous to the reasoning

that led to establishment of the parallel NCTC.

Given Pillar’s focus, it is also interesting to note what the

Robb-Silberman commission said about analysis, in its chapter 8, and

specifically about shortcomings in strategic assessment (e.g ., pp.

402-405 of their report), even though they were studying a different set

of issues.

Incidentally, I thought the Robb-Silberman recommendations on all these

points were good and quite constructive.  Some of them, as with mission

managers for select topics, are being implemented.

Philip

@@@@@@

 

Jan. 30, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Jan 30, 2007 7:49 PM

Subject: Fwd: Comments for XXXXX on Paul Pillar article

To: shenon

 

And this.

Philip

Begin forwarded message:

From: “Benjamin Rhodes” <

Date: January 29, 2007 10:44:05 AM EST

To: <mailto:pdz

Subject: Re: Comments for XXXXX on Paul Pillar article

Philip –

This is addressed on pages 285-286 of Tom and Lee’s book, Without

Precedent, as well. Specifically, the point is made that the Commission

came around to the DNI recommendation as they became more familiar with

the problems of the status quo. The book specifically says that at the

beginning of 2003, “…we would have said it was unlikely that we would

recommend the creation of a new office to oversee America’s intellgence

agencies – a director of national intelligence, or DNI. Through the course

of our inquiry, this perspective flipped.”

best – Ben

Ben Rhodes

Special Assistant to the Director

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

 

 

1 message

@@@@@@

 

Subject: many thanks

————————

Jan. 31, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Jan 31, 2007 12:42 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

Dr. Zelikow,

Thank you for emails. I appreciate your detailed answers to those

questions. It’s all hugely helpful. I’m fascinated by your work on the

“Death of a Princess” case. I remember the flap that program created.

And thanks for your rebuttal on Pillar. I wasn’t sure what to make of his

article, although you probably know it reflects a larger viewpoint among

Tenet loyalists that the commisison was somehow how to “get” the CIA,

another subject I’d like to ask you about at some point. Probably best to

ask you those questions when Tenet puts out his book in a couple of weeks.

Tenet’s inconsistent memory has apparently been jogged!

I’ll be back to you with another round of questions. Thanks again.

Best wishes,

Phil Shenon

 

@@@@@@

 

Feb. 5, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Feb 5, 2007 7:16 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

 

Dr. Zelikow,

Thanks again.

So can you help me reconstruct what happened here?

There was a meeting at Langley a couple of days after you took the job, no? Is

that in question? I was told you went over there a day or two after the

announcement that you had been named to the commission.

The Lowenthal anecdote came to me from two other senior people at the CIA, as

well as from Lowenthal. So if nothing else, it has become part of the agency’s

lore.

Could you have said something that was misinterpreted, perhaps intentionally?

****

And continuing with other questions:

1) I understand that your name was first raised at the 9/11 commisssion by Slade

Gorton, who knew you from other commissions. Is that your understanding, as

well?

2) Is it correct that Lee Hamilton called you first? Do you remember the

circumstances of the call? Where were you? What was you reaction to his call?

3) I interviewed Hamilton two weeks ago, and he said that he did not recall any

reluctance on your part in accepting the job, although you had a lot of

questions. Is that correct?

4) Can you follow the story from there? (I understand Kean calls you next, and

that you’re in Silicon Valley for some reason…..)

5) Kean said he was impressed that you and he shared a common vision for a final

report—written for the public, distributed by a major publisher, etc. Is that

correct? Did you discuss the failings of the Warren Commission, the Pearl Harbor

commission, and how you would overcome them?

6) I believe you did not know either Kean or Hamilton before this assignment. Is

that correct? What were your first impressions on meeting the two of them?

7) Did you have any concerns that your friendship with Rice, your service on the

inteligence board, your work on the White House transition, would pose a problem

in accepting the job?

8) Can you describe your relationship with Rice and with Dick Clarke from your

NSC days?

9) I’ve read Mann’s “Vulcans” book. Does he correctly describe your role in

writing the national security strategy in 2002?

10) Did you have any early regrets about taking the job? If so, what prompted

them?

*****

Thanks again.

Phil Shenon

 

@@@@@@

Feb. 5, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

Forwarded conversation

Subject: More Recollections on Alleged Preconceptions

————————

From: Philip Zelikow <

Date: Feb 5, 2007 1:49 PM

To: Philip Shenon

Phil:

Your account of the recollections of others at CIA was so puzzling that I

checked it out with a few of my former colleagues.

Below are their replies, which you can use, from Chris Kojm, Ernest May, and Ben

Rhodes.

FROM CHRIS KOJM:

Philip—I never heard of such a meeting at Langley.

I have a firm recollection that you and I never discussed recommendations until

Kean & Hamilton asked us to start working on them, which did not start until

the February 2004 timeframe.

I also distinctly recall conversations with you in the Spring of 2004 in which

you expressed doubt about a “DNI” idea—doubts which I shared.  The gist of

our conversation was that a DNI may be a good idea or it may not, but that it

wasn’t at all clear that it had much to do with preventing 9/11.

Hamilton had no views on the DNI of which I was aware until late spring 2004

(May/June timeframe).  He expressed considerable reservation about it—not

because he opposed the DNI idea but because he had doubts about recommending

something so many other commissions had recommended that had failed to come to

pass.  He didn’t want the Commission to be seen to fail by advocating something

that seemed so unlikely to be achieved.

I am copying Ben because his notes from working on the book may shed some light

on this and can amplify or correct my own memory.

FROM ERNEST MAY:

I remember our debating, at a much later time, the question of whether

“intelligence failure” was an appropriate description.

It was my impression that you were for a long time neutral about all the IC

reorganization

proposals.

It probably has no bearing, but I had a breakfast meeting with most members

of the Joint Inquiry when they were organizing themselves. I predicted that

they would judge 9/11 an “intelligence failure” but not an avoidable

failure. Soon after the Commission started work, I reminded Tim Roemer of

this, and he responded to me that he had no doubt that it had been an

avoidable intelligence failure and that he counted on the Commission trying

to effect a reorganization that would prevent another.

Since Mark was my doctoral student and I used to see him on Intelligence

Science Board business, I may well have told him what I said to the Joint

Inquiry folks, but I certainly never said that a DNI was a solution. I am

still doubtful that it was wise to reorganize community management before

Congress reorganized oversight.

FROM BEN RHODES:

In addition to the passage that I cited to you from Tom and Lee’s book, I can

say with certainty that Lee was a late-comer to the DNI recommendation.

Throughout the work of the Commission, I tracked and occasionally discussed

potential recommendations with him. He was consistent in asserting that –

despite his previous advocacy for a DNI, including testimony before the Joint

Inquiry – he did not think the Commission should recommend one. The simple

reason was that he wanted to put forward achievable recommendations. The nature

of his experience advocating for a DNI in the past convinced him of the huge

obstacles to that level of organizational reform. His expectation was a

recommendation to strengthen the office of DCI.

In my own experience throughout the Commission, in my review of documents for

their book, and in my interviews with Lee, it is absolutely consistent that he

only came around to the recommendation of a DNI in 2004, when he became

convinced of the breadth of the management challenges within the intelligence

community. This was directly informed by what he learned from the 9/11 story.

It is not surprising that there was some expectation within the CIA of a DNI

recommendation in early 2003 – after all, the Joint Inquiry had just recommended

it. However, it is simply not true that the Commission had some pre-cooked

scheme to ram one through. Even strong DNI advocates like Roemer told me that it

was not until late in the Commission process that the recommendation tipped

toward a DNI.

If this was an issue of such immediate concern to the leadership of the CIA in

early 2003, it is odd that Tenet or others did not immediately take up their

concerns with Tom or Lee.

###

Philip

 

@@@@@@

 

Feb. 5, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Feb 5, 2007 10:46 PM

To: Philip Shenon

 

Mr. Shenon —

I actually don’t remember such a meeting at Langley at all.  It may have

happened; it was a busy time.  But I don’t recall it, and the purported timing

seems strange.  I had been at CIA several time during 2001 and 2002 on PFIAB

business and a seminar connected to the Harvard program.

It might be worth being sure each of your sources have their own independent

recollection, and are not just collectively recycling it.  I don’t recall going

there so soon after my Commission appointment.  I was preoccupied in those early

days with other problems.

And I can’t even remember saying something that could have been misinterpreted

in the way you mention.  No one who knew me thought these were my views  My

former colleagues, all of whom have their own contacts to the intelligence

community, had never heard of such an allegation.

Your other questions are answered below.

Philip Zelikow

I have heard this too, including from Slade.  Two Democratic friends had also,

separately, told me, before Lee called, that they had recommended me to Lee.

One of them added that Lee had taken some soundings on me with some other

Democrats, perhaps on the Hill, before he called me.  I don’t know any more than

that.

I had worked with Slade on the Carter-Ford election reform commission and on the

Markle Foundation task force.That is correct.  He reached me at my office in

Charlottesville.  I told him that I did not think I could do it, but would be

glad to think about it.  I was doubtful, but thought hard about how it might be

done, and conferred about that with Ernest May.

I had been given a heads up that he might call and had thought about what to

say.

I was in San Francisco when he reached me, talking with IT experts in a meeting

of the Markle task force.  I can’t address Kean’s reactions, but the rest is

correct.  We did discuss some of the problems I thought past commissions had

encountered.  The Pearl Harbor experience seemed especially relevant.  We also

discussed conceptions of what the Commisison could try to accomplish in laying a

foundation for understanding, both of the event as history and for fashioning

future policy.

I had never met either man.  So one of my first concerns was to meet with both

of them in person.  They both made very good impressions on me.  It is hard now

for me to separate my cumulative impressions of Lee from the initial ones.  What

stands out from my meeting with Tom is how much we seemed to share a common

vision of how the whole operation could work.

In my very first conversations with Tom and Lee—on the phone—I discussed my past

work and friendship with Rice and asked them whether they had considered that

issue.  They said they were of course aware of that, and had taken it into

account.

Of the points you mention, I thought the PFIAB experience was a net asset.  But

I know I mentioned that, in particular, because I was already wondering about

whether I would have to resign from the Board if I accepted the position on the

Commission.   (The answer was yes.)

It may seem strange now, because hindsight makes it hard to recover the way

people thought beforehand, but in January 2003 I don’t think Tom, or Lee, or I

anticipated the extent to which the Commission’s work would be used as a

partisan political battlefield.  Of course we understood how Washington

works—Tom and Lee more than most.  But I still think they did not expect that

matters would develop in quite the way they did.  It was not predestined.

Rice was a colleague of mine on the NSC staff from 1989 to 1991.  We both worked

for Bob Blackwill until mid-1990, then her Soviet portfolio became more

autonomous while David Gompert took over the European directorate.  Rice and I

started on almost the same day and left on almost the same day, shortly after

the Gulf war ended.  She went back to Stanford; I went back to State, though

that fall I took a teaching position at Harvard.  I had not known Rice before

1989, but we became friends at work and later worked together on the Germany

book.

Clarke was an assistant secretary of state while I was on the NSC staff.  We

worked together on some issues, but he was not centrally involved in my main

work.

I don’t have this book handy.  But I believe Mann says, correctly, that I was a

principal drafter of the National Security Strategy that was later published in

2002.  I was not hired or paid; I just volunteered to help out.  The main work

on the document was done during the winter of 2001-2002.  (I was talking about

this to someone else recently and, contrary to later inferences, prompted by the

timing of the document’s later release, the subject of what to do about Iraq did

not arise in the development of this document.  The document was strongly

influenced by reflections on 9/11, very much along the lines of what the

Commission ended up saying in its report.)

My main role in this work was completed by the spring of 2002.  I described some

of the thinking behind this contribution in an essay on “The Transformation of

National Security” that was eventually published, during 2003, in The National

Interest.

I don’t recall any early regrets about taking the job.  The challenges sometimes

seemed overwhelming, but that was to be expected.  Early on, when we starting

from nothing—not even a phone—there were many logistical challenges.  I enjoyed

building the staff and organizing the work.  I was very interested in sorting

out the principal substantive tasks the investigation would have to tackle.

I did have some early concerns, especially about access to the report and work

of the Joint Inquiry and with the White House readiness to cooperate fully with

the Commission.  When I took the job, I thought that the White House had

reconciled itself to the necessity of fully supporting such a Commission, with

all that implied.

———-

 

 

 

@@@@@@

@@@@@@

Feb. 6, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon <

Date: Feb 6, 2007 9:11 AM

To: Philip Zelikow

 

Good morning.

Today’s 10 questions…..

1) While Hamilton didn’t think you were reluctant to take the job, I believe

Kean had that sense. Did you, understandably, set “conditions” in accepting the

job? I believe you wanted an important role in hiring, for example.

2) Was it your idea to have to a common, nonpartisan/bipartisan staff?

(Obviously this upset some of the Democratic commissioners.)

3) If so, why did you want a common staff?

4) A broad question, I know. But did you share Kean’s view that this was a

commission “designed to fail”?

5) Did you share the view of Kean and Hamilton that there could be no

“finger-pointing”—no finding of individual blame—if the commission was to

succeed?

6) Did you come up with the term “front office” to describe the staff

leadership?

7) What was your philosophy in hiring staff? (I have now interviewed dozens of

the key staffers, and I don’t have to tell you that they are a very impressive

group.)

8) Who was your first hire?

9) Some, not all, of the staff have described your initial hiring interviews as

very tough. Is that fair? Were you testing people? The Kean/Hamilton book

describes a tough interview of Kevin Shaeffer; is that an accurate depiction?

10) Did you think the original $3 million budget and final deadline were

realistic?

****

One other broad question: You’re obviously a major character in “Without

Precedent.” Without asking you about ever anecdote, was that book fair in its

depiction of you and your role on the commission?

*****

Stay warm.

Thanks.

@@@@@@

Feb. 7, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

————————

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Feb 7, 2007 10:51 PM

To: Philip Shenon

Replies below …

On Feb 6, 2007, at 9:11 AM, Philip Shenon wrote:

> Good morning.

>

> Today’s 10 questions…..

>

> 1) While Hamilton didn’t think you were reluctant to take the job,

> I believe Kean had that sense. Did you, understandably, set

> “conditions” in accepting the job? I believe you wanted an

> important role in hiring, for example.

In addition to the general conception of the work, I proposed that   

      the staff be unitary and nonpartisan, and that I be able to manage it  

      effectively.  I also proposed that Tom, Lee, and I would concur in  

      any hiring or firing of staffers.  These proposals were essential and  

      were accepted.  Once Chris Kojm came on board he also, in effect,   

      became part of the required consensus on personnel decisions.  He had  

      good judgment.  

>

> 2) Was it your idea to have to a common, nonpartisan/bipartisan

> staff? (Obviously this upset some of the Democratic commissioners.)

      It was.  

>

> 3) If so, why did you want a common staff?

      I thought a unitary, nonpartisan staff offered the best chance to  

      manage a massive investigation of this kind.  A partisan division of   

      the staff would immediately have fateful consequences for the  

      Commission’s work and credibility.  

        

      Also, division of the staff into a set of personal staffs would  

      effectively set up ten executive directors, ten staffs, and ten   

      agendas.  Not likely to achieve the aims we had set.  

        

      Such an arrangement also would knock away Tom and Lee’s ability to  

      manage the Commission itself.  The necessary corollary of the unitary  

      approach is an empowered chair/vice chair who could give me   

      authoritative guidance from day to day.  

        

      I had also watched the Congressional Joint Inquiry experience, and  

      tried to understand both its strengths and weaknesses.  The unitary  

      staff approach had been one of its strengths.   

        

>

> 4) A broad question, I know. But did you share Kean’s view that

> this was a commission “designed to fail”?

      I think he is making a statement about political circumstances more   

      than about the hard-wiring.  Some very seasoned Washington hands whom  

      I respect had urged me to decline Tom and Lee’s offer, because they  

      thought the enterprise was a no-win proposition in general, and could   

      be damaging to me personally.  

        

      But, as you can tell, I had a conception of this that I thought could  

      succeed, and perhaps even render an unprecedented level of public  

      service, and thereby also set a positive example for such efforts in   

      the future.  

>

> 5) Did you share the view of Kean and Hamilton that there could be

> no “finger-pointing”—no finding of individual blame—if the

> commission was to succeed?

Not quite.  My view, and the view the report actually adopted, was to  

      lay out the facts of what people did based on the information  

      available or reasonably available to them.  

      Blame is obviously subjective and. in the circumstances of 9/11,   

      complex.  In criminal law the standards are laid out, and even in  

      that realm the problems can sometimes be challenging.  So our  

      approach was to lay out the facts and leave it to readers to decide  

      what form of blame, culpability, responsibility they would assign to   

      the conduct we described.  We would not sanitize or shelter anyone in  

      the presentation of those facts.  

        

      We did use pseudonyms to protect a few identities of lower-level  

      career civil servants.  Their identities were known internally and   

      Lawrence Wright has now identified most.  Different for Lawrence  

      Wright to do it than for us.  Some of this conduct was also the  

      subject of IG investigations by their agencies.  Also, I was worried  

      about placing a ‘mark of Cain’ on a few civil servants—thinking   

      how overwhelming this might be for their lives and the lives of their  

      families.  We would not have been reticent had we found instances of  

      reckless or criminal misbehavior, but the problems we saw were of a  

      different kind.   

>

> 6) Did you come up with the term “front office” to describe the

> staff leadership?

      I don’t think so, but I don’t remember.  

>

> 7) What was your philosophy in hiring staff? (I have now

> interviewed dozens of the key staffers, and I don’t have to tell

> you that they are a very impressive group.)

      I wanted the very best people we could find in America.  Time and  

      circumstances compressed the scope of what we could do, but I wanted   

      to get the very best we could possibly find.  So, in addition to some  

      of the excellent people who applied, I actively sought out some  

      superior talents that I knew of.  Some commissioners also recommended  

      people they thought we should consider.   

>

> 8) Who was your first hire?

Aside from Chris Kojm, that was probably Stephanie Kaplan.  Who was  

      indispensable throughout.  Other examples of people I sought out very  

      early on were Ernest May, Doug MacEachin, Warren Bass, Alexis Albion,   

      Lloyd Salvetti, and Dianna Campagna (for the unglamorous but vital  

      records/secretariat function).  These examples are illustrative.  I  

      also tried to identify and recruit the best staff from the Joint  

      Inquiry.   

        

>

> 9) Some, not all, of the staff have described your initial hiring

> interviews as very tough. Is that fair? Were you testing people?

> The Kean/Hamilton book describes a tough interview of Kevin

> Shaeffer; is that an accurate depiction?

There was no intent to make the interviews especially tough, and I  

      don’t remember them as being unusually demanding.  I needed to do  

      what little I could to gauge quality of mind and temperament.   

        

      The account in Tom and Lee’s book on Kevin Shaeffer may reflect what  

      they knew.  I don’t recall Kevin contacting commissioners, though I  

      have no doubt that he did.  I don’t recall hearing about him from   

      Lee.  It is possible that, after this was already moving along, one  

      or another commissioner pressed Kevin’s case.  But he was not one of  

      the staffers who was selected because of an outside referral.  I  

      remember his case very well, and Kevin himself may not know all the   

      circumstances.  

        

      I picked his resume out of a giant pile in the family room of my home  

      in Keswick, Virginia.  It was very early in the hiring process.  His  

      resume stood out partly because of the extraordinary essay he   

      attached with it, telling his 9/11 story.  I asked my wife right then  

      to read this story, and talked to her about how, despite his lack of  

      some of the conventional qualifications, he might still make a  

      terrific choice.  But I couldn’t do it as a pity choice, hiring a   

      token victim.  He had to be a real hire, able to do real work as a  

      full colleague of his fellow investigators.  And I think that’s the  

      way Kevin would have wanted it.  

        

      So I needed to get a bead on how Kevin was regarded within the Navy.   

      For this I turned to John Lehman, with his contacts.  Lehman checked  

      him out and passed back wonderful reviews.  So then I interviewed  

      him.  I don’t remember saying what’s quoted in Tom and Lee’s book,   

      and doubt I said it.  And I thought Kevin was my own find.  But I  

      wanted to impress on him that he needed to pass muster for his  

      ability, not just for his 9/11 experience.  Because I thought that if  

      he made the grade, I wanted him to have the self-esteem he would need   

      to have about why he was there and the substantive job we thought he  

      could do.  

        

      Few personnel decisions ended up pleasing me more.  His performance  

      on that team was outstanding by any standard.  Few hires turned out   

      better for the Commission.  

        

>

> 10) Did you think the original $3 million budget and final deadline

> were realistic?

At first I did not know, because I hadn’t done the analysis.  It   

      seemed doubtful.  And, sure enough, the analysis soon showed we would  

      need about 4 times that much.  We moved quickly on that, though of  

      course it wasn’t easy.  

        

      The time issue was harder to project, and we went back and forth on   

      this inside the Commission.  Much depended on how our work developed  

      and the quality of executive branch cooperation.  There is also a  

      Parkinson’s Law that operates in these matters … the work will  

      always grow to fill the space you allow for it.   

        

      Commissioners too had a variety of views, some related to how the  

      Commission’s report should relate to the timing of an election year.  

      On that one, my own view was that, if we could get the work done,  

      sooner was better, and we had a civic duty to put our report before  

      the American people before they voted.  But commissioners ended up  

      making that call.  

>

> ****

>

> One other broad question: You’re obviously a major character in

> “Without Precedent.” Without asking you about ever anecdote, was

> that book fair in its depiction of you and your role on the

> commission?

      In general I thought their book was fair toward me.  I had no part in   

      drafting or editing it.  

        

      As for my role or the roles that others played, they will be apparent  

      enough in the records of the Commission’s work and, given your  

      efforts, you’ll probably end up being able to form an informed   

      judgment of your own!  

>

> *****

>

> Stay warm.

@@@@@@

>

Feb. 8, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon <

Date: Feb 8, 2007 4:17 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

 

And more and more….

1) After you began assembling a staff, what were your first priorities for

the investigation?

2) It sounds like the logistics were nightmarish at first. Was it any more

difficult than you expected to secure office space, get security

clearances…. Did you have a sufficiently high security clearance from

the intelligence board to do your work on the commission? Did you need

additional clearances?

3) The Kean/Hamilton book describes your difficult meeting with Gonzales

and says Gonzales found you “aggressive and overly expansive” in your

access requests and cut off further contacts with you. I’ve heard similar

accounts elsewhere; it was much discussed on the staff and among the

commissioners since it left only Kean and Hamilton to negotiate with the

White House. What happened? What is it that you requested? Did you have

some history with Gonzales?

4) Can you set the scene for me? Was this in Gonzales’s WH office? Just

you and him? Was it shortly after you took the appointment? Were you

surprised by his reaction? How long did it last?

5) Was that your only meeting with Gonzales?

6) This whole unhappy incident would seem to knock down a bit of early

common wisdom among some of the staff and the family leaders—that you were

some sort of Bush administration “plant” on the 9/11 commission.

(Obviously you were not Judge Gonzales’s plant!) But were you aware that

some people on the staff saw you that way early on? If so, did it bother

you? How did you counter it?

7) Obviously you (and the commission) had a troubled relationship with

some of the family leaders. Was it troubled from the start? Do you wish

you or the commission had handled the family representatives differently?

Perhaps this was a no-win situation from the start?

8) Your appointment apparently caused some distress for some of the

Democrats on the commission, which led them to demand of a tough-minded

Democrat as general counsel to “balance” you out. Did that reaction by the

Democrats surprise you? Were you distressed by it?

9) So Dan Marcus got the job. Did you have a good relationship? Were there

times when he served as a “balance” to you?

10) The Kennedy School’s case study on the commission refers to a

“personal price” that you paid for your work on the commission. It says

you had no further conversations with Rice, apart from one converastion

about an overseas trip, and quotes you as saying that you “didn’t talk

anymore to my friends.” Is that correct?

****

I forgot to ask earlier about the KSG study, which is another useful

roadmap to me. The author told me that you have reviewed it before

publication. Was it fair in its depiction of you?

Thanks again.

 

@@@@@@

 

Feb, 8, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

 

On 2/8/07, Philip Zelikow <pdz6n@virginia.edu > wrote:

On Feb 8, 2007, at 4:17 PM, Philip Shenon wrote:

And more and more….

1) After you began assembling a staff, what were your first priorities

for the investigation?

1. Organize the work, to set in motion efforts that could proceed  

      simultaneously along multiple fronts.   

       2. Take stock of the work that had already been done, above all the full  

      report and investigative records of the Joint Inquiry.  

        

2) It sounds like the logistics were nightmarish at first. Was it any

more difficult than you expected to secure office space, get security

clearances…. Did you have a sufficiently high security clearance from

the intelligence board to do your work on the commission? Did you need

additional clearances?

GSA was reasonably helpful on the space issues. Security clearances  

      required massive effort to move swiftly. Here we benefited from getting  

      the Joint Inquirys security officer detailed to us, with his accumulated  

      contacts, and the White House also intervened at a couple of key points.   

        

        

3) The Kean/Hamilton book describes your difficult meeting with Gonzales

and says Gonzales found you “aggressive and overly expansive” in your

access requests and cut off further contacts with you. Ive heard similar

accounts elsewhere; it was much discussed on the staff and among the

commissioners since itleft only Kean and Hamilton to negotiate with the

White House. What happened? What is it that you requested? Did you have

some history with Gonzales?

      I believed the White House had decided to cooperate fully with the  

      Commissions investigation. I had received those assurances directly from  

      Andy Card and Condi Rice. I believe Tom, and possibly Lee, also had sought  

      and received such assurances. That was an important assumption as I  

      considered Tom and Lees offer.   

        

        

       I met with Gonzales in his West Wing office. I think this was in January  

      2003 and that I hadnt formally accepted the appointment. His deputy was  

      there; so was Jay Lefkowitz from the WH staff—Lefkowitz was an able  

      staffer who had been handling the Commission issues for Andy Card. Its  

      possible that John Bellinger was there too … Im not sure.   

        

        

       Given my belief about the Presidents commitment to cooperate fully with  

      the Commission, I came into the meeting pushing hard, because I felt it  

      was important for folks to understand from the very start what full  

      cooperation would entail. I made the point, in that meeting, that a  

      critical problem plaguing past investigations was the belief that the  

      Commission had not requested/seen critical documents. Even where the  

      documents might have made no difference, the criticism undermined  

      credibility.   E.g., the Warren Commission not seeing the files on the  

      CIAs Mongoose activities against Castro.  I cited this example.  

        

       So I said the White House should be prepared to provide full access to  

      documents and people. I specifically mentioned NSC records and PDBs. I  

      pointed to precedents in the documentary access given to the congressional  

      Pearl Harbor inquiry of 1945-1946 (under much more partisan  

      circumstances). I had anticipated some of the executive privilege and  

      separation of powers concerns and had some arguments/ideas about how those  

      concerns should be refuted or allayed. I stressed then and later that Tom  

      and Lee had to be in the position of saying publicly and truthfully, at  

      the end of the day, that they had seen every document they wished to see.   

 

        

        

       Gonzales had a different view. He started from the position that the  

      Commission would receive the kind of access the White House had given to  

      the Joint Inquiry. I was surprised that he was taking such a dogmatic  

      approach to a nearly unique challenge. From my point of view, the level of  

      access that had been given to the Joint Inquiry would be unacceptable. I  

      said so, and said I would not want to serve with the Commission if it  

      ended up only receiving that kind of access. So the meeting didnt end on  

      an upbeat note.   

        

        

       To be fair to Gonzales, it became plain to me later (it was not at the  

      time) that there was not a solid connection between the intentions of  

      various parts of the White House. Others were going to defer, at least at  

      first, to the Counsels office on the legal issues … and that pulled many  

      of our issues into being handled primarily by the lawyers in the White  

      House and the Office of the Vice President.   

        

        

       My problems at that time were addressed in subsequent days by assurances,  

      from Lefkowitz and Gonzales deputy, that the Commission would receive  

      better access than had been given to the Joint Inquiry, that the White  

      House understood our requirements, and would take a fresh approach in  

      trying to meet them.   

        

        

       I kept Tom up to date on all of these discussions.  

        

        

       As far as I knew, there was no bad blood between me and Gonzales. He was  

      very courteous to me. I respected his position and was courteous too, but  

      also direct, even blunt. I had been in many government meetings, including  

      in that White House, where senior officials understood and even welcomed  

      that kind of directness.   

        

        

       I hope you will attempt to interview everyone on the administration side  

      of this, so you can hear their side of the story.  

        

        

        

4) Can you set the scene for me? Was this in Gonzaless WH office? Just

you and him? Was it shortly after you took the appointment? Were you

surprised by his reaction? How long did it last?

      Covered above.

5) Was that your only meeting with Gonzales?

There may have been another in the early days, Im not sure. I certainly  

      joined in another meeting with him in 2004, under different circumstances.  

        

        

        

       To those mindful of protocol, it was certainly appropriate for Gonzales  

      to deal with Tom and Lee. The problem was that, by keeping the meeting at  

      principals only (cutting out his own key staffers too), the effect was to  

      work troublesome issues at a higher level of generality. On the surface  

      this might seem like an ingenious White House move to deal with more  

      amiable counterparts. Instead it ended up adding layers of further  

      complication and friction to a process that was already very difficult.   

        

6) This whole unhappy incident would seem to knock down a bit of early

common wisdom among some of the staff and the family leaders—that you were

some sortof Bush administration” plant” on the 9/11 commission. (Obviously

you were not Judge Gonzales’s plant!) But were you aware that some people

on the staff saw you that way early on? If so, did it bother you? How did

you counter it?

      Sure, people would have some preconceptions about me. But the Commission  

      appointed me because they thought I would be fair and impartial. So  

      therefore I had to act upon that premise, and not do anything that seemed  

      to concede I was biased and unreliable. The only answer was to play  

      straight and do my job. Where I had a recusal issue (on the 2000-2001  

      transition), I had to set an example by volunteering to be interviewed  

      about it under oath (the first witness to do so, I believe). Playing it  

      straight also meant that if I bent over backward to be tough on the Bush  

      administration, just to show off, that would be another form of bias.   

        

        

       Another counter was to be collegial. That doesnt mean go along to get  

      along. It may mean tough arguments. But it means a willingness to hash out  

      key issues with your peers.  

        

        

       Some of my colleagues also may not have realized that I knew people on  

      both sides, Democratic and Republican. Indeed it was an issue for many  

      members of the staff, who had various kinds of past dealings and  

      associations.   

        

        

       I often reminded myself (and others) of two principles. First was to  

      think and work on both administrations with the detachment one would give  

      if they had held office fifty years ago, say in the Kennedy or Eisenhower  

      administrations.   

        

        

       Second was to avoid the usual trap for investigators of falling,  

      unconsciously, into the gotcha game to justify all their hard work. The  

      often unconscious impulse to uncover something one can criticize, in order  

      to justify all the work and inconvenience of the investigation. Here the  

      easiest antidote is to apply the investigators golden rule: Treat others  

      as you would wish to be treated, given the requirements of a vital  

      investigation, and comprehend their performance within the world they  

      inhabited, not just the world of retrospective omniscience. We didnt have  

      to try to juice up the story. If we told it straight, there was plenty to  

      say.   

        

        

7) Obviously you (and the commission) had a troubled relationship

With some of the family leaders. Was it troubled from the start? Do you wish

you or the commission had handled the family representatives differently?

Perhaps this was a no-win situation from the start?

      It was pretty troubled from the start, because the family groups were  

      scarred by years of frustrating efforts to get answers, to get the right  

      kind of investigation.  So in addition to all the issues grief counselors  

      can tell you about, there was a further level of anger, which in some  

      cases had hardened into deep bitterness and mistrust.   

        

        

       At the start this was pretty universal. As time went on, opinion among  

      the family groups and victim representatives became much more varied,  

      including about me. But certainly some family members saw me as part of  

      the problem, and still do. Though there would be particular differences,  

      some people just wanted the Commission to play a particular role, acting  

      out the part in the way they envisioned, and they would end up being  

      disappointed with anyone who didnt play that role.   

        

        

       I told staffers at the start that they should assume that, whatever we  

      did, a significant number of people would criticize our work. When it  

      comes to a national trauma of this kind, in which so many millions of  

      opinions are engaged, that was inevitable—and even more so given the  

      widespread distrust and alienation that many people feel toward the United  

      States government.   

        

8) Your appointment apparently caused some distress for some of the

Democrats on the commission, which led them to demand of a tough-minded

Democrat as general counsel to “balance” you out. Did that reaction by the

Democrats surprise you? Were you distressed by it?

I was a little surprised, more because I thought whatever issues folks had  

      would have been settled beforehand. But I was not too distressed. I felt I  

      understood what was happening, and felt I had a solid understanding with  

      Tom and Lee. I was appropriately involved in all of the deliberations  

      about who else might be hired, and what such a person would do.   

        

9) So Dan Marcus got the job. Did you have a good relationship? Were

there times when he served as a “balance” to you?

      I did have a good relationship with Dan. We have different styles. I think  

      he would concede that I was a bit more confrontational, more the litigator  

      (which I had been). And there were indeed some points where we had to make  

      a stand and be willing to fight. But I could also rely on Dan to disagree  

      if he thought I was mistaken, or too impulsive. A very good quality to  

      have around. I think he, Chris, and I all brought a different mix of  

      skills and strengths to the job, but they meshed well. This is what one  

      should seek in putting together a management team.   

        

        

       And I felt we genuinely worked as a team. For instance, we might argue or  

      get irritated from time to time—and often were under great stress. But the  

      stress pulled us together, it didnt pull us apart. And I never felt that  

      Chris or Dan would try to hide or circumvent. So different commissioners  

      would lobby one or another of us, but each of us would then table the  

      issue for all, usually deciding it together.   

        

        

       Also on substance, Dan—like Chris—had good judgment, including in  

      draftsmanship. And Dan brought Steve Dunne in, an invaluable addition.  

        

10) The Kennedy Schools case study on the commission refers to a

“personal price” that you paid for your work on the commission. It says you

had no further conversations with Rice, apart from one conversation about

an overseas trip, and quotes you as saying that you “didn’t talk anymore to

my friends.”Is that correct?

      The personal price was more in home and family, though fortunately I’m  

      still married to the same wife.  

        

        

       As best I can remember, the case study’s statements are correct about  

      Rice, that after my appointment I cut off communication with her, except  

      for a discussion to get her help with foreign governments in facilitating  

      the Commissions overseas work. I don’t remember talking to Steve Hadley at  

      all during this period. And the White House Counsl’sl office probably also  

      told White House folks to run all contacts with the Commission through  

      them.   

        

        

       Lefkowitz was an important contact early on, including the initial budget  

      problem. My main White House contacts (Dan Levin’s role aside) were with  

      John Bellinger or people who worked for him or Gonzales. Usually  

      Bellinger. About the only non-lawyer White House contact I can recall after  

      the summer of 2003 was a phone call exchange with Rove, probably in 2003,  

      related to past correspondence with me in my Miller Center role, related  

      to presidential library preparation (I had no horse in that race). It was  

      a brief conversation and we did not discuss the Commission. The issue was  

      then handed over to Gonzales or Miers on their end, and I handed it off to  

      others at the Miller Center and heard nothing further about it.   

        

****

I forgot to ask earlier about the KSG study, which is another useful

roadmap to me. The author told me that you have reviewed it before

publication. Was it fair in its depiction of you?

Lundberg shared it with me and with others she had interviewed. I thought  

      the study was fair. My main wish was that the casewriter, Kirsten  

      Lundberg, had talked to folks in the administration and gotten their side  

      of it. It might have made the study even more interesting.   

        

Thanks again.

 

 

———-

@@@@@@ 

        

Feb. 9, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Feb 9, 2007 5:16 AM

To: Philip Zelikow

Thanks, again, for such quick responses.

I’m certainly trying to talk to the administration. Andy Card gave me a

long and very useful on-the-record interview a few week ago. I’m still

waiting on Gonzales.

May I follow up on a couple of your latest answers?

1) Your answers about Gonzales fit into a picture that has been painted

for me by others—namely, that Gonzales did not serve his “client” very

well with his stubbornness on access. Did that occur to you as you

listened to Gonzales that day? Were you confounded by his stand that day?

2) Others on the commission have argued to me that Gonzales may have been

out of his depth on a lot of these executive privilege issues and must

have been pushed to take these absolutist position by others, especially

Addington. Fielding seemed to have had that view. Do you think that’s the

case?

3) You refer to another meeting with Gonzales in 2004 on another subject.

What meeting was that? Was it awkward to deal with Gonzales after the

earlier go-round.

3) You brought up the recusal issue about the 2000-2001 transition and

your offer to testify under oath. When did that happen? Why did that

happen? (I had thought that occurred later in the investigation after the

families began to protest about your relationship with Rice). I understand

that Dan Marcus did that interview, with Warren Bass and others

participating. Is that right?

Thank you.

 

@@@@@@

 

Feb. 9, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

On 2/9/07, Philip Zelikow < > wrote:

On Feb 9, 2007, at 5:16 AM, Philip Shenon wrote:

Thanks, again, for such quick responses.

Im certainly trying to talk to the administration. Andy Card gave me a long

and very useful on-the-record interview a few week ago. I’m still waiting

on Gonzales.

May I follow up on a couple of your latest answers?

1) Your answers about Gonzales fit into a picture that has been painted

for me by others—namely, that Gonzales did not serve his “client” very

well with his stubbornness on access.Did that occur to you as you listened

to Gonzales that day?Were you confounded by his stand that day?

At that early point I just thought the White House had a left hand/right  

      hand problem, and that surely the problem would go away once folks got  

      together and reflected seriously about this.   

        

2) Others on the commission have argued to me that Gonzales may have been

out of his depth on a lot of these executive privilege issues and must have

been pushed to take these absolutist position by others,

especially Addington. Fielding seemed to have had that view. Do you think

thats the case?

I have heard such things, but don’t have firsthand knowledge.  

        

        

       Actually I also thought presidential prerogatives had receded too far in  

      the preceding ten to fifteen years, especially on executive privilege  

      against congressional claims—less on executive privilege against claims  

      coming out of judicial processes. The Miller Center had organized a  

      National Commission on the separation of powers (chaired by Howard Baker  

      and Griffin Bell) which reported in 1998. But I thought our Commission was  

      a unique statutory creation, and that the laws requirements could be  

      addressed in ways that would not create damaging precedents for  

      congressional requests.   

        

        

        

3) You refer to another meeting with Gonzales in 2004 on another subject.

What meeting was that? Was it awkward to deal with Gonzales after the

earlier go-round.

      The meeting in 2004 involved others from the Commission, possibly  

      including Jamie as well as Lee. It was part of a process in working  

      through another problem, but I don’t have a good memory of what it was  

      about. It was not a critical or decisive discussion. I didn’t find it  

      awkward to deal with Gonzales afterward. He was always courteous. We just  

      have different views about many subjects.   

3) You brought up the recusal issue about the 2000-2001 transition and

your offer to testify under oath. When did that happen? Why did that

happen? (I had thought that occurred later in the investigation after the

families began to protest about your relationship with Rice). I understand

that Dan Marcus did that interview, with Warren Bass and

others participating.Is that right?

My interview was one of the first conducted in the interviewing stage, on  

      October 8, 2003. I insisted on being under oath, to help allay concerns  

      and show we would not be asking anyone to accept a standard we would not  

      apply to ourselves. I also provided unclassified documents that were in my  

      possession from the transition period, since they might help with later  

      work and interviews. Your understanding of the participation sounds right  

      to me.   

        

        

        

       Thank you.  

        

@@@@@

 

Feb. 9, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Feb 9, 2007 2:21 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

 

Thanks.

Could I press again on quesiton 3?

What prompted that interview and your offer to testify. Was it the family

protests? Prior to that, had you been recused on transition issues?

I thought I understood that you felt the recusal was unnecessary, that

there wasn’t the conflict that the families and others were suggesting.

 

 

@@@@@@

 

Feb. 9, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Feb 9, 2007 3:14 PM

To: Philip Shenon

 

      I don’t recall that these decisions were made because oft family pressure.  

       We had made the decision on when and how to interview me no later than  

      summer 2003, if not earlier.  Folks weren’t ready to conduct the interview  

      until early October.     

      I believe I recused myself on transition issues very early on, but I’ll be  

      glad to defer to Dan on this if he has a good recollection of it.  I did  

      not think my involvement in the transition was terribly consequential, but  

      I was a fact witness on a couple of early exchanges involving Rice/Hadley  

      and Clarke, and I had a couple of documents that shed a little light on  

      the 8 or 10 top issues some members of the transition team were placing in  

      the foreground.    

      Again, it is hard now to recover the context of those early months, but it  

      may be helpful to understand that, in early 2003, I don’t think we fully  

      anticipated the kind of clashing views between Rice and Clarke that became  

      so evident later.  For instance, when we hired Mike Hurley, who had worked  

      with Clarke, the point did not occur to us as a potential problem.  (And,  

      because of who Mike is, it was not a problem for us.)     

      The full extent of the friction between Clarke and Rice/Hadley did not  

      come out when Clarke  was questioned by the Joint Inquiry.  Nor was it  

      apparent from his other prior statements.  Those were the main materials  

      we had in those early days.   

      Philip 

 

@@@@@@

Feb. 9, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Feb 9, 2007 5:05 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

 

Thanks.

But so I’m clear, did you recuse yourself without prompting?  (As you

know, this became a huge issue over time for the “Jersey Girls” and some

of the other family advocates. And if you get Dick Clarke talking about

this issue…..)

The impression I had from others is that you thought, even in late 2003,

that a recusal was unnecessary —  that the conflict of interest, if any,

was minor, as you suggest in your last answers.

But I’m told that Marcus and some of the commisssioners felt differently

and that there had been discussion with you of a complete recusal on NSC

issues.

The compromise was a decision to have you recuse yourself on transition

issues (or so I was told).

I’ll try to run this all by Marcus.

And I promise to move on….

 

 

@@@@@@

Forwarded conversation

Subject: Re: More Responses

————————

Feb. 9, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

From:

Date: Feb 9, 2007 6:44 PM

To: Philip Shenon

I donlt recall how the decision on my recusal arose, only that I probably  

      sought Dan’s advice and that this had been settled around the time, early  

      on, that we decided on my interview.   

        

      The bid to push me out of all NSC work came later and was a separate  

      matter.  It would have had the prompt and foreseeable effect of forcing my  

      resignation.  Just take a  minute to reflect on all the other restrictions  

      on my work that would necessarily flow from that one.  The strategem was  

      pretty obvious, and I saw no sign that most commissioners wanted this.   

      Tom and Lee did not raise it with me.   

        

      Philip  

 

@@@@@@ 

Feb. 10, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Feb 10, 2007 10:09 AM

To: “mailto:pzelikow >

My intrusion on your weekend…

****

1) Was it clear in your mind when you signed up what had gone wrong on the

Warren Commission, the Pearl Harbor investigation, etc, (apart from

inadequate access, review of the evidence?) Did you need to go back and

review any the history of those panels? To your mind, was their a best

model for this sort of investigation? Was there one commission that seemed

to have been especially successful because it had a joint

non-partisan/bipartisan staff?

2) There was certainly a perception very early on the staff that you

wanted to centralize authority in the front office—and make that move

clear to the staff. Was that a fair perception?

3) There’s an interesting, thoughful early memo you send out to the staff.

Sort of a rules of the road. Staffers praise the memo—certainly it gave

them an early indication of your writing talents—although the directions

on how to deal with commissioners rubbed many the wrong way. You direct

them, if they receive calls from commisisoners, to refer the calls to the

front office. It was seen, fairly or unfairly, as an effort to block

communciation between the staff and the commissioners.  What was the

intent of that direction? Gorelick told me she protested and had that

directive reversed. Was it reversed?

4) Was the Sept. 20 cutoff for the investigation your idea? Did you feel

strongly about it? (As you know, some members of the staff felt it set an

artificial boundary that made it difficult to judge the performance of the

Bush administration, federal agencies, much beyond 9/11/.) A couple of

staffers describe an early meeting at which you became very angry when

someone suggested investigating issues that went beyond Sept. 20.

5) When did you first read the joint inquiry report? Can you describe the

circumstances of it. Did you go over and sit in Eleanor Hill’s office? Did

you do it at one sitting?

6) A broad question, I know. But what did you make of the joint inquiry

and its report? Were you impressed, not impressed?

7) I understand the restrictions in discussing the famous 27 redacted

pages from the joint inquiry report. But I get two views on them from your

former staffers—a) that they are a bunch of loosely connected facts that

amount to little or b) that they are damning evidence against an American

ally that the 9/11 commission needed to follow up on urgently. (Senator

Graham, who is no fan of the 9/11 commission, as you know, has said on the

record that they are strong evidence that Saudi Arabia had “spies” in the

United States who suported at least two of the 9/11 hijackers.)  What was

your view of the value of the 27 pages?

8) Did you know any of the other commissioners, apart from Slade?

9) A follow-up from earlier: When did you begin debate in school? High

school? If it caused you to switch colleges and head off to exotic

California, I suspect you must have been very talented? Did you win

awards? (I was on the debate team in high school but gave up after it

became clear that I could never compete with the likes of you!)

10) How was it that you were born in New York? What caused your family to

move to Texas? Was it quite early in your childhood?

*****

Thanks.

Feb. 12, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Feb 12, 2007 12:45 PM

To: Philip Shenon

 

      I did recall or review the history of those panels (there were a number of  

      Pearl Harbor investigations) and others that are less well known (like  

      President Johnson’s crime control commisson in the late 1960s), including  

      some British experiences.  But there was no model.  These past experiences  

      suggest questions and possibilities; then one must draw answers from the  

      facts and circumstances at hand.   

      Rather than see a model in a commission with a unitary and nonpartisan  

      staff, mostly it was just the opposite—there were few if any models for  

      success when the commission or committee operated on partisan lines with  

      member-directed sub-investigations.     

      I had just directed two efforts—the Carter-Ford commission on federal  

      election reform, which was a quite difficult and politicized topic in  

      2001, and the Markle Task Force.  The Congressional Joint Inquiry was  

      another recent example to consider.   

      From my own experience and others, including the Joint Inquiry, it was  

      good to have a well organized and managed staff.  We actually delegated  

      quite a bit of authority by creating the ‘team leader’ structure and  

      giving the team leaders significant scope to organize and manage their  

      team’s work.  Other investigative efforts were actually more centralized  

      than ours.  Thus our selection of team leaders and relationships with them  

      were important.  

      Again, this was drawn from experience.  There are at least two dangers.    

      First is the issue of who can task assignments to the staff.  If any  

      commissioner can call staffers directly, usually the dynamic is one in  

      which there are questions, the staffer is asked to answer them, or feels  

      obliged to answer—because the individual staffers are obviously going to  

      try to be deferential to the telephoning commissioner.  So you give them  

      an instruction that can help them be courteous but protect the management  

      of their time, and the staffer can cite a general instruction so he or she  

      doesn’t have to feel put on the spot to be perceived as unresponsive or  

      uncooperative.     

      Second is the issue of how to get good information to commissioners.  On a  

      number of subjects, multiple teams and multiple individuals on a team may  

      be working on a problem.  The job of the front office, if commissioners  

      have a question, is to get them an answer that reflects these different  

      threads of work, or else the commissioners can easily get a mistaken  

      understanding of what is going on or what folks have figured out.  Once  

      these mistaken impressions take hold, it can sometimes be difficult, even  

      with very conscientious people, to get folks to focus on new or more  

      cumulative information.   

      The directive laid out the principle, and the discussion with  

      commissioners about it sensitized at least some of them to the hazards we  

      were trying to counter.  On the other hand, they had needs too.  What  

      developed was a generally workable balance.  Commissioners generally  

      understood the norm, but it was managed in a way to avoid an unduly rigid  

      approach and to mitigate some of their understandable worries.  

      All of us recognized the need to set some date boundaries, especially as  

      we drafted our information requests.  You may not have talked to some of  

      those who were on the other side of this argument, that we didn’t need  

      anything beyond September 11 at all.  And the September 20 choice was not  

      rigid.  Depending on the information needed, some of our information  

      requests were broader.   

      In some of our document requests some would also have gone earlier.   

      Usually we started in 1998, but on some issues we went much further back.   

      Again one can debate the pros and cons.  

      We had to look at the mandate, and figure out where the commission’s work  

      ends and we become more of a congressional oversight body.  What some  

      folks may not see, too, is that each of these choices carry opportunity  

      costs.     

      It is obviously incorrect to suggest that I would be angry about  

      “investigating issues that went beyond Sept. 20.”  We spent a lot of time  

      investigating current policy to counter terrorism, including many measures  

      adopted after Sept 20, and this is apparent in our report.     

      We tended instead to draw a line between plenary inquiries into how  

      decisions were made, which we carried up to Sept 20, and an investigation  

      into what the current policies are and how they are being implemented—on  

      which we ran our work right up to the present day.  The significance of  

      Sept 20 is that it was a pretty clean dividing line for the most  

      immediate, emergency responses to the attacks, since it was when the  

      President completed announcement of the first large-scale round of  

      responses.  Dan, Chris, and I all thought this made sense, and the  

      Commission agreed.     

      We had some significant arguments on this with the administration, which  

      didn’t understand why we wanted anything after September 11, but we  

      prevailed.  

      If any staffer had a particular case about a factual issue that required  

      more documents postdating Sept 20, we were glad to look at it.  But we  

      sometimes had to check the natural impulse, especially among some who had  

      worked on the Hill, to think about their agenda in the way they would have  

      if they were on a congressional oversight committee.  In some cases our  

      role was much greater, and our access to people and information much  

      greater.  In some cases different.   

      I don’t remember the date.  It was early in 2003.  I did first read it in  

      the Joint Inquiry offices, which is where I had to do a lot of the initial  

      work with their materials.  This was true for other staffers too.   

      (Another source of friction and difficulty, involving both Congress and  

      the administration.)    

      Their mandate was much narrower than ours.  Within their mandate I thought  

      they had done an impressive amount of work, especially in the time  

      available to them and given the constraints they faced.  Their staff also  

      ran out of time to do much additional investigative work after their  

      hearings began.  

      They were a set of important investigative leads.  These leads deserved  

      intense, immediate attention and followup work.  

      I am familiar with Senator Graham’s views, and spent hours with him in  

      2004.  We ended up obtaining and developing much more evidence on the  

      matters he was concerned about.  It is hard, for example, to see how one  

      can develop firm conclusions about the behavior of various Saudis from an  

      investigation that did not interview any Saudis.  Even if one doesn’t like  

      them, that should be part of the process of coming to judgment.   

      Partly because of the preoccupation with the Saudi angle, obviously  

      important as it is, I’ve always been struck by the relative inattention to  

      the more ominous findings we offered on other leads, as with people like  

      Mohdar Abdullah and Anwar Aulaqi, who happen to be Yemenis.  

      I was acquainted with Jamie Gorelick and John Lehman.I began in high  

      school, in Houston.  I did ok in college.  It feels silly now to recite  

      awards.My father’s work took him to Houston off and on after WW2, and we  

      moved there permanently in the mid-1950s.  It’s the only place I remember  

      from my childhood.   

 

@@@@@@ 

Feb. 12, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———- From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Feb 12, 2007 12:45 PM

To: Philip Shenon

I was acquainted with Jamie Gorelick and John Lehman. I began in high

school, in Houston.  I did ok in college.  It feels silly now to recite

awards. My father’s work took him to Houston off and on after WW2, and we

moved there permanently in the mid-1950s.  It’s the only place I remember

from my childhood.

———-

 

@@@@@@

Feb. 12, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

 

Date: Feb 12, 2007 9:14 PM

Thanks.

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Feb 12, 2007 9:14 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

Thanks again.

A few follow-ups:

3) About that directive. Does Gorelick have it right, though? She says she

protested and had that directive “reversed” — her word—which allowed

staff to freely answer inquiries from commissioners.

4) But with the understanding that Sept. 20 wasn’t hard and fast limit,

was it your idea that Sept. 20 be set as a “guideline” date?

7) What did you make of Mohdar Abdullah and Anwar Aulaqi? Do you have a

sense who “tasked” them to help?

9) I know you don’t want to brag about debate awards. But it’s

significant, I think, that you uprooted yourself from Texas to go to

college in California to take advantage of the debate program. You must

have been very good, no? (I’ve met no one who questions your talent at

debate….)

10) What was your father’s work?

Thanks.

 

@@@@@@

Feb. 18, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Feb 18, 2007 4:39 PM

To: Philip Shenon <

There was no formal reversal.  But I thought her concerns and those of  

      others had merit, and I think my description reflected the resulting,  

      sensible compromise and captures the reality of how it generally worked  

      out, with staff being responsive while staff and commissioners understood  

      the competing concerns to make sure answers were coordinated and accurate,  

      and to protect the management of staff time.  

      For document requests of the kind I described.  For that particular kind  

      of document request we needed to pick an end date, and September 20 was  

      our default guideline for those.  No one ever really proposed a  

      satisfactory alternative, except for those who thought we should cut off  

      at September 11.  

      My colleagues and I said what we wanted to say about this in the report.   

      We took those issues about as far as a set of outside investigators could  

      take them. 

      Still don’t want to tell college stories.  Intercolleigate debate, as it  

      was practiced back then, was also a rather technical and specialized  

      craft.  It was valuable experience in policy research and analysis. 

      He worked in local TV production and advertising, and later with  

      introducing Spanish-language TV.   

        

          

@@@@@@ 

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Feb 22, 2007 12:56 PM

Subject: 2/22/07 questions

To: Philip Zelikow

 

Thanks again.

Your modesty forced me to go back and look. Redlands debate society—the

award-winning team of Zelikow and Fabiani! I know Mark from ages ago. You

two must have made quite a team. You’re right about Redlands. That is a

remarkable national record over many years.

Anyway, another 10 questions:

1) “Without Precedent” describes an early meeting that you have in New

York with Bloomberg’s aides. You apparently get an unfriendly reception:

(From the book: “The first words from the mayor’s staff were: ‘What are

you doing here?’ albeit said in a somewhat more colorful language.”) Do

you recall which aide/s? Was this at City Hall? What was the more colorful

language? Did you have a sense why the reception was so hostile?

2) Were there some federal agencies that were especially cooperative from

early on? Did any of them surprise you with their willingness to help? (I

was told the NSA was surprisingly helpful.)

3) Were there some that were especially uncooperative early on? Which

ones?

4) I was told by the staff that, at first, the FBI was very uncooperative.

Apparently the “plot” team at some point puts together a petition to

insist on greater cooperation from the FBI. Is that right? What changed at

the FBI?

5) Several of the commissioners have described Bob Mueller’s “charm” or

“lobbying” campaign to win them over (to allow Mueller to see his reforms

through without an overhaul of the bureau). He offers breakfasts, lunches,

dinners, meetings anytime, anywhere. Were you aware of the campaign? Did

Mueller try it on you?

6) A broad question, I know, but here goes: Some of the commissioners and

staff have argued to me that the FBI was a much more fundamentally

“broken” agency than the CIA—the CIA’s overall competence was far greater,

certainly in dealing with terrorist threats. Do you think there is any

truth in that? If so, is that a realization that you had early on? (Some

of the commissioners, as you know, now regret not having called for a

broad overhaul of the FBI, if not a break-up.)

7) I’m traveling this week and don’t have my copies of the KSG case study.

But I believe I’ve read that you prepared an outline of the final report

very early on, perhaps within the first weeks of the investigation. Is

that right?

8) Was it your original plan to write the whole report (with Professor

May)? If so, do you recall when it was that you realized this was not

going to be possible?

9) Did you choose which staff members went to which teams? How did you

choose team leaders?

10) Let me play devil’s advocate, with Ben Veniste the devil. Ben Veniste

is critical of the way the team structure operated, especially the

requirement that information be funneled up to the front office, with the

front office deciding how it should be shared. Others have said this

duplicated some of the intelligence agency “stovepiping” that the

commission was investigating. Is there any truth in that? Can you

understand why some might see it that way?

 

Thank you.

 

@@@@@@

 

 

March 6, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

————————

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Mar 6, 2007 11:30 PM

To: mailto:shenon

 

      Sorry about the delay in replying.  I have been overseas, and am in India  

      at the moment, but did want to get back to you.  Answers are below: 

       

 

Your modesty forced me to go back and look. Redlands debate society—the

award-winning team of Zelikow and Fabiani! I know Mark from ages ago. You

two must have made quite a team. You’re right about Redlands. That is a

remarkable national record over many years.

Anyway, another 10 questions:

1) “Without Precedent” describes an early meeting that you have in New

York with Bloomberg’s aides. You apparently get an unfriendly reception:

(From the book: “The first words from the mayor’s staff were: ‘What are

you doing here?’ albeit said in a somewhat more colorful language.”) Do

you recall which aide/s? Was this at City Hall? What was the more colorful

language? Did you have a sense why the reception was so hostile?

The meeting was at City Hall.  My recollection is that John Farmer went  

      with me, maybe Stephanie Kaplan too.  John later termed this our ‘welcome  

      to New York’ meeting.  I don’t remember the aide’s name; he was one of  

      several officials we saw.   

        

      Their position was this:  NYC didn’t cause the 9/11 attack.  The 9/11  

      Commission had nothing to do with them and should leave them alone.    

        

      I replied, firmly, that the statute was reasonably clear on this point.   

      We would be looking at the attack itself and the immediate response, not  

      just in NYC but also in Washington.  But local preparedness and the local  

      response was not only an essential part of the story, it would also be an  

      essential aspect of our policy recommendations.   

        

      As to why they were so hostile, they can answer better than I.  But I  

      think your folks who cover the city regularly will not find this  

      surprising.  

         

2) Were there some federal agencies that were especially cooperative from

early on? Did any of them surprise you with their willingness to help? (I

was told the NSA was surprisingly helpful.)

Agencies tend to take their cues from the leadership.  Mike Hayden, for  

      example, was directing NSA and is highly professional, and someone I had  

      worked with before.  The State Department was also especially cooperative  

      and businesslike.  This was not a surprise to me, but was valuable.  At  

      the local level, Arlington County was also excellent.   

3) Were there some that were especially uncooperative early on? Which

ones?

I was a bit surprised by the initial difficulty we encountered in getting  

      what we needed from the congressional Joint Inquiry’s work, but eventually  

      we worked through that.  At first the main problem was making sure that  

      agencies were getting the guidance we knew they would have to have in  

      figuring out how to deal with us.  Andy Card’s memo in early 2003 was very  

      helpful in setting things in motion, obliging agencies to designate POCs,  

      etc.   

        

4) I was told by the staff that, at first, the FBI was very uncooperative.

Apparently the “plot” team at some point puts together a petition to

insist on greater cooperation from the FBI. Is that right? What changed at

the FBI?

      The situation with the FBI was difficult and uneven.  They were scarred  

      and wary from an experience with the Joint Inquiry that had left bad  

      feelings on both sides.  They were still involved in what they regarded as  

      an ongoing set of criminal investigations.   

        

      Other than the obvious things, there were two major demands we wanted FBI  

      to accept.  First, we told them we planned to carry the investigation  

      outside of DC and physically get out to some of their major field offices,  

      speaking directly with case agents and assessing current progress.     

        

      Second, we eventually realized that the traditional document request  

      methods just would not suffice for us to be able to get the level of  

      detail we needed for the plot team and, to some extent, for the terrorist  

      finance team as well.  We would need more direct access to their case file  

      system.  Obviously that presented some tough problems for them.  As any  

      prosecutor knows, raw case files contain sensitive information of many  

      kinds, including a great deal of chaff and rubbish that may sound  

      sensational but doesn’t check out.  So there is great potential for misuse  

      and abuse.  The plot team appreciated the significance of what they were  

      requesting, but united to make a compelling case.  I was involved enough  

      in the details of this work to see that they were right.   

        

      We ultimately had to insist on the necessity of this kind of access to FBI  

      files in meetings directly with Bob Mueller and his senior leadership.   

      FBI gave way.  Perhaps to their surprise, they found that our people were  

      highly professional and discreet.  They also came to realize that we  

      appreciated how much we were standing on the shoulders of the largest  

      criminal investigation ever conducted in the history of the United States.  

         

5) Several of the commissioners have described Bob Mueller’s “charm” or

“lobbying” campaign to win them over (to allow Mueller to see his reforms

through without an overhaul of the bureau). He offers breakfasts, lunches,

dinners, meetings anytime, anywhere. Were you aware of the campaign? Did

Mueller try it on you?

      Sure we were aware of Bob’s efforts.  He spoke with me too on various  

      occasions.  What ensued was a good dialogue, since Bob was making the case  

      that:  ‘I get it.  We are changing the Bureau.’  And we could then engage  

      him directly with our questions and challenges.  Their reform program  

      actually evolved during the process of his interactions with the  

      Commission, even before we issued our report — which then took account of  

      the changes.    

         

6) A broad question, I know, but here goes: Some of the commissioners and

staff have argued to me that the FBI was a much more fundamentally

“broken” agency than the CIA—the CIA’s overall competence was far greater,

certainly in dealing with terrorist threats. Do you think there is any

truth in that? If so, is that a realization that you had early on? (Some

of the commissioners, as you know, now regret not having called for a

broad overhaul of the FBI, if not a break-up.)

         

      There is truth in your statement about FBI being more ‘broken’, and I may  

      well have made that observation myself, at the time.  

        

      As the report describes, the FBI is organized to do criminal  

      investigations.  Hoover had gotten them into the intelligence collection  

      business, with tragic results that then caused most of that establishment  

      to be scrapped.  So they were haltingly rebuilding an intelligence  

      collection capability and an even more embryonic analytical capability.     

 

        

      In other words, FBI was trying to develop basic organizational  

      capabilities — and all the training, routines, and organizational culture  

      that go with them.  CIA’s problems were not so fundamental.  

        

      We spent a lot of time on the arguments about breaking up the FBI, the  

      domestic MI5, etc.  None of those recommendations solve the problem of  

      building organizational capability.  So the argument then became the  

      inability to have intelligence work coexist alongside criminal  

      investigative work.  Hence we would have a purpose-built federal  

      intelligence collection capability implanted in all American cities,  

      alongside (and adding more friction to) the FBI and the state and local  

      authorities (some of which, like the NYPD, were already deeply in the  

      intelligence business).   

        

      We looked hard at MI5, which is an agency I knew reasonably well.   Many  

      people don’t understand how small MI5 is, and (a) how much it operates as  

      a planner and coordinator of work actually carried out by others, usually  

      the police; and (b) how it is a worldwide organization, not a domestic  

      service.   

        

      The recommended design of the NCTC was thus significantly influenced by  

      the MI5 model.  But I was careful never to tell people it could be an  

      ‘American MI5’ because of the preconceptions and baggage people would  

      attach to that description — some of it quite inaccurate.   

        

7) I’m traveling this week and don’t have my copies of the KSG case study.

But I believe I’ve read that you prepared an outline of the final report

very early on, perhaps within the first weeks of the investigation. Is

that right?

      That is right.  The team organization in part came out of early thinking  

      about the  ultimate work product the teams would produce.   

         

8) Was it your original plan to write the whole report (with Professor

May)? If so, do you recall when it was that you realized this was not

going to be possible?

    There is some confusion on this point, and I’m probably at fault for it.    

        

        

      I didn’t know how the report would get written.  I knew it shouldn’t just  

      be a stitched together compendium of team reports — a patchwork quilt.  So  

      there had to be some integrating authorial role, and I knew I would play  

      some part in that.  I knew the task would be beyond me, so expected that  

      May’s help would certainly be needed too.  But the concrete task was  

      daunting and I hadn’t really figured out how it would get done.     

        

      So for much of 2003 I left me (and Ernie) as the kind of default  

      placeholder for how it would get done, but this was just to have something  

      to say until I could figure out a recommendation to the Commission for how  

      we would actually tackle this daunting task and how it could get done.   

      Naturally this left people worried about how it would get done, and how  

      they would play in the process.  I was worried about it too, but it  

      wouldn’t help much to fret openly about it.   

        

      Later in 2003 we developed the idea of team monographs — and the related  

      staff statements — to address several goals:  (i) a vehicle for staff to  

      get their work on paper and start refining it; (ii) a base from which  

      staff statements and material for the report could be drawn; and (iii) a  

      form for possible separate publication of highly detailed annexes to the  

      principal report itself, if we could get such material in a publishable  

      condition.  At one time I even thought the report might be accompanied by  

      seven to ten such monograph volumes.   

        

      By early 2004, as the qualities of various staffers and the work was  

      getting clearer, we developed the idea of tasking draft sections from  

      individual staffers, chosen on merit and given freedom to write more  

      freely than they could if it was a collective authorship — knowing it  

      would all get scrubbed many different ways.     

        

      The staff statement process was critical in figuring out ways to do group  

      drafting and fashion a ‘Commission’ style.  

        

      I shouldered some of the initial drafting burden, joined by Ernest in some  

      cases.  In most sections others did the initial drafts.  In some cases my  

      editorial role, and that of my front office colleagues, was significant.   

      In some other cases the quality of draftsmanship coming to us was so high  

      that little or no further work was needed.  And then, of course, our  

      drafts went to the commissioners.   

        

        

9) Did you choose which staff members went to which teams? How did you

choose team leaders?

I made those judgments together with Chris, and usually also with Dan.    

        

      Team leaders were chosen based on experience and the usual mix of personal  

      and professional qualities.  Chris and I reviewed the team leader choices  

      in detail with Tom and Lee, and more generally with all the commissioners.  

        

        

10) Let me play devil’s advocate, with Ben Veniste the devil. Ben Veniste

is critical of the way the team structure operated, especially the

requirement that information be funneled up to the front office, with the

front office deciding how it should be shared. Others have said this

duplicated some of the intelligence agency “stovepiping” that the

commission was investigating. Is there any truth in that? Can you

understand why some might see it that way?

      Take a few minutes and hypothesize how this alternative structure would  

      have actually worked in practice.  … You see.  And, though such a  

      structure might have worked better for Richard personally, it would have  

      necessarily then left the Commission less obliged to work collectively  

      under the guidance of Tom and Lee.     

        

      The front office did not control information sharing.  That was usually  

      limited by classification issues.  In fact we created good databases of  

      material that cleared staffers could access, from whatever team.    

        

      I have heard the stovepiping argument, but have not heard any concrete  

      examples of how it damaged our work.  Everyone in a project tends to want  

      to know everything they can and complete information sharing in an  

      organization is always elusive.  So some concerns are to be expected, but  

      we needed to listen and adapt as best we could.  The development of the  

      shared databases was a key adaptation.   

        

      Related to this was a phenomenon we discovered — our ability to replicate,  

      as if in a laboratory,  some of the same interagency friction that we were  

      observing in the government at large, as the teams internalized some of  

      the attitudes they were so carefully recording.  We could see the symptoms  

      and try to address them.   

        

      There was only one principal division of information access, driven by the  

      need to have one work/dataspace that could handle — and broadly distribute  

      — sensitive compartmented information (SCI) among a significant portion of  

      the staff, and another workspace that did not need all the extraordinary  

      security features that go with the former workspace.  One staffer did tell  

      me of an instance where a member of our staff who had worked for Richard  

      in his Whitewater job had joined Richard at the SCI workspace on a  

      weekend.  Since the staffer lacked the requisite clearances, he had to be  

      asked to leave.  That kind of experience can indeed be irritating.   

        

      To give you a concrete illustration of how we worked to avoid stovepiping,  

      a good one is the way we used Barbara Grewe.  She had originally led Team  

      6 and had real mastery of DOJ and FBI materials, including from her work  

      with the DOJ IG.  During 2004 we concluded that her talents could be more  

      effectively employed if we pulled her out of Team 6, brought in a  

      different leader for that team, but brought Barbara into the CIA part of  

      the work and give her a lead role in developing our draft on some of the  

      specific FBI-CIA operational problems before 9/11 and on the ‘summer of  

      threat.’  She ultimately became our lead drafter for chapter eight of the  

      report, with invaluable knowledge of all the relevant material across the  

      agencies.   

        

      Or, as another illustration, we also developed — with the particular help  

      of Warren Bass — a comprehensive, rolling chronology of policy activities  

      that we distributed among a number of staffers on different teams.  This  

      could be used in preparing for interviews that involved issues for  

      multiple teams, and was continuously updated until the later stages of our  

      work, at which point the document was superseded by the drafting process  

      itself.   

Thank you.

 

@@@@@@ 

        

        

 

March 12, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

— End of Forwarded Message

———-

From: Philip Shenon <

Date: Mar 12, 2007 6:19 AM

To: Philip Zelikow

>

Many thanks again. I envy you India—it was my winter vacation this year.

Wrote chapter outlines from a hotel room in Jodhpur….

A few follow-ups to your last set of answers:

1) About the FBI and Bob Mueller. I’ve heard it argued repeatedly that Bob

Mueller “saved” the FBI, if only because he could not be held responsible

for the pre-9/11 bungling and seemed eager to cooperate with the

commission. Did it occur to you that if Freeh had still been director

during the commission’s investigation, that the commission might have

moved for a breakup of the bureau or at least a much more dramatic

overhaul?

2) As a student of government, were you surprised/appalled/horrified at

the extent of the FBI’s bungling before 9/11? Moussaoui, the Phoenix memo,

San Diego, to say nothing of its decrepit technology, dismal

bureaucracy… Was there one disclosure about the bureau’s failures that

was a particular jaw-dropper for you?

3) Among the commissioners, there is some real contempt for Louis Freeh

and his leadership, or lack thereof, of the FBI. Is that something you

share?

4) I know that several members of the FBI “team” wanted a far more

dramatic overhaul of the FBI than was recommended by the commission. Were

you aware of that? Were the commissioners aware of that? (The staffers

felt that Christine Healey was far too forgiving of the bureau’s sins.)

5) On MI-5, did you participate in this wonderful meeting with Eliza

Manningham-Buller? It’s mentioned in “Without Precedent.” Did she impress

you? Was she indeed someone out of Le Carre?

6) She is apparently asked at that meeting about how the United States

might duplicate the (relative) British success in Northern Ireland. I was

told that she didn’t that it a good comparison to what might be

accomplished in the United States, since Northern Ireland was easy

pickings for terrorist watchers—“a shooting gallery” or a “hunting party.”

Is that right?

7) Any other strong memory from that meeting? Was it important in the

commission’s decision not to recommend an MI5-like agency here?

8) You salute Hayden and the NSA’s cooperation. Do you think the

commission adequately made use of the NSA’s archives in the investigation.

I’ve heard it argued from staff that there were many NSA archives that

were never explored as they should have been. (I understand that the

last-minute flurry of activity over Iran-Al Qaeda came from what was found

in the NSA files.)

9) Can you tell me what happened on the Iran material? I understand that

after it’s brought to your attention, you hurriedly (and obviously,

properly) organize an early-morning field trip to Fort Meade on a Saturday

in June or July to look for the raw material.

10) Did that incident cause you any worry that other NSA material might

have been missed?

Thanks.

 

 

@@@@@@

March 14, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

On 3/14/07, Philip Zelikow  wrote:

Answers below.

On 3/12/07 7:19 AM, “Philip Shenon” <

wrote:

Many thanks again. I envy you India—it was my winter vacation this year.

Wrote chapter outlines from a hotel room in Jodhpur….

A few follow-ups to your last set of answers:

1) About the FBI and Bob Mueller. I’ve heard it argued repeatedly that Bob

Mueller “saved” the FBI, if only because he could not be held responsible

for the pre-9/11 bungling and seemed eager to cooperate with the

commission. Did it occur to you that if Freeh had still been director

during the commission’s investigation, that the commission might have

moved for a breakup of the bureau or at least a much more dramatic

overhaul?

      The key elements in Mueller’s message were that he understood the problems  

      and that he was moving on a significant, detailed agenda for institutional  

      reform.  The FBI had to change its approach to intelligence collection and  

      analysis, and start addressing the related issues of recruitment,  

      training, and organizational culture.  Had Freeh still been director, the  

      question would have been whether he could credibly state that he  

      recognized these problems and was acting vigorously to address them.  One  

      way or another, the Commission would have recommended that the FBI address  

      these concerns.   

        

      We also had some insight into how the Bureau had worked some post-9/11  

      cases.  

        

      Thus for Mueller the issue became whether the Commission was reasonably  

      sure his agenda was misconceived and that we felt reasonably confident we  

      could propose a better plan — understanding that any plan would take years  

      to take hold.   

2) As a student of government, were you surprised/appalled/horrified at

the extent of the FBI’s bungling before 9/11? Moussaoui, the Phoenix memo,

San Diego, to say nothing of its decrepit technology, dismal

bureaucracy… Was there one disclosure about the bureau’s failures that

was a particular jaw-dropper for you?

      I don’t recall being so shocked.  As you know, I had looked at these  

      problems for years, while at Harvard and in my PFIAB service.    

        

      Before rushing to join the lynch mob, it was also important to keep an eye  

      on the Bureau’s strengths.  We were very impressed with the old-fashioned,  

      sweat the details, thoroughness of many aspects of the Bureau’s post-facto  

      investigation of 9/11.  It spotlights some of the strengths in their work  

      ethic, especially in tough criminal investigations.  The challenge then is  

      to build on those strengths, and the Bureau’s reach and contacts in many  

      American cities, in reflecting on whether it can be fixed, and how.   

        

      The alternative, as mentioned in my other message, is to build a new  

      agency — a project easily underestimated and misunderstood, fraught with  

      potential pitfalls of its own.  What approach was most likely, in the  

      relative near-term, to strengthen protection of the country (including its  

      traditional values)?   

        

3) Among the commissioners, there is some real contempt for Louis Freeh

and his leadership, or lack thereof, of the FBI. Is that something you

share?

No.  Though Freeh has mentioned me in some of his attacks, I don’t return  

      the hostility.  I respected the hard work he had done on Khobar, and  

      believed his views on that were substantially right.        

        

      I don’t know him very well — did not participate in the interview of him —  

      and had not been close to the battles of the Clinton administration which  

      colored so many views.  I did think the broken relationship between the  

      White House and the FBI during those years hurt the country.        

        

      As for his wider management of the Bureau, I played an active role in  

      choosing how to describe that in our staff statement and in the report,  

      and you know what we said.  

4) I know that several members of the FBI “team” wanted a far more

dramatic overhaul of the FBI than was recommended by the commission. Were

you aware of that? Were the commissioners aware of that? (The staffers

felt that Christine Healey was far too forgiving of the bureau’s sins.)

There were differences of view within the team, and among the  

      commissioners.  I had, and have, some regard for Christine’s maturity and  

      experience in judging this matter.  Christine herself was scrupulously  

      fair in presenting the spectrum of views within her staff.   In weighing  

      the advice, it was important to think about how much of it was informed by  

      experience in overseeing or studying the management of government  

      institutions.        

        

      I made my arguments to the commissioners, as did Christine, and the  

      commissioners also heard from several other points of view before finally  

      deciding how to proceed.  This was one of the few issues in the policy  

      recommendations on which commissioners had a prolonged debate.   

        

5) On MI-5, did you participate in this wonderful meeting with Eliza

Manningham-Buller? It’s mentioned in “Without Precedent.” Did she impress

you? Was she indeed someone out of Le Carre?

      I did participate in that meeting.  I had already met with her, and some  

      of her coworkers, in London both in this job and before.  She has a good,  

      no-nonsense style.    

        

      Incidentally, the Commission also heard from the chief of Australia’s  

      “MI-5” equivalent and we gave them material on other foreign approaches —  

      Israel, Germany, etc.   

6) She is apparently asked at that meeting about how the United States

might duplicate the (relative) British success in Northern Ireland. I was

told that she didn’t that it a good comparison to what might be

accomplished in the United States, since Northern Ireland was easy

pickings for terrorist watchers—“a shooting gallery” or a “hunting party.”

Is that right?

I don’t recall that question, but I think I know her views on Northern  

      Ireland, and don’t believe she said, or would have said, it was “easy  

      pickings” or a “shooting gallery” or “hunting party.”  That’s not her  

      view.  The British did believe they had penetrated the organization  

      through the success of long, very hard (and somewhat controversial)  

      intelligence efforts.   

7) Any other strong memory from that meeting? Was it important in the

commission’s decision not to recommend an MI5-like agency here?

      She certainly didn’t think her institution was easily translatable to the  

      American setting, and that argument may have had some weight for some  

      commissioners.   

        

8) You salute Hayden and the NSA’s cooperation. Do you think the

commission adequately made use of the NSA’s archives in the investigation.

I’ve heard it argued from staff that there were many NSA archives that

were never explored as they should have been. (I understand that the

last-minute flurry of activity over Iran-Al Qaeda came from what was found

in the NSA files.)

We obtained the needed material.  The question is whether the relevant  

      staffers went through the material as thoroughly as we might like.  In the  

      CIA and FBI cases, I have more firsthand knowledge of how we mined the  

      holdings.  In this case I’m not as well informed, and would defer to the  

      judgments of folks like Lloyd Salvetti and Doug MacEachin on this.        

        

      A few points may help provide perspective, though.  

        

      1. Any NSA material regarded as significant at the time was incorporated  

      into the intelligence community assessments that we went over very  

      thoroughly.  For instance, quite a bit of the intelligence in the ‘summer  

      of threat’ originated in NSA reporting.   

        

      2. We cut into some of this material from other angles as well, pursuing  

      specific leads.  

        

      3. Part of the problem in the Iran case was that NSA’s view was not picked  

      up on or reported to policymakers by the CIA in drafting its assessments  

      for the intelligence community as a whole.  It was a kind of dissenting  

      view, and no one had alerted us to its existence.  Fortunately we found it  

      in some last ‘due diligence’ canvassing of material toward the end,  

      appreciated its significance, and jumped on it.  There were differing  

      views in the staff on how to interpret and describe these findings in a  

      way that was rigorous and fair; I ended up examining the material directly  

      and drafting the synthesis that appears in the report — having checked my  

      draft with the other staffers on three different teams who had worked on  

      various aspects, to be sure they agreed it was a fair statement of the  

      evidence.   

        

      In effect, all we could do was present a set of questions that only the US  

      government could answer, with further work, and ask the government to do  

      that work.  

9) Can you tell me what happened on the Iran material? I understand that

after it’s brought to your attention, you hurriedly (and obviously,

properly) organize an early-morning field trip to Fort Meade on a Saturday

in June or July to look for the raw material.

      See above.  MacEachin, Salvetti, and Lorry Fenner played invaluable parts.  

 

10) Did that incident cause you any worry that other NSA material might

have been missed?

I never felt complacent, and remain ready to believe someone may, in the  

      future, find evidence we missed or didn’t know about.  But, because of the  

      points I mentioned above, because we had good staffers working the  

      material, and because of the repeated combing through available material  

      not just by us but by others, we felt we were able to go forward with our  

      report.   

Thanks.

 

@@@@@@ 

 

March 14, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Mar 14, 2007 11:40 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

And Iran raises the question of Iraq…

1) Going into the investigation, did you have a view on the question of

whether there had been substantial cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda?

2) Did you ever suspect a link, direct or indirect, between Iraq and 9/11?

3) I spent several hours with John Lehman for the book, and obviously he

was a big promoter of the idea of the Iraq-Qaeda link through much of the

investigation. He now suggests that he, like many people, was misled by

the administration about the evidence. Did you feel misled at all?

4) The decision to have Laurie Mylorie testify at one of the public

hearings created a good deal of suspicion among the families and some of

the commissioners, Ben Veniste in particular. Dan Marcus said her

appearance was controversial among the staff, as well, and that he thought

it had been entirely your decision to have her appear. Is that correct?

Why did you decide to have her appear?

5) Had you had any sort of professional dealings with Mylorie previously?

6) Were you surprised by what she had to say at the hearing? (I went back

and read the transcript yesterday; her testimony was remarkable.)

7) Brass tacks: There was a sense among several staffers that you were

eager, at least early on, to try to have the commission demonstrate an

Iraq-Qaeda connection. Do you think you were?

8) I’m told by several staffers that you rewrote State Statement #5 to

suggest a clear, collaborative link between Iraq and Al Qaeda—there had

been no such statement in the draft written by Scott Allan, apparently—and

that this created a good deal of anger and anxiety on the staff. It took

their (diplomatic) protests in a meeting in the commission’s conference

room on K Street to have the statement suggesting the link removed. Is

that account right? (Among the people in the room: MacEachin, Hawley,

Albion, Hurley….)

9) Did you support the way the commission, in the final report, described

the links (or lack thereof) between Iraq and Al Qaeda?

10) Were you surprised at how aggressively VP Cheney tried to rebut the

commission’s description of the Iraq-Qaeda link (or lack thereof) in the

earlier staff statement?

Thanks.

 

@@@@@@

 

March 15, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

On 3/15/07 12:40 AM, “Philip Shenon” <

mailto: > wrote:

And Iran raises the question of Iraq…

1) Going into the investigation, did you have a view on the question of

whether there had been substantial cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda?

 

      I knew that Iraq had supported other terrorist organizations, mainly in  

      the Palestinian context.    

        

      I had followed some of the debate on Iraq’s relationship to al Qaeda but  

      didn’t have an analytical view of my own.  I did not attach much credit to  

      the argument that al Qaeda wouldn’t have anything to do with a secular  

      dictator like Saddam.  On the other hand, the evidence the administration  

      had cited in the runup to the invasion of Iraq was relatively limited.   

2) Did you ever suspect a link, direct or indirect, between Iraq and 9/11?

 

I wanted to look hard at the evidence.  I heard there was this cell at DOD  

      working on it.  I definitely wanted to be sure we got their documents.   

      But I never ended up seeing any evidence that led me to suspect there was  

      a link between Iraq and the 9/11 attack, and there was quite a bit of  

      evidence to make that scenario seem improbable.

3) I spent several hours with John Lehman for the book, and obviously he

was a big promoter of the idea of the Iraq-Qaeda link through much of the

investigation. He now suggests that he, like many people, was misled by

the administration about the evidence. Did you feel misled at all?

No, because I had never bought into the argument of that faction.  I  

      hadn’t looked at their evidence, and wanted to look at it and see if there  

      was really something there.  

4) The decision to have Laurie Mylorie testify at one of the public

hearings created a good deal of suspicion among the families and some of

the commissioners, Ben Veniste in particular. Dan Marcus said her

appearance was controversial among the staff, as well, and that he thought

it had been entirely your decision to have her appear. Is that correct?

Why did you decide to have her appear?

I influenced most of the witness selections for that hearing.  Given the  

      topic of the hearing, that side of the argument on state sponsorship  

      needed to be represented by someone, and Mylroie was the best choice for  

      that.  She was one of four witnesses on that particular panel.  I was  

      acquainted with her work, and was already skeptical about it, but thought  

      the Commission should hear from that side and get a sense of who these  

      people are.   

It’s true that some folks didn’t want to give her any air time at all.   

      And there were others, including at least one commissioner, who felt those  

      views should be heard.      

        

      I was also mainly responsible for the appearances by Gunaratna and Gilles  

      Kepel, as well as others like Dennis Ross.  Kepel was an important choice,  

      since he argues — along with Olivier Roy — that al Qaeda’s rise is  

      symptomatic of the failure of political Islam, not its growing success.  

        

      The witness I was most pleased about was Marc Sageman, whom I felt was my  

      discovery after I encountered him at a National Academy of Sciences panel  

      and became a promoter of his work. That hearing started a wave of  

      attention to him and his work, which I think is good because he adopts a  

      distinctive and insightful approach to understanding al Qaeda.   

        

5) Had you had any sort of professional dealings with Mylorie previously?

None.  I didn’t know her personally or professionally.    

        

6) Were you surprised by what she had to say at the hearing? (I went back

and read the transcript yesterday; her testimony was remarkable.)

Not too surprised, since I had spent some time with her book and other  

      writings.  As I said, commissioners needed to see/hear this for  

      themselves, since she represented a strand of opinion that had a number of  

      adherents.   

7) Brass tacks: There was a sense among several staffers that you were

eager, at least early on, to try to have the commission demonstrate an

Iraq-Qaeda connection. Do you think you were?

      It’s important to be careful about words, here, because there was an  

      Iraq-Qaeda connection, and the Commission described it.  It just did not  

      mature into a collaborative operational relationship.  And there was no  

      credible evidence of a connection between Iraq and 9/11.        

        

      The context for these old discussions can sometimes be important too.  For  

      instance, we reported accurately that, in 1998-99, Clarke thought there  

      was a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, that the connection might  

      involve chemical weapons development, and that it might even be a bad  

      thing to drive UBL out of Afghanistan because he might then run to  

      Baghdad, which he thought would be worse.  The evidence about the  

      Qaeda-Iraq link turned out not to be as strong as that, but Clarke’s  

      beliefs at the time were sincere and are part of understanding the way  

      people regarded the problem back then.   

        

      I wanted to be sure everyone kept an open mind about the evidence until we  

      were ready to come to judgment.  I think the staffers who were most  

      directly involved in working on this issue understood my approach.   

      Because once we came down on this issue, it would be important.  And it  

      would be vital to say, and show, that we had looked fairly at the evidence  

      and the arguments of both sides — and that had to be true, not just spin.   

            

        

      But it would be quite wrong to say that I wanted the Commission to come to  

      a conclusion that there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11.  I had  

      never made this argument before I joined the Commission, so don’t know why  

      it would have become more appealing to me.  I doubt that the staffers  

      closest to our work on this problem would make such an assertion.  But I  

      understand the concern.  You’re hearing one side of it; if you talked more  

      to folks who tended to side with Bush you could hear another.  This sort  

      of corridor talk is natural.  But it was also one reason I took care  

      throughout my work at the Commission never, in any setting, to express an  

      opinion about the war in Iraq, pro or con.   

        

      When we then came to judgment on how to describe the Iraq connection, I  

      was the initial point person defending it, first to the commmissioners and  

      then to the American people — in that staff statement.  I wanted to put  

      myself behind that judgment and stake my integrity on it.  I took some  

      heat from folks like Safire ( e.g., his column entitled “The Zelikow  

      Report”).  At the time, there was also a spectrum of views about these  

      questions within the Commission.  But at that point I could look anyone in  

      the eye — including any commissioner—and tell them, honestly, that we had  

      looked hard and fairly at this, and there was simply no credible evidence  

      of a connection between Iraq and 9/11.   

        

      On state connections with al Qaeda, Iraq was never the hardest problem,  

      analytically.  Iran was.  

        

8) I’m told by several staffers that you rewrote State Statement #5 to

suggest a clear, collaborative link between Iraq and Al Qaeda—there had

been no such statement in the draft written by Scott Allan, apparently—and

that this created a good deal of anger and anxiety on the staff. It took

their (diplomatic) protests in a meeting in the commission’s conference

room on K Street to have the statement suggesting the link removed. Is

that account right? (Among the people in the room: MacEachin, Hawley,

Albion, Hurley….)

Your first sentence is greatly exaggerated.  Fortunately the Commission’s  

      records will eventually be able to document to anyone just what the  

      disputes were about.  

        

      Although Team 3 had the lead on that statement, they were not really  

      involved in the underlying research on this particular issue, which had to  

      do with a couple of sentences to summarize material we later ended up  

      putting in chapter two of the report.  Some folks on that team didn’t want  

      anything about Iraq to appear in ‘their’ statement, and were very  

      sensitive about that.        

        

      The key point, perhaps forgotten as stories are told and retold, is this:   

      The discussion was not mainly about whether the proposed language was  

      true.  It was about whether it should be in this statement, or another.   

      Some members of the team felt any mention of al Qaeda and Iraq could be  

      misunderstood if it was in a staff statement on diplomatic efforts.  (The  

      contrary argument had been that this related to cataloguing state  

      sponsors, which was connected to the diplomatic story.)  Some staffers  

      also worried that, by attracting press notice, inclusion of the material  

      would distract attention away from their hard work reflected in the rest  

      of the draft statement.  But the substance of the couple of sentences we  

      considered adding — which will be evident in our records—would not now be  

      considered controversial, or even remarkable.   

        

      Others on the staff thought the material should stay in.  The umpire on  

      this particular call (and there were many debates in the drafting  

      processes) really was Chris Kojm, who pointed out that we could just  

      handle this in one of our later statements.  On reflection, I think the  

      complainants (led by Bass) were right on this one.  Those two sentences  

      were indeed better left to a later statement that could deal more directly  

      with how to discuss the Iraq-Qaeda connection.

9) Did you support the way the commission, in the final report, described

the links (or lack thereof) between Iraq and Al Qaeda?

I drafted the language that ultimately was accepted.  And I believed it  

      was accurate.  Based on what we have learned so far, I would not amend a  

      word of it today.   

        

         

10) Were you surprised at how aggressively VP Cheney tried to rebut the

commission’s description of the Iraq-Qaeda link (or lack thereof) in the

earlier staff statement?

      I was surprised by the Vice President’s reaction, especially since it  

      contrasted with the way the President himself chose to react.  Also, we  

      studied what the VP said — in an interview with MSNBC, I believe.  We  

      immediately recognized the intelligence reports on which the VP relied.   

      This was revealing, because we had dug into the sourcing behind that  

      reporting, and the VP’s staff did not know, or had not warned their boss,  

      about the questionable provenance of that information.

Thanks

 

@@@@@@

March 16, Shenon to Zelikow

On 3/16/07, Philip Shenon wrote:

A couple of follow-ups on these questions:

I’ve talked to a large percentage of the commission’s staff, including the

people on the key teams, and this belief that you were determined to find

a collaborative Iraq-Qaeda connection (beyond the well-documented, mostly

early contacts) is widely held, fairly or unfairly. Several people have

pointed to this business with State Statement 5. Obviously the

administration was under attack in this time period over the reasoning for

the invasion of Iraq, and it would have been hugely helpful to the White

House to have the commisison find an Iraq-Qaeda link

1) Can you tell me what you remember in this dispute over State Statement

Number 5? What is that you wrote in that upset some people? (And as best I

can tell from several sources, people really were upset.)

2) Can you see where your efforts to keep an open-mind about Iraq-Qaeda

were perceived as something else?

3) You suggest I’m hearing only half of the story on the issue. But I

really have talked to a lot of people, including the key people on the

issue. Where should I go, among the staffers, to get the other side?

4) On this business of the NSA archives, were you aware of the staff

concerns that the archives were not being reviewed, or at least reviewed

adequately? (For the record, I don’t have any indication that you were

aware of these concerns; it may have been Kevin Scheid who dropped the

ball here.)

Thank you.

 

@@@@@@

March 23, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

On 3/23/07, Philip Zelikow

mailto:pzelikow > wrote:

 

On 3/23/07 7:03 AM, “Philip Shenon” <

> wrote:

Sorry to burden you with more questions while others still some pending.

But I’ve spent much of the last week with CIA types and wanted to get the

questions to you while they were still fresh….

1) You’ll recall our early exchange about the anecdote told by Mark

Lowenthal about your visit to Langley shortly after you joined the 9/11

commission. You questioned the accuracy of Lowenthal’s account. With your

response, I tried to do due diligence and went back to Lowenthal’s

colleagues, including Winston Wiley and Rudy Rousseau. Wiley, who says he

was at the meeting, which was apparently held in his 7th floor conference

room, confirms Lowenthal’s account and says he found your “prejudgements”

about the agency disturbing. Rousseau was not at the meeting but says your

comments were reported to him—and Tenet—almost immediately. Whatever you

said, it appears that the tone of that meeting put the CIA on a defensive

posture from the get-go (or so they want me to believe). Do you remember

anything more about this meeting?

      I don’t remember any more about it.  I don’t know what prejudgments folks  

      mean … You asked me about a couple of specific ones earlier, which were  

      not my view at the time, and were not understood as my views by any of my  

      colleagues.   

        

      A lot of particular things were already swirling around, and CIA certainly  

      feeling very, very defensive.  But my own views were as I, and others,  

      have described them.  And in fact I had positive initial views of the  

      efforts and ability of Lowenthal, Wiley, and Rousseau.  And, at least at  

      that time, I tended toward positive views of Tenet and Black too.   

        

      In fact I arranged to have a group of staffers join me in spending a good  

      deal of time with Rudy and his folks early on the process, which I also  

      recall as a positive experience for us.  

        

2) Several staffers have told me they had grave doubts about Tenet’s

credibility from the early stages of the investigation. They say you did,

also. If that’s true, why?

This isn’t correct, at least for my views.  I came in with an open mind  

      about Tenet and a keen sense that he and CIA had been carrying most of the  

      weight of the CT effort for years, and for a long time I tended to give  

      him the benefit of the doubt in analyzing his work.  I actually felt a bit  

      surprised, and increasingly puzzled, as we worked through the issues with  

      him during our private interviews in 2004, for some of the reasons you  

      allude to in your questions below.   

        

3) There were similar doubts about the credibility of Cofer Black. Did you

share those doubts. Why?

      I did not share them, at least early on.  I was aware early that there was  

      some direct factual contradictions between his version of a couple of  

      matters and those presented by others, including Clarke.  That had arisen  

      in the Joint Inquiry.  And Cofer has a particular style that is powerful,  

      but also invites double-checking of the facts.  We eventually had a very  

      difficult private interview with him.   

        

4) As best I can tell, very few witnesses were placed under oath in the

private sessions with the commission. Is that true? Why?

      That is true.  We had significant discussions about our policy on this,  

      with a spectrum of views within the staff as well as among commissioners.   

      The arguments in favor of swearing witnesses is obvious.  The argument  

      against is that many witnesses would feel intimidated, would be more  

      likely to seek lawyers (a habit ultimately pursued only by our key CIA  

      witnesses, which tells you something about the institutional climate  

      there), and would be less forthcoming.  There are precedents on both  

      sides.   

        

      We finally came to a consensus view in the staff, which was endorsed by  

      the commissioners, that we would place witnesses under oath where their  

      versions of events were being directly contradicted by other witnesses.   

      In other words, where there was a swearing match, all sides would be  

      placed under oath.  Also, this was an option always left on the table if  

      staffers wanted to request it because they thought it would be valuable.   

      We would need to get a commissioner to attend the interview in order to  

      administer the oath, but that was not usually a problem.  Dan Marcus  

      should remember this issue well.   

5) As best I can tell, Tenet, Black and Dick Clarke were placed under oath

for those sessions. Is that right? Where there others?

There were others.  At least several, possibly a number, of other  

      witnesses placed under oath, but I don’t remember who they were.   

6) Did you make the decision to place Tenet under oath at the private

sessions?

      In a formal sense, I had the final call for the staff, but that particular  

      choice was a consensus view.  All kinds of factual disputes had emerged,  

      including allegations from inside CIA, by the time we interviewed him.   

7) Do you recall who performed the oath? (I believe it was Ben Veniste.)

Did Tenet resist?

Might have been Roemer or someone else at one or more of the three  

      interview sessions with him (and we met with him on other occasions on  

      other issues).      

8) Staffers say there was an angry exchange between you and Black and one

of the private sessions. What prompted it?

His lawyer was exceptionally intrusive, and it was difficult to get  

      meaningful answers to some of our questions.      

        

9) Tenet is still (very) upset about your comments about him in Elsa

Walsh’s piece in the New Yorker. Was there some specific incident of

dishonesty by Tenet that you were referring to?

Your questions, below, show you already have a pretty good idea of why I  

      said what I did.  And Tenet did lobby former commissioners, successfully,  

      to get a countervailing quote in Elsa’s article.  But i f you look back at  

      my quote, and compare it with what you know of staff views — other than my  

      own— you may judge for yourself whether my words, which I chose carefully,  

      were accurate.    

10) I’m told that in the three private sessions with the commission, Tenet

demonstrated a remarkably faulty memory—couldn’t remember important

meetings, documents, phone calls. Bob Kerrey describes Tenet as being like

a “grand jury witness” whose lawyers told him to answer “I don’t recall”

to every question. Were you disturbed by these memory lapses?

      See answer to Qs 11 and 12.  

11) Was there one of Tenet’s memory lapses in particular that disturbed

you? (I’m told by staffers that they were disturbed when Tenet claimed he

could not remember his first briefing of Bush.)

12) There an important encounter in your third (and final) private session

with Tenet. Apparently just before the meeting, you had come up with a

“missing” one-page addendum to the famous Christmas MON, and the

page—which the commission had not seen previously—showed that the CIA did

have lethal authority on Bin Laden, undermining Tenet’s repeated claim

that the agency was never given clear authority. The page apparently

includes reference to the fact that it—the addendum—had been requested by

Tenet himself. You ask Tenet about the page, and he claims he cannot

remember it. I’m told that for the staff, this was the final straw with

Tenet, proof that he was not telling the truth. is all that right?

(For the record, Tenet’s people say that the 9/11 commision made much too

much of the one-page addendum. They say the addendum granted  limited

lethal authority of only 30 days and that it was not surprising that Tenet

could not remember it, since it had been drafted and approved while he was

on vacation.)

Staffers may have been bothered about his recall of his first meeting with  

      Bush.  I was not.  In general, I went into these sessions expecting him to  

      be a vital witness on a number of key issues, and I can certainly  

      understand the difficulty in recalling details among so many episodes.   

      But as time passed, we saw how the staff prepared Tenet for these  

      sessions, and how he used those briefing materials, and how he handled  

      some quite memorable episodes, especially in 1998-1999, in late 2000, and  

      in 2001.  I may have been naïve, but I only slowly came to conclude that  

      George had decided not to volunteer any information on any topic unless we  

      already had the documentary proof, and then he would add as little as  

      possible to that record.   

        

      The Christmas 1998 MON was not the minor detail described to you, and  

      everyone at the top of the administration knew it.  According to one of  

      the administration’s lawyers, it was the most sensitive and extraordinary  

      intelligence document signed out during President Clinton’s time in  

      office.   

        

      More to the point, the issue of whether the President had authorized  

      lethal action against Bin Ladin was one of those factual matters on which  

      witnesses had already sworn to contradictory accounts.  We were in fact so  

      convinced by the CIA side of the story that it became apparent to Berger  

      that we must not have all the relevant documents.  His suggestion on this  

      to me eventually led us to demand a massive reexamination of the  

      underlying presidential records (and yet another related conflict with the  

      White House) that did allow us to unearth a clearer picture (confirming  

      Berger’s assertion, by the way), and producing the account you now see in  

      the report.   

        

      And that MON was produced, the documents show, out of direct exchanges  

      between Berger and Tenet in which Berger’s view changed at least once, and  

      which led to the President being asked to sign Tenet’s suggested language  

      on Christmas eve.  For Tenet to have no recollection at all of such an  

      episode ….   

        

@@@@@@ 

Thank you.

March 24, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

On 3/24/07, Philip Shenon < wrote:

Thanks.

The agency really has mounted a full campaign—at least with me—to try to

debunk the commission. Pillar’s article was the opening salvo. I hear

Tenet’s publication date is April 30, so we should see more soon. They

made Rudy Rousseau available to me for a long, on-the-record session a

couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, some follow-ups to your (fascinating) answers in the last round.

1) Was your complaint more with Black’s lawyer than with Black?

Some of both.  I got the impression, unfortunately, that Black had already  

      come to regard us as adversaries, and he has a certain style he adopts  

      with adversaries.  Others at CIA, including some of his key subordinates  

      like “Richard,” were very helpful and forthcoming.   

2) What was this exchange?

I don’t remember just what was said; I gave you the best sense of it that  

      I can recall.  The commission’s records of the session may have more  

      detail.   

3) Can you tell me more of the detective story behind the discovery of the

one-page addendum to the MON? I was told that you (personally) may have

found it—close to the end of the investigation—in the archives of the

joint inquiry?

      This is a bit garbled.  The so-called ‘addendum’ is actually the  

      authorization language being approved by the President, so it is actually  

      the heart of the document.  It is the operative language.   

        

      The joint inquiry never got to the bottom of the problem.  As with many  

      other subjects, they usefully elicited the first round of contradictory  

      testimonies that could thus alert us to the character and size of the  

      problem.   But they could never resolve many of the questions they  

      unearthed because the constraints and issues within their own  

      investigation.   

        

      The problem had to do with the specific document, but much more than that.  

       On the specific document, people thought they had it because they were  

      working with an earlier version of it (e.g., the December 21 draft).  What  

      I discovered, working with Marcus and Dunne in our combined review of the  

      underlying White House records at NARA, by reviewing every successive  

      version of this and comparing them carefully, was the rewriting of the  

      operative language that occurred at the last stage.   

        

      But one reason we found this is because we had been alerted to its very  

      great significance by others, especially Berger and Berger’s legal adviser  

      (Baker).  This also then partly explained both Berger and Clarke’s  

      testimonies on this point, which had flatly contradicted the version told  

      by Tenet, Black, and others.   

        

      Further, the work on this was part of a wider effort in reconstructing the  

      story of this and the other MoNs with much greater care, partly because we  

      interviewed the key lawyers involved, because we examined a much wider  

      range of CIA documents (including some operational cable traffic) with  

      cues from some of their officials, and because we did the further review  

      of White House documents at NARA, unearthing seemingly minor omissions  

      which actually plugged some key gaps.   

        

      This effort is well documented in the Commission’s files, because as the  

      story was pieced together we wrote some detailed summaries of what we were  

      finding, and how we were learning it, for other staffers and then for  

      commissioners.   

        

4) Is there any fear that the addendum had been withheld from the

commission for some reason?

      No.  The cumbersome method for producing White House documents, which was  

      prompted by other causes, was partly responsible for the problem.  For  

      example, people thought documents were duplicates, and therefore did not  

      copy them for the reading room.  Also, there were various constraints on  

      examining paper sent directly to the President that further complicated  

      the way records were prepared for the reading room.      

        

      As we became aware of the resulting problems, we insisted on direct  

      examination of all the underlying records at NARA.  Another argument and  

      negotiation ensued.  We finally prevailed and that led to the crash effort  

      by myself, Marcus, and Dunne (with an NSC lawyer present) in which we  

      meticulously documented, in writing, every anomaly and gap, and plugged  

      them.   

        

      But none of us could detect any rhyme or reason in the gaps that would  

      allow inferences of a broader malign motive, beyond inadvertent errors and  

      the flaws induced by the underlying document production process mentioned  

      above.      

5) Was it indeed one page?

Yes, in this case.  The operative texts for the Bin Ladin MoNs could  

      usually be contained on one page.  But, since I see you focusing so much  

      on this one document — as important as it was, you may want to keep in  

      mind that was just one aspect of a whole series of connected puzzles and  

      issues.   

6) When, where did Sandy Berger tell you to go looking for it? Did you

tell you to go in search of a one-page addendum?

Sometime early in 2004.  He was not the only one.  He and others kept  

      describing a result and process that didn’t appear in the documents.  We  

      asked them about that point blank, and their memory was so clear that it  

      seemed apparent to us that we needed to go back and doublecheck the  

      documents with extreme care.   

7) Do you remember what you thought, felt when you actually saw the

addendum? Can you set that scene at all?

      It was like piecing together a puzzle with a number of pieces, and there  

      was a sense of relief and satisfaction once we finally figured out how it  

      fit together, and made sense of what we were being told — including by the  

      lawyers.  I immediately wrote up the proposed solution, with all the  

      relevant evidence, for other concerned staffers so we could all examine it  

      and see if it held up.  It did.  I think we all took some satisfaction in  

      being able to clarify this problem.   

        

8) How explicit is the lethal authority?

Explicit, in plain language.  The whole point of the change was to go  

      from:  ‘capture, kill if part of the fight in capturing’ to ‘if a capture  

      operation is not feasible, you may conduct an operation to kill him’.      

        

      This is a fundamental distinction in the kind of operation you can mount.   

      In the first case it is always a capture operation, which is about as  

      demanding an operation as one can imagine (including, to take just one  

      aspect, plans for exfiltrating the captive(s) out of Afghanistan).  The  

      second case can be done with an RPG from a hundred yards away.      

        

      There were no euphemisms in the language.  

9) Was the authority only for 30 days, as Tenet’s people claim? If so,

does that diminish the MON’s value in any way?

No such language.  And if there had been, of course we would have put that  

      in the report, since that would have been a huge limitation.     

        

      The reason they came back for the new MoN in February 1999 is not because  

      of any time limit in the December 1998 MoN, but because they were seeking  

      authority for action by a materially different set of partners. (see 3rd  

      full para on p. 133; 4th full para on p. 139)   

10) Is it correct that the addendum refers specifically to the fact that

Tenet himself had requested it?

      No.  In this case the annex only contains the operative language of the  

      MoN.     

        

      We reconstructed the prior Berger-Tenet communications from both documents  

      and interviews about the period before that language was signed out.  The  

      sources are cited in our notes.  

        

11) Is it possible that Tenet is telling the truth when he says he cannot

remember it?

      Folks who really know the record just have to reach their own judgment on  

      that.  And, as I mentioned earlier and as you can see after lingering over  

      the various stories different administration officials give from that  

      period, this was only one of many puzzles we were trying to get Tenet’s  

      help to solve.   

        

         

12) Given this widespread concern among the commissioners and staff about

Tenet’s truthfulness, was there ever any discussion of a referral to the

Justice Department or the CIA IG regarding false statements? (Apparently

there was consideration of a DOJ referral for some of the FAA, Norad

testimony….)

      No.  The situations were quite different.  In the first case you have a  

      complex yet vital record that the key principal says he cannot recall  

      well, and he says some things that could be explained as mistakes, just  

      misremembering a pretty convoluted set of episodes and decisions in which  

      the President himself is going back and forth.   

        

      In the other case we eventually concluded, from the evidence, that agency  

      officials who were immersed in the relevant records may have deliberately  

      fabricated a detailed and false story about what happened.  We ultimately  

      prepared a lengthy, written referral that detailed the evidentiary basis  

      for our suspicions.  After some debate, we recommended to commissioners  

      that the referral should go to the relevant IG’s for DOD and DOT rather  

      than a criminal referral to DOJ, and they accepted that recommendation.   

      That we would regard this as a close call says something about the way we  

      regarded the evidence.  More than two years after our referral, those IG’s  

      reportedly concluded that the conduct of the agency officials was  

      negligent, but not criminal.      

        

Thanks

 

@@@@@@

 

March 30, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

 

On 3/30/07 12:08 PM, “Philip Shenon”

wrote:

And if I could add two more follow-ups.

I had a long conversation yesterday with a (former) senior CIA official

loyal to Tenet who said he thought this one-page document was “a memo

giving guidance to the field”—the tribals, in particular—about the Bin

Laden operation. Tenet and his people obviuosly don’t have access to this

document anymore and, again, are trying to play down its importance. This

former senior aide said he doubted it gave “explicit lethal authority.”

1) Does any of that sound right?

This fellow also said that it was Reno was blocked explicit lethal

authority in any of the MONs.

2) Does that sound right?

Thanks.

@@@@@

 

March 30, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

 

On 3/30/07 6:06 PM, “Philip Shenon” wrote:

 

Thanks. But I think I may have confused you. There were 12 follow-up

questions outstanding from 3/24 (below) and then I added two more this

morning.

And now I’m confused.

As I understand it, there is the Christmas MON and there is a separate,

later one-page “addendum”—if that’s the word—to the MON. You go back to

Tenet for a final private interview after discovering the “addendum”

(perhaps in the joint inquiry’s archives?).This one page had the explicit

kill authority, or so I thought.

That is not correct..  The so-called addendum was actually the operative  

      language of the MoN; it was the actual language of the authority the  

      President approved that day, and was necessarily part of the package he  

      signed out.  So of course it has the kill authority, in the case of the  

      Dec 24 MoN.   

        

I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that Tenet & Co. are suggesting that

the MON was insignificant. Just that the “addendum” was not so

significant.

 

      It was the operative language of the MoN, the actual kill authority and  

      thus the heart of the decision package.  But, to give them the benefit of  

      the doubt, perhaps your sources aren’t familiar enough with this  

      particular issue to understand just what we’re talking about in this case.  

       Otherwise ….   

Could you take a look again at those 10 follow-up questions?

I appreciate you taking so much time on this.

 

@@@@@@

March 30, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

On 3/30/07, Philip Zelikow < pzelikow

wrote:

      Your source does not have this right.  But read the account below and  

      judge for yourself, since you talked with the source.   

        

      We describe the many intelligence policy issues with care in our report.   

      The December 1998 MoN is discussed, for example, on pp. 132-134.   

        

      An MoN is not merely an addendum or annex or bureaucratic afterthought.   

      These are significant documents that must be signed personally by the  

      President of the United States, and they are prepared because the White  

      House judges that Congress must formally be notified of the decision,  

      purusant to a preexisting presidential finding, to carry out a new or  

      materially different covert action.      

        

      Once an MoN is signed by the President of the United States, the DCI then  

      usually takes a separate action, which is to send an operational message  

      to officers and agents telling them what they should or can do, pursuant  

      to the new authorities approved by the President.   

        

      In the case of the December 1998 MoN we described both the document  

      approved by the President and the separate guidance message sent to the  

      field — and the report they sent back.  The details were important.  Why?   

      Because the intent that was so clear to President Clinton, Sandy Berger,  

      and Dick Clarke (authorization for a straight kill operation) then got a  

      curious, almost opposite reaction from the people in the field (who  

      promised not to kill him!) which then elicited no further communications  

      to address the problem.      

        

      Thus the White House thinks they’ve authorized one thing (and so testified  

      to us).  Then the field has — at best—a garbled or contradictory  

      understanding (and had so testified to us!).  

        

      And now you see why Tenet is so vital, since he is the bridge between the  

      field and the White House.  He apparently got the heightened authority in  

      the Dec 24 MoN (rewriting the Dec 21 draft).  Yet he then later told us  

      that the White House did not authorize a straight kill operation.   

        

      And then, to compound the confusion further, when CIA comes back to  

      Clinton again in Feb 99, asking him to write a fresh version of the lethal  

      authority he had signed out in Dec 98, Clinton amends the document in his  

      own hand to pull the authority back to where it had been before Dec 98  

      (kill only in context of capture operation).  As the report explains,  

      Clinton does this for reasons Clinton himself cannot remember and no one  

      else can explain.   

        

      As for AG Reno, she was a persistent dissenter from almost all the major  

      UBL-related decisions on various grounds, as we note in the report.   

      Another important point in her case is that she always took care to  

      dissent on policy grounds, declining to interpose a legal objection (  

      e.g., assassination executive order) that would have been far more  

      problematical for the President.  

        

      Her dissent on the Dec 24 MoN was overridden, and the President approved  

      the lethal authority in that document (so your source appears to be  

      mistaken on that point as well).  Her dissents were overridden in other  

      cases too, so it’s not very fair to blame Reno, at least not in this  

      aspect of the story.   

        

      To be fair to your source, we describe how tightly compartmented this  

      information within the Executive Branch.  So many officials at CIA  

      genuinely did not fully understand the details of what was going on  

      between the DCI and the White House.  I have no reason to believe that  

      Cofer Black, for example, ever saw the Dec 24 MoN.   

        

      This illustration is representative of a whole series of incidents,  

      especially in 1998-99 and in late 2000, that invite many questions, and  

      where Tenet was obviously in a unique position to clarify puzzles and  

      contradictory testimony.  You may also see why, given the extreme  

      sensitivity of the Dec 24 MoN and these other matters, a complete failure  

      to recall the episode might seem odd.  So perhaps some of our concerns may  

      seem more understandable, and you can also see how the concerns deepened  

      in the course of the investigation, as we learned more about what actually  

      happened.   

        

        

      Philip  

        

 

@@@@@@ 

 

March 31, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

On 3/31/07, Philip Zelikow  wrote:

 

      Somehow I originally missed your 3/24 message.  But I’ve provided answers  

      below.  

        

      And an answer to your latest message, also below — but which will be even  

      clearer after you read the rest.   

        

      Philip  

March 31, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

On 3/31/07, Philip Shenon  wrote:

Thanks again.

But please let me go back at this because it is confusing (and important

and fascinating). I’ve gone back and reread the portions of the

commission’s report, but I’m still left with these questions:

1) So I’m correct to say there was a draft MON on Dec. 21, a final,

tougher version on Dec. 24 that has explicit lethal authority?

        

      Yes.  

2) You’re aware of the 12/21 version for a long time but discover the

12/24 version very late in the investigation, no?

      Without going back into the records, I’m can’t offer more detail of what  

      we knew when.    

        

3) Both are one page?

      The format of the documents is such that the full packages are invariably  

      longer than one page.  The operative authority, in this case, easily fit  

      on one page.   

4) Do you, personally, discover the Dec. 24 version at NARA? At the

facility on Pennsylvania Ave.? About when?

      The details of this reconstruction were complex, and I don’t remember  

      which of us discovered what document when or where.   

        

5) Tenet’s people say he is on vacation on Dec. 24 and that it’s therefore

not surprising he is not aware of it. But I believe the argument from the

commission’s staff is that, since the 12/24 MON gave the explicit kill

authority he had sought for so long, Tenet certainly should have been

aware of it. Is that right?

I doubt that George Tenet would say that, because he was on vacation when  

      the President signed it, he was not aware of this MoN’s contents.  And  

      that would be true for any MoN, not just this one — though this was  

      exceptionally sensitive and important.

      Nor, I think, would “Tenet’s people” do him any favors if they imply  

      anything else.  

6) Is it the discovery of the final, 12/24 version of MON that leads you

to request the third private interview with Tenet? (Tenet’s people say he

was alarmed when he got the request for a third interview and called

around—to Gorelick, etc.—to find out why you wanted to talk to him again.)

No.  There were a number of issues that had emerged in our further work  

      that led us to believe another interview was needed.  And, so people have  

      a chance to refresh their recollections, our staff usually review the  

      general themes that will come up with the staff of the witnesses.  It’s in  

      our interest for witnesses to be prepared and be as knowledgeable as  

      possible about the relevant facts.

7) Tenet’s claim at the third private interview that he does not know

about the 12/24 version of the MON is described to me as a critical

moment for the commission—the moment when Tenet’s credibility was really

lost to you folks. Does that sound right?

        

      I can’t speak for others.  And, as I’ve said repeatedly before, it was not  

      just this episode that left me puzzled.  No ‘aha’ moment.  It was just  

      that, as we reflected together about what we had learned, I at least was  

      troubled by his inability to recall or add much to our understanding of so  

      many critical episodes.   

8) Tenet’s people claim that after each of three interviews, you and Ben

Veniste go up to Tenet and thank him for all his cooperation and and

service. (They claim, as you know, that they had no indication that you

disbelieved his testimony.) Does that sound right?

      No, and I hope you’re not spinning up his people to elicit angry comments.  

      In my case, my courtesy to Tenet was sincere.  I am very aware of the  

      scale and breadth of his service over a number of years.  I would be  

      courteous to him and appreciative of that service today.  I have some  

      concerns about his judgments in office — the most serious of which are on  

      subjects different from the ones you’re working on.  But I also think he  

      did some good things for the CIA and for the country.         

        

      And my concerns were not so much at the table, at the time.  For me, more  

      of the reflections on credibility came later, sitting with staff  

      colleagues and going over the material, sort of shaking our heads about  

      it.     

        

9) Tenet’s people claim that Tenet’s memory is not especially faulty,

especially for a man who was—during the course of your

investigation—working 20-hour days and overseeing wars in Afghanistan and

Iraq. Is there some validity to that?

      I understand about working hard in government.  And being asked to  

      remember events.    

        

      Tenet has a point of view.  We were careful to include it in our report.   

      His staff had an opportunity, often repeated opportunities, to review or  

      suggest corrections in what we intended to say about the factual record,  

      seeing it in writing both before we finalized our staff statements and  

      before we finalized the report.  He was aided — and apparently still is  

      being aided—by staff with access to relevant records.  And he will soon  

      publish a memoir to add even more of his point of view to the record.     

10 Was something in all this measured in a 30-day period? Tenet’s people

keep talking to me about a 30-day authority.

I would need a more specific reference to jog my memory.

I’m sorry if I’m being dense here.

 

@@@@@@

April 5, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

 

On 4/5/07 10:18 AM, “Philip Shenon” < wrote:

 

Just wanted to make sure the last set of questions (below) didn’t get lost

in a flood of slam.

Thanks.

 

@@@@@@

April 7, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

———- From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Apr 7, 2007 2:59 PM

To: Philip Shenon

Answers below.

On 4/5/07 11:41 PM, “Philip Shenon”

wrote:

Thanks again.

My reference to “Tenet’s people” is an honest one. You can tell from

Pillar’s article, which is widely circulated among the Tenet

loyalists, that they are angry about the commission. I didn’t need

to spin up their anger. Tenet is spitting mad to this day about the

quote in the Elsa Walsh piece (odd, I know, given how much criticism

has been directed at Tenet from every other corner in recent years).

Anyway, may we move from one interesting character, Tenet, to

another, Dick Clarke?

1.                         Did you have any particular view of

Clarke from your dealings with him during Bush 41? Good or bad

public servant? Honest?

 

            He was a very capable yet controversial figure then, as in all years  

            since.  He ultimately was unable to remain in a position requiring  

            Senate confirmation, but was retained by the Bush administration by  

            bringing him over to the NSC staff.  

 

2) I’ve spoken with Clarke at length. He does feel that, to some

extent, you were an architect of his demotion in the early days of

the Bush 43 administration. Is there any validity to that? (And

perhaps you would challenge the use of the word “demotion”…..)

His NSC staff position remained the same he had on paper in the  

            Clinton administration.  The difference was that, in the Clinton  

            administration, his informal position on his issues had effectively  

            bypassed or subsumed Steinberg and Kerrick (Berger’s deputies),  

            because of the relationship Clarke had developed with Berger (and  

            had developed well before Steinberg came over to the White House).   

            In the Bush administration, Hadley’s role was the same on paper as  

            it was in practice, including on the terrorism issues.   The  

            informal, and largely record-free, principals-group for terrorism  

            issues in the Clinton issues (where Clarke played a unique role) was  

            also replaced in the Bush administration by the regular committee  

            process.     

              

            It was this more formal, regular system, which therefore ran the  

            system through Hadley personally and through his Deputies Committee  

            institutionally, which was at the core of Dick’s sense of increased  

            distance or displacement.  I was not the architect of that.  But his  

            comment blaming me is revealing.   

              

            Clarke’s complaint is more ironic than he may know.  Rice was  

            advised to fire him, advised in the strongest possible terms, by at  

            least one outgoing member of Clinton’s cabinet.  She knew, as Berger  

            and Steinberg told anyone, that Clarke had been the object of  

            repeated complaints and requests for his dismissal and reassignment  

            during the Clinton administration.  Clarke had also been on the NSC  

            staff for an exceptionally long time, much longer than any other  

            analogous member of the NSC staff.   

              

            So it was significant, and very much a discretionary choice, that  

            Rice chose to retain Clarke.  And in 2002, after he asked for  

            reassignment, Rice then helped arrange for a mutually acceptable  

            transfer to a senior cyberterrorism job he wanted.  Clarke later was  

            involved in requests for other, higher ranking, jobs before he left  

            the administration and broke publicly with it.     

              

            I take no view about whether any of these judgments by Rice were the  

            right ones.  I had nothing to do with the management of the NSC  

            staff after January 19, 2001.  

              

3) He says that given your close friendship with Condi and your work

on the transition, it was a conflict of interest for you to accept

the job on the 9/11 commission. (To put it bluntly, his phrase is:

“The fix was in.”) Can you understand his concern?

            His phrase is characteristic enough, and also revealing.  

              

            Had Gore been elected in 2000 instead of Bush, I would have been  

            close friends with people who might have been in analogous  

            positions, including both work colleagues and co-authors.  I had  

            been involved in the Clinton transition in 1993, though it was after  

            the inauguration, at the Pentagon, and lasted for several months.     

 

              

            Indeed, had we applied such a criterion, very few senior members of  

            the staff might not have been able to accept employment with the  

            Commission, including some of our staffers who had worked for Clarke  

            himself.  

              

4) He wondered if Kean and Hamilton, before hiring you, were really

aware of your relationship with Condi and your exact duties on the

transition. Do you think Kean and Hamilton were fully aware?

We have covered this ground before.  I made sure Kean and Hamilton  

            were aware of these matters; they said they were, and I believed  

            them.  My work was well known, in general and in detail, to many in  

            DC, including people like Berger and Steinberg whom I had worked  

            with directly during that month, and whom Hamilton and several other  

            commissioners knew well.   

              

            My work on the transition covered a span of about one month.  As far  

            as I know, for better or worse, the Bush administration made no  

            consequential decisions about counterterrorism during that month,  

            except it to rank the topic among their higher iniital priorities.   

            As I learned much later, I did not have the security clearances to  

            be briefed on the most sensitive pending issues, much less influence  

            their resolution.     

              

            The only consequential management decision on counterterrorism  

            during that month was the decision to retain Clarke and his team.   

            The general organization of NSC work, and Hadley’s role, were worked  

            out between Rice and Hadley.   

              

5) Members of the commission staff, including folks from Team 3, say

you raised questions throughout the investigation about Clarke’s

truthfulness. Is that accurate?

            Others had put the questions on the table because they ( e.g., Cofer  

            Black) had already testified under oath (to the Joint Inquiry) in  

            ways that directly contradicted Clarke’s testimony to the Joint  

            Inquiry.  Still other officials, like Mike Scheuer, had made some  

            extremely serious allegations.  Still more officials, at State,  

            Justice, Defense, and CIA, had called attention to some of the  

            controversies that had led to the requests to Berger that he be  

            dismissed or reassigned.  So I guess you could say his credibility  

            was at issue.     

              

            In general, my preconception going in was quite different from what  

            you say some people told you.  I had known Clarke, off and on, for a  

            long time.  My general premise then was that Clarke was, by nature,  

            someone who preferred blunt-spoken candor and regarded himself as a  

            truth-teller.  He tended to oversimplify and rush to judgment — very  

            fast on the draw.  As a manager, he was of the type who rallies his  

            troops with the ‘us against them’ division of the bureaucratic  

            world, with those on your side becoming a band of brothers and those  

            on the other side becoming ‘enemies of the good’, who get  

            bad-mouthed personally as well as on substance.  (Fortunately, as  

            far as I know, I had never been in the latter category.)   

              

            But on substantive matters, I went into the investigation with a  

            predisposition to believe Clarke’s retelling of events, because one  

            of his virtues is his reluctance to dissemble.  

              

6) They said that it was you who insisted that Clarke be placed

under oath in the private sessions because of your concern—expressed

to the staff—that he would not be a credible witness. Is that

correct?

            We placed a number of witnesses under oath, not just Clarke.  We  

            have gone over the circumstances of this decision before, in which  

            others participated.  Contrary to your question, I in fact then  

            thought Clarke probably would be a credible witness, making  

            allowances for his style.  But he had to be under oath for the same  

            reasons people on the other side of these swearing matches had to be  

            placed under oath too.  

7) I’ve heard about several angry disputes between you and Warren

Bass over the handling of material involving Clarke. The claim is

that you believed that Bass was depending too much on Clarke’s word

and trying to make the report too “Clarke-centric.” Do you recall

using that term?

            I don’t recall using that term, but I might have because Ernest May  

            used it, or terms like it, to describe his concerns, and I shared  

            those concerns, which are as follows.  The concern was over the  

            documentary record, and the dominance of Clarke’s voice in it.  The  

            NSC documents consist, in essence, of Clarke writing to people who  

            do not write back.  So his voice is omnipresent.  Thus it requires a  

            conscious effort to keep remembering that Berger (or Steinberg) and  

            Rice (and Hadley) and their respective Presidents were always  

            running the show, filtering or amending Clarke’s perspective for  

            better or worse.     

              

            Then there is the fact that Bass concentrated on NSC records, which  

            I had also reviewed.  But I was also reading the records and work  

            from State, CIA, Defense, Justice, and others involved in the policy  

            process.     

              

            Then one also needs to think about the options that Clarke does not  

            mention at all, that are therefore silent in the record.  And I was  

            doing this as someone who had been in the process and had also  

            worked through such records in multiple administrations as a  

            historian too.  Hence the need to bring another set of judgments and  

            integrative perspectives to all this.   

              

            But Bass understood much of this too; he didn’t have tunnel vision.   

            I recruited Bass to the staff because I was deeply impressed by his  

            proven abilities and by his future promise, even though he had never  

            worked in government.   Bass vindicated that confidence.  He was one  

            of a number of vital forces on his team and on the staff, just as  

            Alexis Albion was, in that same team, because of the extraordinary  

            work she did in her slice of the CIA records.  I often relied on  

            Bass’s work.  He and I definitely argued at times, and sometimes  

            when the arguments help push to 3 or 4 in the morning, time after  

            time, with so many other things going on … folks can get  

            exasperated.  That’s the pressure cooker atmosphere at work.  But  

            there was hardly any way to avoid that, and it was healthy.  As  

            difficult as it was for me to go through all the wrangling, it was  

            the right thing to do for several reasons.  And it paid off.  Bass  

            pulled his weight.     

              

              

8) Bass apparently marches into Dan Marcus’s office at some point

and threatens to resign because of your “interference” in his work

and your efforts to demean Clarke. Were you aware of that? Do you

think it’s true?

            Don’t know about that one.  There were lots of ways people were  

            blowing off steam … including me.  

              

9) Did you consider your relationship with Bass to be particularly

rocky?

            It was tougher because I had recruited him and respected him, yet he  

            was outspoken and would argue at length over word after word in a  

            situation of some pressure.  Difficult, too, because his value was  

            so great that we felt obliged to just work through it.  And he was  

            sometimes right (not always easy for me to admit in the heat of the  

            moment).   

10)  Dan Marcus told me that after the commission learned about Dick

Clarke’s book, you had wanted to subpoena his publishers for a copy

of it and that he (Marcus) had to talk you out of it as “crazy.” Is

that right? Did you contact The Free Press yourself at some point?

The Free Press people say you threatened to seek an injunction to

block publication altogether. Is that right?

            ”Crazy” is one of Dan’s favorite words.  I definitely wanted to get  

            his manuscript.  Most investigators would feel the same way.  We had  

            asked him, under oath, about notes or records to describe his  

            office’s work.  He had not mentioned his book manuscript recounting  

            his office’s work.  I would have had the same view if we had learned  

            of a Berger manuscript on our subject, a Rice manuscript, an  

            Ashcroft manuscript, etc.   

              

            Seoncd, we were getting commissioners ready to question Clarke about  

            his views, and the manuscript where he had written them down was  

            unavailable to us.  

              

            Third, and most important, Clarke presumably submitted his  

            manuscript to the administration for prepublication review.  What we  

            wanted, above all, was that manuscript — the one before the  

            redactions, which would have the fullest version of his description  

            of his work.  After all, we had the clearances to read the redacted  

            material too.  But it would have been inappropriate to try to go to  

            the administration to get his manuscript.  So I put the problem to  

            Dan, and Dan didn’t like any of the options.  So we effectively did  

            nothing.  We were able to get the book just before the hearing, but  

            never saw the manuscript in its original form before the  

            classification review.   

              

            I did not talk or write to Free Press.  It would have been absurd to  

            sue to block publication; there were no grounds or legal basis for  

            that.  We didn’t want to block publication.  We wanted to get the  

            information in a timely way for our investigation and our hearings.   

 

               

I apologize for the tone of these questions, but I think it’s fair

to say that Dick Clarke is not a friend of yours.

Unsolicited, Clarke told me in 2004 that our staff statement  

            recounting his efforts and work had been both fair and accurate.   

            His comments on the report, at least back then, echoed that positive  

            judgment, both in public and in private.   

Thanks.

@@@@@@

April 10, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

 

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Apr 10, 2007 5:06 AM

To: Philip Zelikow

Thanks.

To follow-up on some of these answers:

1) But didn’t you advise Rice during the transition that it was best

to return Clarke to his traditional chain of command—getting him out

of his role on the PC, having him report to Hadley and the DC rather

than to Rice and the PC? Didn’t you support this?

2) And isn’t that, effectively, a demotion?

3) In light of all that happened, can you see how the restructuring

of Clarke’s chain of command in early 2001 was a mistake?

3) I think Dan Marcus, as part of his review of your role for Kean

and Hamilton, looked over the resume you submitted to the commission

and found no reference to your work on the transition. Marcus became

convinced and concerned that Kean and Hamilton had NOT known about

your exact role on the transition. Do you remember discussing this

issue in any detail with Kean and Hamilton?

4) Did anyone—at Virginia, at Harvard, anywhere—suggest that you NOT

take the job on the commission given your ties to Rice and others on

the administration Why bother to take a job in which you’ll face

endless questions about potential conflicts of interest?

5) And again, did you and Clarke have a difficult relationship on

the NSC during Bush 41?

***

And on Rice,

6) How did you and Rice develop such a strong friendship in Bush 41?

7) What is it you so much admired about her?

8) There was widely held view in Chalottesville and D.C. that you

expected to be offered a senior national-security job in the Bush 43

administration, possibility the job that went to Hadley. Did you

expect such a job? Were you surprised, disappointed that it was not

offered. (Andy Card told me that, to his knowledge, you weren’t on

the short list for any of the major national security jobs.)

9)  I’ve heard you say that you cut off relations with Rice during

the commission’s investigation, But you were apparently seen at a

small lunch with her at the White House and there are phone logs

suggesting other visits to Rice. Did these meetings occur?

10) If you do have this lunch with Condi at the White House and you

have other meetings with her, what is discussed?

@@@@@@

Apr. 13, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Apr 13, 2007 6:50 PM

Subject: Re: Reply to 4/10/07 questions

To: Philip Shenon

Answers below.

On 4/10/07 6:06 AM, “Philip Shenon”

wrote:

Thanks.

To follow-up on some of these answers:

1) But didn’t you advise Rice during the transition that it was best

to return Clarke to his traditional chain of command—getting him out

of his role on the PC, having him report to Hadley and the DC rather

than to Rice and the PC? Didn’t you support this?

The Commission report summarized this issue accurately on pp.  

            199-200.  Those who wrote that material had complete access to  

            everything I had written to Rice on this matter, and interviews with  

            all the relevant participants.   

              

            There are two formal issues here, and a more important informal one.  

               

              

            First formal issue, reporting chain for the CSG.  What I supported  

            was to keep the CSG working just as described in the Clinton  

            directive, PDD-62.  At the time I was puzzled that PDD-62 said that  

            Clarke’s CSG would normally report through the Deputies Committee,  

            yet Clarke told us that it did not.  I reported this apparent  

            anomaly without understanding it.  Hadley and I recommended that the  

            organizational NSPD-1 would regularize this in the normal pattern,  

            also consistent with the previous administration’s directive.     

              

            Later I learned how contentious this aspect of PDD-62 had been  

            within the Clinton administration at the time, an argument Clarke  

            lost on paper and then won back in practice.  Didn’t know that then.  

 

              

            Second formal issue, Clarke as a National CT Coordinator and a ‘de  

            facto’ member of the PC.  Not set up that way in PDD-62.  Clarke was  

            retained as the National CT Coordinator.  He would not have been  

            regarded as a principal on the PC, but would — and did — participate  

            in any PC held on his subject.  (He later would complain that such  

            meetings were not held; but if they were held, he was there.)  I  

            don’t recall taking any position on Clarke’s relation to the PC.     

              

            This was also more complicated than I realized at that time.  The  

            relevant PC in the Clinton administration was not the Principals  

            Committee.  It was something known informally as the “Small Group,”  

            never formally established in writing.  It had a different setup,  

            with fewer participants and Clarke as about the only subcabinet  

            official who could tell his counterparts what had happened.  The  

            Bush administration never recreated this  “Small Group.”   It used  

            the regular PC, supplemented by a variety of other informal  

            gatherings of small sets of principals, as in the PDB briefing  

            sessions or the regular Rice-Tenet meetings.   

              

            The informal issue, and the heart of the matter, is that Clarke had  

            a special relationship with Berger from eight years of working with  

            him, and Berger had informally allowed Clarke to bypass the formal  

            channels.  Rice and Hadley had a very different managerial style,  

            and a more formal relationship with Clarke.  Zelikow or no Zelikow,  

            no NSC senior director, whatever his title or whatever the issue,  

            was going to create an interagency process that could bypass  

            Hadley’s Deputies Committee and, as far as I know, none ever did. It  

            was that change in ‘feel’ for Clarke, obliged to work with and  

            through Hadley — who is Clarke’s antithesis in almost every way —  

            that I think played a big part in his sense of detachment or  

            alienation.   

2) And isn’t that, effectively, a demotion?

            Clarke felt it this way, we discovered.  At the time I did not think  

            Clarke was being demoted.  If you’ll check the report’s footnotes  

            for page 200, you’ll see that one of Clarke’s two main CT staffers  

            at the time, Paul Kurtz, also saw no functional difference in the  

            way things worked.  I think this goes to my point, above, about the  

            more informal core of this issue.     

              

3) In light of all that happened, can you see how the restructuring

of Clarke’s chain of command in early 2001 was a mistake?

            Mistakes are properly judged by what people knew, or reasonably  

            could have known, at the time they made their choices.     

              

            But in this case, even with hindsight, I don’t think a different  

            organizational approach would have had any material effect on the  

            policies that were adopted in 2001.  I think that conclusion can be  

            sustained if the record is examined, issue by issue.  I am not  

            arguing, one way or another, about the appropriateness or timeliness  

            of the policies adopted, just that I don’t think significantly  

            different policies would have been adopted if the CSG had a  

            different reporting chain.   

              

            For example, one reason the policies took more time was because the  

            Bush administration linked a new CT policy to reevaluation of their  

            general policies toward Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The CSG never had  

            primary responsibility for managing those relationships.  So that  

            would have gone through the Deputies Committee anyway.  So ….   

              

            Or if one examines the detail on the Predator decisions closely,  

            again the obstacles are not arising from the format of interagency  

            consideration.  

              

            And, in the case of response by the agencies to the summer of  

            threat, the CSG was the prime actor, under Clarke’s leadership, and  

            was the only entity given responsibility for convening the relevant  

            domestic agencies.   

              

            Indeed, to a historian, the dominant point about the transition is  

            unusual continuity, given the takeover by an administration from a  

            different party, with essentially the same CT team kept in place at  

            the NSC, at CIA, and at FBI.  The Commission report rightly noted  

            this point on p. 200.   

3) I think Dan Marcus, as part of his review of your role for Kean

and Hamilton, looked over the resume you submitted to the commission

and found no reference to your work on the transition. Marcus became

convinced and concerned that Kean and Hamilton had NOT known about

your exact role on the transition. Do you remember discussing this

issue in any detail with Kean and Hamilton?

Dan did not come on board until March 2003.  Tom and Lee were well  

            informed about my role in the transition.  I had raised it with them  

            myself, but they already knew about it.  Lee, in particular, had  

            vetted me with a number of people who were familiar with my role,  

            such as Jim Steinberg, who had been Berger’s longtime deputy and was  

            one of the people we spent time with during that month.  If Dan had  

            asked Lee about this, I’m sure Lee would have told him.   

4) Did anyone—at Virginia, at Harvard, anywhere—suggest that you NOT

take the job on the commission given your ties to Rice and others on

the administration Why bother to take a job in which you’ll face

endless questions about potential conflicts of interest?

              

            I actually raised the issue with Tom and Lee as a significant factor  

            they should consider, and a possible issue.  They had considered it,  

            and thought the quality of the work would have to answer them.  I  

            don’t remember anyone at Virginia or Harvard suggesting this to me  

            as a reason I should decline.     

              

            Though it is hard to recover how people felt back then, in January  

            2003, I don’t think any of us fully foresaw that the information  

            gathering process would be so politically charged.  I thought the  

            administration had reconciled itself to the Commission.  I thought  

            my election reform work, the Carter-Ford commission, had been much  

            more politically charged than this would be — and that had turned  

            out better than anyone had thought it could.  But I did not  

            anticipate that the administration would be so difficult, thereby  

            inflaming everything else.  If I had foreseen all that, that would  

            have indeed given me pause.   

5) And again, did you and Clarke have a difficult relationship on

the NSC during Bush 41?

            Clarke and I didn’t serve on the NSC staff at the same time.  He was  

            still at State when I left the NSC staff in 1991 and returned to the  

            State Department, then went to Harvard.     

              

***

And on Rice,

6) How did you and Rice develop such a strong friendship in Bush 41?

 

We were colleagues at work.  Back then my relationship with her was  

            not markedly different than my relationship with a number of other  

            colleagues.  But I got to know her better after we decided to work  

            together to complete the preparation of the Germany book.  And, with  

            my family, I spent a significant amount of time doing research at  

            Stanford, in their archives, working on the book.   

7) What is it you so much admired about her?

            Back then this was two professors working together, collegially, on  

            an extremely interesting subject — both thinking the other was  

            making essential contributions to the work.  We always liked and  

            respected each other.     

8) There was widely held view in Chalottesville and D.C. that you

expected to be offered a senior national-security job in the Bush 43

administration, possibility the job that went to Hadley. Did you

expect such a job? Were you surprised, disappointed that it was not

offered. (Andy Card told me that, to his knowledge, you weren’t on

the short list for any of the major national security jobs.)

            Card is quite right, and I knew it.  Not a surprise.  Others may  

            have had their guesses, but they didn’t know the situation.    

              

9)  I’ve heard you say that you cut off relations with Rice during

the commission’s investigation, But you were apparently seen at a

small lunch with her at the White House and there are phone logs

suggesting other visits to Rice. Did these meetings occur?

            The only times I can recall meeting or lunching with her in person  

            during the life of the Commission was at the start, when I was  

            deciding whether to take the job, having the introductory  

            conversations where I was explaining the kind of cooperation I  

            thought the Commission would need in order to be successful.  I  

            believe there were one or two meetings in January/February 2003.   

            These were the discussions I described in one of our earlier  

            exchanges, and I reported on them immediately to Tom and/or Lee.   

            The issue of what we would need was then was handed off to Gonzales,  

            resulting in the meeting and results we have already reviewed.   

              

            The only other time I spoke with her during the next year and a half  

            was in August or September 2003, as best I can recall.  I think this  

            was by phone but it could have been in person, and it was to seek  

            her personal assistance with the Commission’s upcoming investigative  

            trip that I was leading to the Arabian peninsula, Pakistan, and  

            Afghanistan.  Specifically, I asked her to intercede directly with  

            Prince Bandar, in facilitating Saudi cooperation with the  

            Commission’s upcoming investigative work in the Kingdom (in  

            October).  We intended to interrogate several Saudi citizens in  

            person and we also needed other cooperation from their security and  

            intelligence services.  I asked her directly for that help, and  

            explained what we wanted.  I believe she did contact Prince Bandar  

            on our behalf and helped secure appropriate Saudi cooperation.  I  

            then met with Prince Bandar myself to go over what we would need.   

            Again, I kept Tom and Lee informed throughout.  Chris Kojm was also  

            in the loop, and was working this on his end too.   

              

            I don’t have logs, so if you have more specific information, let me  

            know.    

              

10) If you do have this lunch with Condi at the White House and you

have other meetings with her, what is discussed?

            Discussed above.  

 

@@@@@@ 

              

April 19, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

————————

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Apr 19, 2007 3:24 PM

To: Philip Shenon

On the question of when or why I spoke to Rice during 2003, I’ve

followed up

to check with old colleagues and see if they could recall anything.

First, everyone agrees that I spoke to and saw Rice in September

2003 in

connection with the upcoming trip and the arrangements to facilitate

Saudi

cooperation.  That is probably the lunch you heard of.  The NSC

staff’s

lawyer, John Bellinger, would have been present at any such meeting.

A

member of his staff, Dylan Cors, ultimately accompanied our group to

most of

our stops.

Second, we had discussions with Rice and with Gonzales in May 2003

at the

same time and on the same matter.  Tom and Lee certainly saw

Gonzales in

person, and I think I joined them (though I’m not sure).  I think I

spoke

with Rice on the phone, not in person.  Rice was involved because a

key

issue we were pressing at that time was our decision to work all the

‘day

of’ issues at the White House and thus seek access to highly

compartmented

information about White House emergency procedures (continuity of

government

and continuity of operations).  These discussions produced various

briefings

and other information during the summer.

Third, we all remember having conversations with everyone we knew at

the

White House in the middle of the summer, around July 2003, at the

time we

were debating the new document requests (EOP #2 and EOP #3), arguing

how the

White House and NSC could/should comply with them, and issuing our

first big

public report about this and other matters.  I probably spoke to

Rice then,

but not in person.

After September 2003 no one can recall any occasion on which I spoke

to

Rice, either in person or over the phone during the remaining ten

months of

the Commission’s life.  Although I attended the Commission interview

of her,

and the hearing, I don’t think I spoke to her on either occasion.

Philip Zelikow

White Burkett Miller Professor

Department of History

101 Randall Hall

University of Virginia

 

@@@@@@

April 25, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Apr 25, 2007 1:54 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

Thanks for the answers, and the follow-up.

As I think you know, the Rice contacts (and the contact with Rove)

fed the staff conspiracy theories, especially among staff already

suspicious of your past ties to the Bush administration. Your Rice

and Rove contacts were a major topic of conversation and speculation

on the staff, and not just among the more partisan Democratic

staffers.

I think at various times, including in the KSG interviews, you’ve

suggested that you cut off all ties with Rice and others in the

White House to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. But

obviously there were some contacts (for what you suggest here are

completely legitimate reasons).

The conspiracy theorists found more to go on after it was widely

reported among the staffers that you had ordered the secretarial

staff to stop logging in your phone contacts a the White House. (Dan

Marcus has told me that he was aware of that order—he was alerted to

it.)

So may we go through some of this?

(And again, pardon the tone of these questions, but they do reflect

the passions of several of your former staff members on the

commission.)

1)   Several staffers have told me that they would have found it

difficult, if not impossible, to have an honest conversation in your

presence about Rice’s performance at the NSC, given your past

friendship. Especially on Team 3. I’m sure you feel they are

overstating the case, but can you see how they might have felt that

way?

2)   Can you see where even a few limited contacts with Rice,

whatever the circumstances, created an appearance problem? Wouldn’t

it have been better to deal with Hadley or have someone else deal

with Rice?

3) Judging by your last answer, there was a lunch at the White House

with Rice and her staff in September 2003 (or thereabouts)?

4)    During the life of the commission, you and I talked about your

contact with Rove – and how it involved Miller Center business. And

I believe you suggested that you had cut off the contact with Rove

after the first call and referred him to the Miller Center, to avoid

any appearance of a conflict. But didn’t your contacts with Rove

continue over several months?

5)    As I understand it, Rove wanted to talk to you originally

because he had a neighbor who had some valuable oral history

material for the Miller Center. Is that right?

6)    I was told by a senior White House official that you had been

aggressive in the early months of the Bush administration in urging

Rove to designate the Miller Center as the repository for the Bush

43 oral history, or at least lay the groundwork for that. Is that

right?

7)    I was told by the same senior official that there was some

“innocuous” conversation between you and Rove about the work of the

9/11 commission during your phone contacts. Does that sound right?

7)    As I noted above, Dan Marcus has told me that he was aware of

your order to secretarial staff not to record White House calls in

the phone logs. Why did you make that request?  Can you tell me the

circumstances of that request? (I believe it followed some of the

initial press calls – perhaps even mine—about the Rove contacts,

which in turn were prompted by a couple of staff investigators

catching a glimpse of the phone logs.)

9)    Can you see where your request to keep White House contacts

out of the phone logs created additional suspicions among the staff

about your motives?

10)                     My guess: You are a difficult, very

demanding boss and you keep information to yourself, and this feeds

conspiracy theories about you – theories that may have on basis in

truth. (I see it in practice everyday at the NYT.) Does that sound

right?

Thanks again.

 

@@@@@@

May 4, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

 

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: May 4, 2007 5:59 PM

To: Philip Shenon

 

Sorry for the long delay.  I’ve been preoccupied with an essay that

may be of slight, related interest, on “Legal Policy for a Twilight

War.”  A copy is attached and it is posted on the web at:

http://www.hjil.org/lecture/2007/lecture.pdf.  Answers to your

questions below.

 

If someone says they were reticent, and gives the reason, they are

entitled to their opinion.  But there were many wide-open

discussions about the performance of all of the relevant principals,

including Rice.  Also, written drafts were exchanged many times on

all these subjects (thus avoiding the need for direct conversation

by people who felt shy).  Y ou might wish to be sure the staffers

making these assertions are the ones who were actually involved in

those conversations, and that their information is firsthand — and

this is certainly true if they say they are speaking for the rest of

Team 3.

As usual when such assertions are made, it is useful to be specific,

and look at the range of choice in interpreting the contested

language or episode and then judge how we came down.  When one

drills down to the particular factual points where key judgments

about Rice might be offered, the occasions are relatively few in

number and were not as controversial among the staff as a number of

other problems of interpretation.

The questions of how to describe the activities of Reno, Ashcroft,

the FBI, Tenet, Clarke, Rumsfeld, Cohen, Albright, and more were all

contested, arising out of particular episodes.  And many of our

staffers had worked closely with one or more of those people, so

lots of feelings or connections had to be overlooked.

And then there were the commissioners, and their ability to suggest

additions or subtractions of their own.

And in handling the transition of 2000-2001 I did not participate in

the drafting process at all.

Your question does connect to some broader points:

1. People are supposed to do their job with integrity.  If they feel

they can’t meet that standard, they should resign.  Everyone at the

Commission was a volunteer; none jeopardized any civil service

status by coming or going.

2. Many people in public life carry their convictions into

ideologies, then into the sectarian division of other

Americans, including their colleagues, into right thinking/wrong

thinking people — then into good/bad people.  And they assume the

folks on the other side are probably just like them.  Since Tom and

Lee did not want the Commission to become a partisan political

operation, and we were working in a realm where factual details and

professional judgments were vital, it is fortunate the Commission

was not led by such sectarians and that its report was not

decisively shaped by such attitudes.  But, as in every public

organization, the Commission had its share of people involved who

see the world this way.

3. It is interesting that the publicized theories of malign

influence (Zelikow & Rice, for example) tend to run only one way.  I

have not seen many printed allegations that the Commission softened

its treatment of the Clinton administration, or Berger, or Reno, or

Clarke, because key staff members were friends of those individuals

or other high figures in that administration.  I think the reasons

for this tendency to run the argument one way, and not the other,

are more about sociology and political currrents than because the

facts support one view and not the other.

I should note that there are actually some Republicans who say such

things.  But, if they talk to journalists at all, few if any of the

journalists would dignify the allegations by printing them.  The

Gorelick slurs have gotten a little more ink.  But again, though the

particulars on that are more complex (beyond Ashcroft’s shotgun

charges) and, when one gets to specifics, she did not prejudice our

handling of the relevant issues.

4. In my case I had a pretty long, public, and published, track

record (running through the Carter-Ford and Markle Foundation

reports) from which one could judge my ability to play straight with

facts and offer professional judgments.  The Commission could have

tried to choose an executive director who had few if any ties to any

of the principal figures in the investigation.  To get someone with

sufficient qualifications, that could have proved rather difficult.

Even when one looks at relevant academics.

5.   But since the problem of perception is going to be there, you

can’t answer it with talk.  You can only answer it in the work.

That meant play it as straight as I could, neither shading for the

administration, or displaying reverse prejudice against it to prove

‘objectivity.’  And it also underscored the importance of using

collegial methods with plenty of peer comment.

By the way, this is true in almost any major analytical effort that

claims to be authoritative.  Even in writing about dead people,

academics can form powerful, emotional, ties of vicarious allegiance

(as on FDR and the New Deal, or many other subjects).

So when I had a point of view, I had to get in there with my

colleagues and defend it, laying out my proposed language and my

evidence and arguments for others.  And they had to do the same.  As

you’ve heard, the arguments were often long and tough, but often

around facts and interpretation, not on partisan lines.  For me, it

was not hard to apply the same standards in assessing the Clinton

administration as the Bush administration — and many of the key

issues and personalities transcended both.  Then, of course,

everything was opened up for the commissioners to review, line by

line.

 

I dealt with Rice only if she was the person who needed to do what

was sought.  And, after September 2003, I didn’t deal with her at

all.  You do have a point in that, if I had realized just how

politicized the investigative process would become, I would have

been warier about the optics from the start.  (And I might not have

taken the job in the first place.)

But I also knew that, for the people who had these suspicions,

talking to Hadley — or anyone else in the administration — doesn’t

solve their problem.  And, for those folks, it wouldn’t have solved

their problem even if I had never spoken to anyone, because their ad

hominem argument doesn’t rely on proof of scheming.

I think so, shortly before I went overseas.

I think we talked at one point about the Bush Library and the

competing institutions in Texas who wanted it.  The competing

institutions had contacted me at some point in my Miller Center

capacity because they wanted to refer to a scholarly liaison with

the Center as a selling point in their proposals.  I wanted to make

clear that we were standing clear of any of those institutions, but

it wasn’t because of any hostility to anyone.  We just didn’t want

to take sides.  This issue, and any issue of when/how the Miller

Center would turn to the Bush 43 administration in its presidential

oral history project, was then referred by me to other officials at

the Center, and — on his side — to the White House Counsel’s office.

Later there was this matter of his elderly friend who had these

papers.  It had no relation to contemporary problems; he was being

gracious to someone.  I handed that off to someone at Virginia who

might be able to help.

It may help to understand that I had various conversations with

Bruce Lindsay, and others close to President Clinton, in connection

with my Miller Center work as well, since I had negotiated the

Clinton project that we had just begun.  Same goes for the Bush 41

project that was already well underway.

Also may help you to understand that Rove and I didn’t really know

each other.  I don’t recall ever meeting or speaking with him until

he attended a meeting connected to the Carter-Ford election reform

commission work during 2001.  He made a good impression on me on

that occasion, taking an apolitical stance on the issue at hand.

After that he was a polite acquaintance, always courteous and

friendly in his dealings with me.  But I don’t recall ever having an

extended conversation with him, and certainly not about politics or

the Commission.

Discussed above.

I don’t remember actually making a pitch to Rove on this in a direct

way at all, much less an aggressive one.

If the Center maintained its project work, it was certainly going to

turn next to Bush 43, although we were preoccupied at that time with

negotiations to do the ‘life and times’ oral history effort for

Senator Edward Kennedy (this worked out and is now underway).  And I

certainly would have told them that we  hoped to have wanted their

cooperation with that, when the time came, because that had proven

to be extremely valuable in the Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, and

Clinton projects.  Andy Card knew this well, because he had been a

key principal in setting up the Bush 41 project (after he had left

office, during the late 1990s).

My preference was also for someone, either the Miller Center or

anyone else, to start work on Bush 43 relatively soon — such as

after the 2004 election, so that interviews could begin with

ex-officials relatively soon after they left office.  The Center had

never interviewed sitting officials.

The Center also had no significant profit interest in the matter —

it does not have publishing contracts or receive federal grants

related to its oral history work.

It does not sound right.  I don’t recall ever discussing the 9/11

Commission’s work with him.

I think this is recycled, garbled office gossip.  I don’t think my

office kept phone logs and I don’t believe my calls were

systematically logged.

I got phone messages on pink message slips.  Several people took

messages for me, depending on who was on duty.  And, as for the

“order,” neither I nor at least some of the people who answered my

phone can remember either seeing such logs or hearing of the “order”

you describe.

I see the problem, but I don’t think I’m the source of it.  Strange

flowers can bloom in a hothouse if people want to plant seeds and

add enough fertilizer.  I’ve seen such blossoms in many government

offices.

My guess is that you can find a spectrum of views on this, depending

on the breadth and judgment of your sources!

 

@@@@@@

 

May 11, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: May 11, 2007 8:41 AM

To: Philip Zelikow >

Dr. Zelikow,

Thanks again for your help.

Having watched George Tenet sell his book this month, ducking almost

every question of significance, I now have a better understand of

the commission’s frustrations in dealing with him. This go-round

about Perle—the opening anecdote! — was very telling.

Anyway….

Is it possible that there were phone logs that you weren’t aware of?

 

I began my career at the NYT logging the phone calls of one of the

columnists, and I couldn’t have done it without a central notebook.

I was told that the story about your contacts with Rove and Rice

spread throughout the staff because the log book was left open on

the administrative assistant’s desk and a couple of staffers saw it

sitting there and paged through it.

1)    Whatever the case, was there some directive you gave to staff

that might have been taken as an order not to record certain types

of phone calls (perhaps not to record certain calls on pink phone

slips)?

2)    Again, I was told that the “order” created alarm on the staff,

which is why Dan Marcus was alerted to it. Can you shed any light on

that?

On other subjects,

Ben Veniste….

3)    There was obviously very bad blood at the end of the

investigation between you and Ben Veniste, much of it spilled over

the question of the Aug. 6 PDB and its authors. I am told that Ben

Veniste was alarmed to discover in June or July that no one had

interviewed the authors of the Aug. 6 PDB. He becomes angry from you

over this and confronts you, demanding that he be allowed to

interview them. You resist. Is any of that correct?

4)    Ben Veniste becomes convinced that the Aug. 6 PDB was not the

product of a request from the president, as Rice and others said

repeatedly. Ben Veniste believes it was generated internally within

the CIA, possibly as a last-minute effort to warn the president that

domestic terrorist threats were not receiving proper attention. Did

you think Ben Veniste’s question was legitimate, significant?

5)    I am told you were overheard on K Street making a phone call –

on the secure phone – to the CIA, interviewing one of the Aug. 6 PDB

authors, apparently in response to this flap with Ben Veniste. The

staff is alarmed by this, if only because it seems to be a violation

of the commission’s investigative rules (perhaps a rule requiring

two staffers to be involved in an interview of such significance?).

Do you remember this phone call? Can you shed any more light on

this?

6)     About the Aug. 6 PDB, Rice (and the president) repeatedly

referred to it as “historical.” In her testimony before the

commission in April 2004, she said it “ did not warn of attacks

inside the United States. It was historical information based on old

reporting. There was no new threat information, and it did not, in

fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.” Given

what’s at the bottom of the PDB, the material about ongoing FBI

investigations and the surveillance of buildings in Manhattan,

hijacking preparations, etc., can you see why Rice’s statement was

seen by Ben Veniste and others as misleading, inaccurate?

Dana Lesemann

7)    I understand she was fired because had improperly obtained a

copy of the (in)famous 28 pages of the joint inquiry. There was a

feeling on the part of some staffers that this was a misdemeanor

that did not deserve such harsh punishment. (I believe Dan Marcus

and others felt the punishment was deserved.) Do you have any

regrets about the way this was handled?

8)    She apparently felt that you were out to get her from early

days. I understand from others that she could be difficult. But she

felt you were severely limiting her ability to carry out the

investigation of the F.B.I. – cutting back her document request and

interview requests dramatically and without explanation. Is there

any truth in that?

9)    Did you make the decision not to announce the reasons for her

departure to the staff? Should this have been handled differently?

(Her abrupt, unexplained departure obviously created a chill on the

staff, a feeling that you were trying to send a “message” – don’t

cross me. Or so I’m told.)

Recusal

10)                      May I revisit this? My impression on the

basis of additional reporting it that the recusal on you – regarding

the transition, participation in interviews with Bush 43 NSC

officials, etc – became effective at the end of 2003, after you

asked to be a “witness” and were questioned in October by Dan Marcus

and others. Is that right? There was no recusal on you at the

beginning of the investigation, was there?

Thanks.

@@@@@@

 

May 18, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: May 18, 2007 2:40 PM

To: Philip Shenon

Answers below …

 

On our issues, Tenet deserves more credit than the reviews have been

giving to him.  He was wrong on some key details about July 10,

since we know that was not an impromptu meeting and we know what the

agenda was for it and who attended it.  He was then doubly wrong to

use that supposed omission to jab at the Commission.

But put aside the particular date.  Discount the possibility that he

may be conflating more than one meeting (such as the one on May 29).

With those caveats, the core substance of his account in the book

is reasonably accurate.  The headlines on the July 10 slides are in

our report, as are headlines from a number of similar slides (he was

getting these threat updates every day on these ‘rolling’ slides,

incrementally updated with new information).

In other words, it’s a polemical argument on the other side to just

seize on his sloppiness on details to discredit everything.  Our

report validated some of his core points, including the strenuous

efforts CIA was making (more than anyone else) to stop an attack.

Our concerns with his performance were different, and tended to

relate more to broader issues of strategy, analysis, and management.

George might have been an excellent Director of Operations at CIA.

 

On these points:

1. There were no phone logs kept for my office.

 

2. At least two people who took my phone messages don’t recall

any order of this kind.

3. Dan says he has no firsthand knowledge about this either, but

that someone else told him this story.  He told me that he asked

that person if the matter should be called to my attention.  The

person declined.

4. I don’t know what lies underneath this garble.  But since my

office was not private, and was used occasionally by visiting

commissioners, I needed to take some care about what papers or

messages were left lying around and so may have said something

connected to that.  That might have been misunderstood or garbled in

retellings — anyway, that’s my best guess about how this game of

telephone got started.

5. As for the staffers paging through the papers left on my

administrative assistant’s desk, I’m not sure that more transparency

would have helped them.  They might have then just assumed that this

was another clever ruse …

Fortunately I remember this reasonably well, and all of this was

well documented at the time and is in our files, because we were

constantly updating Tom and Lee, and the rest of the commissioners.

Before Ben-Veniste’s efforts, we felt we had a good understanding

of the circumstances surrounding this PDB.  We had a written

statement from Tenet on this; we had already interviewed some of

the CTC analysts involved in preparing the document.

 

2. In addition, we had access to substantial work that the

CIA’s Inspector General had done on this topic, interviewing the

people involved in preparing and presenting this PDB.  The CIA had

initially refused to give us access to the IG’s draft work because

the report was not yet formally complete and approved, and because

the interviewees had not known that people outside CIA might have

access to their statements.  We negotiated terms of access to this

material, on condition that we not cite this still-incomplete report

as a source in our report, and that we keep our access to it as

confidential as possible.

3. Tom and Lee were aware of all of this.  When Ben-Veniste

pressed to interview, or reinterview all involved, we disclosed this

information to all commissioners.  We — everyone in the front office

— were reluctant to do this because we thought it was unnecessary

and because CIA was pleading with us not to do this, since the

career people involved in preparing and presenting PDBs would be

intimidated, disrupting the sense of confidentiality and candor they

considered essential to the PDB process (not just for the President,

but for the other cabinet-level recipients).

4. As I was preparing a summary of what we already knew for

commissioners, I called one of the analysts involved on a secure

line.  If we had sought to arrange a personal interview, it would

have taken time to schedule it, and aggravated the above concerns,

so CIA folks suggested the phone call for this discussion.  It is

not technically feasible to conduct multiparty conference calls on

the secure telephones we used.  Your mention of “the staff” is

inaccurate — the key staffers involved in the PDB work were aware of

and understood what was going on, and helped prepare our internal

written summaries of the evidence.

5. The commissioners then joined us in weighing these costs

and benefits for further interviews.  The matter was hotly debated.

The decision was to go forward and schedule at least some of the

interviews that Ben-Veniste requested, with other commissioners

insisting on being present to insure that the questioning was

conducted appropriately.

6. We then conducted further interviews (with Barbara S.,

for example, whom we had already interviewed in April).  They were

useful, of course, but did not alter the description or judgments

you will find in the report (on p. 260), including on the issue of

how the item originated.

 

To be sure the record was clear, we went into detail about the

origin and character of every assertion referenced in the last part

of the PDB.  See note 37 on p. 535.  You will see why we found that

this reference did not veil any new, credible threat information.

And we discovered the origin of the hijacking information referenced

earlier in the PDB, referring to the 1998 threat which we describe

in detail elsewhere in the report (including reprinting that PDB).

But, to be fair to him, it is possible that Ben-Veniste did not know

or understand these details, especially since we had not yet

assembled all this information at the time of Rice’s public

testimony.  So Ben-Veniste may well have believed in good faith that

Rice’s statements were misleading.

The controversy over the PDB is a bit misleading, though, because

the current threat information was abundant and frequently briefed

to the President (especially in May, June, and July) — and everyone

always thought and agreed that UBL would want to attack the United

States anywhere he could, including inside the USA.  The CIA

analysts wanted to use the August PDB to underscore that point, but

they were pushing on an open door.

It then comes back to the issue of domestic response to the earlier

‘strategic’ warning of a coming attack, the warnings of late spring

and early summer.  But you can also see our puzzlement when, despite

that strategic warning, no one seemed to link those warnings to the

August news (internally) about Moussaoui’s arrest and the

realization that the ‘Kuala Lumpur’ duo were inside the United

States.

One irony in this reported complaint:  I handpicked Lesemann to be

one of the former Joint Inquiry staffers to whom we would make an

offer, and I recruited her personally to take the job.  I knew about

her work for the JI and how she was regarded there.

I was not directly involved in vetting Lesemann’s document or

interview requests.  Marcus and Dunne would have worked with her

team’s leader, using general guidance we agreed upon together.  The

best measure of this complaint would be in our subsequent work.  On

the topics she was covering, we eventually had to reinvestigate

every aspect from scratch, and took the investigation much further

than the Joint Inquiry had found possible.  We eventually obtained

very wide access to relevant documents, especially at the FBI.  If

there are shortcomings in that work, I don’t think they are

attributable to our failure to seek out needed USG documents.

Lesemann committed a set of very serious violations in the handling

of the most highly classified information, violations that had gone

on for months before we discovered them.  The violations were

serious enough that one of our options was a criminal referral.

Further, we had informed every incoming staffer that we would have a

zero-tolerance policy on the handling of classified information.

That was partly because we were pressing the administration very

hard to give us unprecedented, wideranging access to government

secrets, and the administration and press would have seized upon any

negligence on our part in discharging that trust.  Under the

circumstances, all of the Commission leadership — in the staff front

office as well as Tom and Lee — thought we needed to act firmly and

promptly.

Out of respect for Lesemann and her privacy interests, including

related legal issues, we could not detail the reasons for our action

to the rest of the staff, and I cannot go into more detail about

them now.

I was never recused from participation in interviews of officials in

either administration.  I did not actively participate in the

interviews of Rice and Hadley.  But I actively participated — and

often led — interviews of other senior officials in both

administrations, including most of the cabinet officials and

President Clinton.  If the Commission had regarded me as unable to

work with integrity on either of the administrations being

investigated, they would have had to replace me.  The same would be

true for any leading member of the staff — front office or team

leaders.

I recused myself from work on issues in which I had personally been

involved, namely the NSC transition activities between December 2000

and January 2001.  And I did not work on those issues at any time

during my service, except to help others in their investigation.

Thanks.

 

@@@@@@

Sept. 20, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

 

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Sep 20, 2007 8:59 AM

To: mailto:pzelikow

Dr. Zelikow,

I’m sorry about the long delay since my last set of questions.  I

spent much of the summer writing. I’m now back at my day job at the

NYT and trying to do some final reporting for the book.

As you may have heard, I was at the State Department a couple weeks

back for the book. You have many admirers there. Given the state of

the world, I think they would like you back.  Your intervention of

the detainee policy is remembered with gratitude.

I’m hoping you have time for some additional questions:

1)      Secretary Rice’s office says it came up with a final total

of contacts between you and her during the course of the 9/11

commission investigation: four. That would have been face-to-face

contacts, as opposed to telephone calls (if there were any). Does

that sound right? (By the way, Lee Hamilton confirms that he was

aware of your contacts with Rice as they happened and raised no

objections to them.)

2)      The final report makes no judgment as to whether 9/11 could

have been prevented (although both Kean and Hamilton made such a

statement publicly). Was that a conscious decision? Did you support

it?

3)      I know Team 3 wanted to include a passage in the final

report that compared the public records of Bush and Clinton

regarding the number of public statements each had made about

terrorism. I was told that you felt very strongly that this was

unfair, because Bush had been in office only eight months before

9/11, and should not be included. I’m told that Albion, Bass and

Marcus all felt strongly that it should be included, and there’s

quite a debate. At your insistence, the commissioners agree to

remove the passage. Is that correct?

4)      You’ll recall this business, at the end of the

investigation, with Ben Veniste and the authors of the Aug. 6 PDB.

Ben Veniste has left me with the impression that while at least one

of the authors (Barbara S.) had been interviewed earlier in the

investigation, she was not interviewed in any detail about the Aug.

6 PDB until he intervened. Does that sound right?

5)      You’ll recall the dispute over Scott Allan’s staff statement

and Iraq and this brief passage that you inserted. May I be sure I

understand this? The passage you inserted (two sentences, you say)

was very similar to the wording that appeared in the final report –

namely, that there had been contacts over the years between Iraq and

Al Qaeda. Your passage then did not address the question, resolved

later, over whether there had been a “collaborative relationship,”

simply that there had been contacts. Is that right?

6)      Team 3 members describe this as an important dispute. They

feel that if the commission had made a statement at that point

suggesting any sort of relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, there

would have been headlines (“Commission staff finds Iraq-Qaeda link”

or some such) that would have been seized on by the White House to

justify the Iraq invasion. I’m sure you feel this is overblown. But

were you aware of their fears? Was there any justification for their

fears?

7)      There’s a wonderful scene described to me by other staff

members in which Doug MacEachin goes before the commissioners and

fools them by announcing that he has found an important, overlooked

1997 intelligence report that pulls together all known intelligence

on Al Qaeda. It turns out, of course, that there was no such report.

He is trying to make the point that the CIA had plenty of

information about Al Qaeda but never pulled together a comprehensive

analysis, the (limited) 1995 and 1997 NIEs notwithstanding. Do you

remember this?

8)      Members of the “plot” team say they opposed many of the

changes made by Dieter Snell in the wording of the passages in the

final report about San Diego and the possibility of a Saudi/Arab

support network. Lehman, in particular, has told me that he was

concerned that Dieter was much too cautious, especially when it came

to the potentially explosive revelations about San Diego. Did you

share that concern about Dieter?

9)      I’ve read and reread Professor May’s New Republic piece

about the commission. He does write about weaknesses in the final

report, including its failure to make a judgment in the Clarke-Rice

disputes (he seems to side with Clarke). How did you feel about that

piece? Did you share his concerns about the report’s weaknesses.

Were you surprised that he backed Clarke?

10)  I’ve read your letter in response to Falkenrath’s criticism in

International Security. He is obviously very critical of the

commission’s final report. I see Falkenrath was a colleague of yours

(and May’s) at Harvard. Did you have any background with him that

might explain the tone of that article?

Thank you.

@@@@@@

 

Sept. 20, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Sep 20, 2007 10:49 PM

To: Philip Shenon

As usual, answers are below, in green.  

Philip Zelikow  

            That could well be right.  I’ve already told you all I can recall  

            about this, and though I wasn’t keeping a tally sheet, this  

            information sounds consistent with what I told  you.   

              

              

              

            I remember shying away from too-catchy or misleading soundbites, but  

            I don’t remember a particular debate about it.  But the textbox  

            summarizing ten critical operational miscues was my idea, and I  

            think I drafted that particular synthesis … and that got pretty  

            close.  It is probably what lies behind the Kean-Hamilton  

            statements.   

              

            Here’s a bit more of an explanation of my thinking on this very  

            important and volatile question.  Four observations:  

              

            1. One can note various systemic flaws, but the causal chains get  

            too attenuated to make a big claim.   

              

            2. The high policy issues are fundamental.  The window to stop 9/11  

            through a different ‘high policy’ probably closes by about January  

            2001, because of the operational progress of the plot.  Yet an  

            effort to focus on high policy attention in that way would also have  

            been unfair, not just because it points more at one administration  

            but also because again the causal conjectures are too attenuated.   

              

            3. The most critical operational miscues have clearer causal  

            connections and the causal links are more proximate.  That’s why we  

            broke them out and listed them.  

              

            4. One of the most neglected observations in the report was in our  

            section comparing the Millenium period (end 1999) with the ‘summer  

            of threat’ in 2001.  We there made the point (in a subsection  

            principally drafted by May) that the main driver in all the  

            attention in the earlier period was the massive publicity  

            surrounding the Ressam arrest.  We contrasted that with the muffling  

            secrecy of Summer 2001.  Imagine what might have happened if the  

            Moussaoui arrest had gotten the kind of publicity and extended  

            coverage that accompanied the Ressam arrest.  Perhaps someone might  

            even have asked themselves whether there might be some connection  

            between that arrest and the volumes of threat reports pouring in.   

            And we had evidence from KSM that, had he known of the Moussaoui  

            arrest, he might have cancelled the operation.   

              

              

              

              

              

            You are right that such a passage was proposed.  I recall only one  

            member of Team 3 defending it.   I don’t believe Marcus agreed.  And  

            both Kojm and I disagreed.  I’m not sure that the issue ever came  

            before commissioners.  It was a misleading data point, not just  

            because of time in office but—more importantly—because of the  

            substance of the public statements.  Clinton tended to call  

            attention to terrorism in a different context that didn’t  

            necessarily relate to Bin Ladin or al Qaeda.  If we thought we could  

            prove a significant difference in administration policies, let’s  

            just say and prove that rather than look to make debating points.   

              

            I think I discussed this earlier.  We had looked into it ourselves.   

            We also had access to the CIA IG work & interviews on this as well  

            (a point we softpedaled, because the circumstances of our gaining  

            this access were so sensitive).  So we felt we understood this well.  

              

              

            But, on the other hand, if Richard believes that, having fought to  

            do more, he contributed more to our understanding. I’m happy to go  

            along.  These are matters of judgment.   Our records on this point  

            are good, since I summarized the state of our knowledge on this  

            matter in writing for commissioners, and others can eventually come  

            to their own conclusions.   

                

              

              

            5 & 6 together.  It may help to go over this in more detail.  

              

            We proposed adding two or three sentences on both Iraq and Iran to  

            the Team 3 staff statement.  The language had been drafted by Team  

            1, principally by MacEachin.  Team 3 objected.  I think Scott and  

            Warren, at least, had the concern about giving credence to a side in  

            the Iraq war debate.  Others, including Hurley, emphasized that the  

            material came from another team and was beyond the scope of their  

            statement.   

              

            Why had we sought to include it?  Because it related to the issue of  

            state-sponsored terrorism, and the thready links of those two states  

            to al Qaeda in the early years.  In addition to the material from  

            the early 1990s, we may also have referred to the Clarke material  

            pointing a finger at Iraq in 1998 and 1999 (this also ended up in  

            the report).  So there was a logical argument for putting it in the  

            foreign policy statement.   

              

            I was indeed argumentative about this, since I resented any  

            implication of political motive (which was denied).    

              

            To be fair to the staff members, they came from a different  

            background and mindset.  They had little experience with me.  There  

            was more inherent suspicion there than I had realized.     

              

            I did know that the Iraq debate was a lightning rod.  I had taken  

            care never to discuss my views about the Iraq war with anyone on the  

            Commission.  In fact, though I thought some strong action on Iraq  

            was needed in the fall of 2002 (joining the general international  

            consensus), I have never publicly discussed what I thought at the  

            time or since about the decision to go beyond the UN consensus and  

            invade Iraq at that time and under those circumstances.  (This has  

            been the subject of a misunderstanding in a different context, but I  

            won’t bore you with that.)   

              

            So I was probably too defensive about the matter, and I was  

            defensive on behalf of MacEachin too, since I have a high regard for  

            his integrity.  But, on reflection, I concluded then and still  

            believe that Hurley’s argument was right.  Kojm and Marcus thought  

            so too, and they too were right.  It was a Team 3 staff statement.   

            Adding the material could have been too eye-catching, and only later  

            would we be offering the full verdict on Iraq and 9/11.  As for  

            whether all this really seems important now, since we ended up using  

            the material anyway in a different and more understandable context,  

            you can judge.   

              

            But you’ll note the material dealt with both Iran and Iraq.  We  

            ended up handling both matters in the Team 1 staff statement which  

            we issued in May 2004.  The Iraq-9/11 verdict then so aroused the  

            ire of the Vice President and Bill Safire, among others.  Little  

            note has been taken so far of what we said in the report about Iran.  

              

              

            Yes.  I don’t remember whether he actually tried to fool the  

            commissioners with a pretend report, but I do remember that he  

            offered commissioners an elaborate demonstration of the contrast.   

            (It is one of the reasons why the CIA IG, when they asked two  

            referees—both intel veterans—to provide peer review of their  

            conclusions on the quality of CIA’s analytical product, they all  

            came in with the same conclusions.  Doug is an exemplar for the  

            old-fashioned analytical standards.)   

              

            There was a split in Team 1A on some of these issues, but the  

            specifics are important.  On the particular matters that I think  

            bothered Lehman, which I think had to do with a couple of the Saudi  

            individuals, I thought Dieter and his team were right.  John also  

            was a longstanding advocate of the Prague meeting (having heard  

            arguments being made on this by Edward Jay Epstein and others) and  

            the possible 9/11 Iraq connection.  There Dieter and his team were  

            united.   

              

            There was an especially tough problem that did split the team in  

            handling the southern California material, but it had a healthy  

            outcome.  We sat down together, hashed it out, and decided just to  

            lay out what we knew and didn’t know, being honest in presenting it.  

             Both sides agreed the final way we put it together adequately  

            captured their views.  If you go back, you’ll be able to tell which  

            passage I mean.     

              

            Incidentally, Dieter was rarely if ever the only one in his team who  

            held a particular view.  And I came to admire his care and  

            professionalism.  He was slow to judgment, but his judgments were  

            reliable.  

              

            There were other loose threads with San Diego where we were a bit  

            frustrated, but on some of those I don’t think the team was divided.  

             To this day, we are surprised the public has not noticed some of  

            the material on people like our favorite imam, who shows up again in  

            Falls Church, or on Mohdar Abdullah, and on what happened to those  

            people.  These are mainly Yemeni connections and we could not find  

            the evidence to chase the trails to their end.  Mohdar was sent home  

            while we were working this.  The imam, who was a dual citizen  

            (US-Yemeni), has been active in recent years.   

              

              

            I thought the New Republic piece was generally right, aside from a  

            couple of quibbles.    

              

            I think you have misjudged Ernest’s views on Clarke-Rice.  His views  

            and mine are similar, though we tend to talk about different aspects  

            of them.     

              

            Ernest and I thought Clarke really had sounded the alarm; he really  

            was seized with these issues and had done much to keep them afloat.   

            Neither of us had as much use for his bureaucratic complaints, which  

            had so much to do with the adjustment in the way two very different  

            staffs were run, one where he had an inside track to a friend and  

            protector and one that was much more formal and bureaucratic.  And  

            Clarke also had trouble building coalitions on either policy or  

            implementation among the main executive departments (State, Defense,  

            Main Justice) in either administration.  He was effective as an  

            advocate and bureaucratic fighter, less so as a coordinator of  

            national policy.   

              

            Ernest thought the Commission could have said tougher things about  

            both the Clinton and Bush administrations.  He is right about that.   

            Ernest had drafted the toughest material on the Clinton  

            administration (taken out mainly at the staff level before it ever  

            reached commissioners) and he had reworked the Bush material too.   

            Ernest thought the Clarke “important, but not urgent” line was true.  

             But Ernest thought that verdict should have been levied against  

            both administrations.   

              

            A key point:  The language scrubbed out was almost always  

            interpretive.  Where we fought tooth and nail was to keep  

            commissioners from abridging or inappropriately amending any factual  

            description.  We had the evidence to back up our statements and  

            fought successfully to keep them.  A good example of this was our  

            detailed description of the decisionmaking after the Cole bombing in  

            October 2000.  Our solace was that, if we lay out the record, people  

            are always able to make their own interpretations of it.  And on  

            some issues, like the covert action findings in 1998-1999, the  

            hardest part of the job—the part others later might find impossible  

            to reconstruct—was just to piece together what had happened.   

              

            We had harder language on both administration in one of our summing  

            up chapters that was taken out by commissioners on both sides.   

            Someday some persistent and hopefully conscientious researcher can  

            unearth our original drafts, and Ernest did quite a bit of work on  

            the Bush administration period, and judge for themselves.   

              

            Check with Ernest on this.  I asked him last month whether he had  

            spoken with you.  He said you had left a message and he had been  

            negligent in responding to it.  I urged him to be helpful.  So you  

            might try again.   

              

              

            Falkenrath and I both thought this was a reasonably friendly essay!   

            So I guess you see the kind of give and take we’re used to .     

              

            We do know each other.  I like and respect him.  He was actually  

            very kind about much of the report.  He was in the administration  

            when the report came out, and I think his essay reflects the more  

            thoughtful and considerate end of the spectrum among some folks who  

            were on the receiving end of our ideas.  And where Falkenrath’s  

            concerns are right, we didn’t try to argue with him.   

              

            Reflecting more broadly, I think our particular judgments are  

            holding up.  Even on the DNI point, where I was a little slower  

            convert, the evidence is starting to mount.  Just last week I asked  

            a senior figure in the community, an old CIA hand, whether he was  

            nostalgic for any of the old management structure.  He was emphatic:  

             No!  I think that’s because this is finally taking off, now that  

            the leadership of the whole intelligence community has been very  

            deliberately reshuffled and now that Rumsfeld has gone.  McConnell  

            refused to take the job until after Rumsfeld left.  You’ve been  

            following some of what’s happened at Justice.  Much has happened  

            just in the last nine months.  EO 12333 is being rewritten even as I  

            write this.   

              

            But the organization issues have always gotten too much attention in  

            comparison to the fundamental shift in consciousness and strategy.   

            That large ship started turning a few years ago, and it still needs  

            to turn some more.  We had built and launched it rather hurriedly,  

            as happens in such cases.  But the fundamental direction is now more  

            promising, and I think the Commission’s basic ideas about the past  

            and future are part of the explanation for that.   

              

              

              

Thank you.

@@@@@@

 

Sept. 22, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Sep 22, 2007 5:11 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

Thanks, as always, for the quick response.

Just for the record. I did talk with Professor May’s office back in

the spring and got an email reply from him, saying he wanted to

answer questions by email. I then forwarded some questions to my by

email.—this was in early April—and did not hear back. I then

contacted his office again to make sure that my questions were

received, told yes, and still did not hear back. So I assumed he

chose not to participate. Luckily, he did have that extraordinarily

detailed piece in TNR.

Some follow-up on May:

1) There is this passage in the May’s piece: “Passages in the report

dealing with the Bush administration can be read as preoccupied with

avoiding even implicit endorsement of Clarke’s public charge that

the president and his aides ‘considered terrorism an important issue

but not an urgent issue.’ I think myself that the charge is

manifestly true—for both administrations.” He then refer to the

language in the report “that shields Bush’s advisers.”

Would you support those statements?

2) And on Falkenrath, maybe I should focus on his response to your

letter to International Security. He wrote, in respone, about the

report’s “imprecise, anodyne and impersonal assignment of

responsibility for the U.S. government’s failure to prevent the 9/11

attacks.” He is specifically critical of the lack of personal

accountability in the report. “I am disappointed that May and

Zelikow continue to defend this approach, not because of any zeal on

my part to blame anyone in particular for the government’s failure

to prevent 9/11 but because it is exactly the wrong message to send

to future government officials.” The closing line of his response:

“The 9/11 commisson instead focused on a handful of amorphous,

impersonal causal factors, none of which is nearly as compelling as

the notion that an identifiable set of government officials made bad

decisions about where to apply their energies and, as a result,

failed to do the job that the American people and the right to

expect them to do.”

That struck me as pretty harsh criticism of the report. Not you?

3) Can you tell me if you have any particular memory of the Rice

public hearing?

4) Were you upset when Kerrey asked his question about Rice’s

relationship with you?

5) What did you think of Ben Veniste’s tone in questioning Rice?

6) Do you think Rice was fillibustering—intentionally running out

the clock?

7) There was apparently exchange between you and Raj De, who was

doing some research during that hearing on behalf of Ben Veniste.

Supposedly you angrily tell De: “This isn’t the DNC.” Do you

remember anything like?

8)

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Sep 22, 2007 5:19 PM

To: pdz

Sorry, my email system went down, so I didn’t finish out the

questions…….

…..

8) You’ll recall during the Clarke hearing that there was discussion

of this “background” briefing that Clarke had given to reporters in

defense of Bush’s anti-terrorism planning. Did you know anything

about the briefing transcript before it was publicized by Fox that

morning? Did you think it raised legitimate questions about Clarke’s

credibility? A member of Team 3 told me that you appeared pleased by

the disclosure.

9)  About Rice. Is it fair to assume that your first discussions

with Rice about joining the administration did not occur until after

the final report was issued? (You won’t be surprised to hear that

the conspiracy theorists assume otherwise.)

10)  Was there some sort of security-breach investigation—misuse of

classified documents, I think—towards the end of the investigation?

I know no details about this at all (the very first I heard of this

was on Thursday of this week).

Thank you.

 

@@@@@@

 

Sept. 22, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

 

 

———- From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Sep 27, 2007 7:43 PM

To: Philip Shenon

Answers below.  Sorry for the delay in answering these.  A busy  

            week.  

              

            pz  

            I would not have used the phrase “shields Bush’s advisers” anymore  

            than, in a different context, I would have used a term like “shields  

            Clinton’s advisers.”  Phrases like that can so easily be quoted out  

            of context.  But I think his particular, substantive statement is  

            fair.     

              

            To be even more specific, we could have written a detailed critique  

            of the interagency process and how it worked on these issues in both  

            administrations.  The NSC systems were very different, almost  

            opposites—the strengths of one were weaknesses of the other and vice  

            versa.    But the kind of detailed subjective interpretation to  

            offer that point of view would not have got through the staff (we  

            tried some initial versions of this) and probably would not have  

            made it by commissioners as well.  Somewhat narrower versions of  

            these critiques were drafted, and screened out by commissioner edits  

            that effectively cancelled each other out.  Again, our focus was to  

            lay out the facts, empowering readers to make their better informed  

            interpretive judgments of their own.   

               

            Seems pretty tame compared to some charges I’ve heard.  

              

            More seriously, I don’t think Richard was aware of or was following  

            the IG work being done at both CIA and Justice that covered most of  

            the individuals that could have been spotlighted at the operational  

            level.  But we were aware of that work.   

              

            Again, we laid out the facts, including on individuals.  We  

            sometimes used pseudonyms either to protect classified identities or  

            to avoid spotlighting working-level individuals in potentially  

            tragic ways.  Reflect a little on what would happen to a  

            working-level official, living in a community, who is suddenly  

            spotlighted in a national report in a way that the media might play  

            up as a ‘culprit’ for an attack that killed 3000 people.  Think  

            about what happens to that person, how that person deals with that.   

            We did.  And we knew what the IGs were doing.   

              

            At the higher policy level, we did name names.  And, at that level,  

            which is what I think Richard is talking about—at least in part—I  

            can guess how Richard would have filled out at least some of that  

            indictment.  I think many staff members and commissioners would not  

            have concurred with his bill of particulars.     

              

            There are many people who wish we had slammed someone harder—usually  

            they have some particular people in mind and usually there would not  

            have been consensus agreement on saying what they wanted to say.  So  

            again we came back to arming people with the facts to convene, if  

            they wish, their own little grand juries.   

            I remember it pretty well.  A welter of images and fragments.  

            Bob said something to me, either before or after, to indicate that  

            he thought that, by asking that question, he would just get the  

            issue in the open as a way of protecting me.  He gave me advice on  

            where I should sit … again to the same effect.  He has a  

            distinctive way of handling issues.  Though it’s always awkward to  

            be spotlighted on TV in such a way, I understood what he was trying  

            to do and saw no trace of meanness in it.   

            I used to be a trial lawyer, and I have different views about the  

            most effective ways to cross-examine witnesses one regards as  

            hostile.  My view of Richard’s performance in this case is that,  

            except for the partisans already on his side, his approach became  

            counterproductive as it went on—in relation to his own goals.   

            At the time I wasn’t focusing on that.  There is a way to  

            cross-examine a witness in order to manage that concern.  It turns  

            on very careful preparation of the questions, and sequencing.  In  

            Congress, Carl Levin is a master at this.  And you’ll have noticed  

            that some commissioners were very good at this too, when they  

            wished.   

              

               

            I do remember it.  Richard had placed Raj in a totally inappropriate  

            position.  To understand why, it helps to understand more about our  

            procedures.  We had a process to help commissioners prepare for  

            hearings.  For the Rice hearing, key figures in the prep were the  

            members of Team 3, since they were most familiar with the relevant  

            records and had prepared the briefing materials.   

              

            What Richard did was to go outside the designated staff support,  

            pick a young staffer who hadn’t worked on those records at all and  

            ask him to become a personal ‘oppo’ researcher for his  

            cross-examination.  (Hence the DNC or RNC analogy, where they hire  

            ‘oppo’ research staffs.)  I made the decision to hire Raj and I  

            don’t regret it.  He did a superb job.  He’s so good that someday he  

            may be in a position like the one I held, and then he can reflect  

            back on this again.  Richard placed Raj in a bad position.  The  

            staffer is reluctant to say no, mindful of professional futures.   

            Maybe the staffer agrees with the commissioner’s politics and wants  

            to help.  Either case is very, very dangerous for the commission.   

              

            This particular case was raised with the rest of the front office  

            right away, and even with Tom and Lee.  Because once this starts  

            happening, every commissioner then finds their ‘simpatico’ staffer,  

            regardless of their formal responsibilities for the witness, and  

            presses them into service.  Then the notion of the nonpartisan,  

            unified staff—always under inherent stress—really fractures.   

            Because other staffers know what is going on … they react … you  

            can play it out.     

              

            So, as a manager, it is my duty to stop this sort of thing right  

            away and urge commissioners to work through the designated support  

            staff (and in this case, surely Richard could not complain that they  

            would not be helpful or objective).  And I would have done (and may  

            in fact have done) the same thing in the case of a Republican  

            commissioner conscripting a personal staffer, on an unconnected  

            team, for cross-examination of a Clinton administration witness.   

 

@@@@@@ 

               

              

———-

Sept. 27, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Sep 27, 2007 8:10 PM

To: Philip Shenon

I did not know anything about the transcript before it came out.  I

didn’t even know the document existed.

This sort of ‘he appeared pleased’ stuff … really.

Substantively it was an interesting document.  For instance, the

March 2001 point that Ernest mentions in his TNR article—he is

referencing that transcript.

The basic issues for Clarke’s credibility were already raised by

other documents.  More important than that piece was Clarke’s sworn,

classified testimony to the Joint Inquiry.  Folks had access to some

of that but couldn’t refer publicly to what was said in it.  The

basic issue was still:  You said nice things about them then; why

are you attacking them now.  And Clarke has his answer to that.

Etc.

Later than that.  I assumed, with reason, that my commission service

had burned whatever bridges I had left, and so did not expect to go

back into government anytime soon.  Others gossiped of course, but I

thought I knew better.

The first inkling that I might be asked in came after the November

election, and after the President announced that he would nominate

Rice to replace Powell.  (From what I read in Woodward, etc., it’s

not clear that even she expected to be offered this job, and may

have been planning to leave govt.)  And the question for me was

tightly connected to the offer to Zoellick to be her deputy and to

Burns to become the undersecretary for political affairs, both

people I knew very well.  Folks then explained that I might be part

of this new, interesting team that would try to do some new things.

 

I’m not sure I know what your source was talking about.

———-

 

@@@@@@

 

Oct. 1, 2007,  Shenon to Zelikow

 

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Oct 1, 2007 7:16 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

Dr. Zelikow,

Thanks again for your quick response.

Here’s what I understand about this DOJ/FBI investigation. (And

again, I’m sorry to get around to this issue so late in the

reporting for my book. But I did hear about this for the first time

only in the last two weeks).

First things first, I understand that the investigation ended

inconclusively.

But at some point towards the end of the commission’s investigation,

a third agency—I suspect it was your adversaries at the CIA, but I

don’t know that—made a referral to the DOJ/FBI about potential

mishandling of classified information. It apparently related to your

email traffic, the allegation being that you disclosed classified

information in emails. I don’t know if it was any broader than that.

I understand that the commission was alerted to the probe and urged

that it be shut down—that if there was any security breach, it was

inadvertent. I do not know if the commissioners were aware of this.

Obviously there was no finding of wrongdoing, since you go to work

in a sensitive post at State several months later.

Does any of this sound familiar?

*****

There was apparently also some security concern much earlier in the

commission’s work that involved the commission’s security office and

you. It had something to do with the use or transmission of

classified information when you were on the road. Apparently as a

result of this concern, a SCIF was made available to in

Charlottesville.

*****

Any help you can give on these issues would be appreciated.

Was there any concern on your part that you might have mishandled

classified information inadvertently?

Thanks.

 

@@@@@@

 

 

Oct. 2, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Oct 2, 2007 12:50 PM

To: Philip Shenon

Answers below.

On 10/1/07 8:16 PM, “Philip Shenon”

wrote:

> Dr. Zelikow,

>

> Thanks again for your quick response.

>

> Here’s what I understand about this DOJ/FBI investigation. (And

again, I’m

> sorry to get around to this issue so late in the reporting for my

book. But

> I did hear about this for the first time only in the last two

weeks).

>

> First things first, I understand that the investigation ended

> inconclusively.

>

> But at some point towards the end of the commission’s

investigation, a third

> agency—I suspect it was your adversaries at the CIA, but I don’t

know

> that—made a referral to the DOJ/FBI about potential mishandling of

 

> classified information. It apparently related to your email

traffic, the

> allegation being that you disclosed classified information in

emails. I

> don’t know if it was any broader than that.

>

> I understand that the commission was alerted to the probe and

urged that it

> be shut down—that if there was any security breach, it was

inadvertent. I

> do not know if the commissioners were aware of this.

>

> Obviously there was no finding of wrongdoing, since you go to work

in a

> sensitive post at State several months later.

>

> Does any of this sound familiar?

 

            Not familiar at all.  The surprise is it sounds as if I was the  

            target of  

            these allegations.  I don’t recall being informed about any such  

            allegations   

            or serious concerns.  

              

            I had a good relationship with the Commission’s security officer and  

            was  

            always ready to accept any of his suggestions for improvement in our  

 

            information security procedures.  

              

            The more I think about this, the more I believe you may have  

            stumbled across  

            some spillover from the running arguments we had with the  

            administration in  

            2004 about our approach to handling and prepublication review of our  

            staff   

            statements and, later, the report itself. This was not really about  

            me  

            personally; it was about the general approach of the staff in the  

            preparation of staff statements and the report, and I was on point  

            in this   

            argument.  

              

            The argument seems arcane but in fact was extremely important.  So  

            it is  

            worth taking some time to explain it in detail.  I had various  

            occasions  

            over the years to study the various ways government information is  

            handled   

            and released (including service on the State Department’s Historical  

 

            Advisory Commission during Albright’s tenure as Secretary of State).  

 

              

            As a legal matter, the issue of whether a document is unclassified  

            yet   

            submittable to prepublication review or classified and subject to  

            declassification review turns, in my view, on its origination and  

            the  

            purposes and methods of the document’s creator.  In the case of our  

            staff   

            statements and report, we were creating documents written from the  

            start for  

            public release and written in a way we believed avoided disclosure  

            of  

            information that would harm the nation’s security.  Because we drew  

            upon   

            classified information in writing the document, we were properly  

            obligated  

            to ask agencies to verify our judgment of releasibility through a  

            prepublication review process.  

              

            The strategy I developed early in our work, and then adopted by our  

            front   

            office, was to treat our staff statements under the same rules  

            applied to  

            memoirs (like Bob Gates’ memoir or the Bush/Scowcroft memoir or my  

            own  

            manuscript with Condi on German unification, etc.)  That approach is  

            that   

            they were presumptively unclassified but, to comply with our  

            security  

            agreements, they were submitted to agency review prior to public  

            release.  

            Then in that process agencies could claim that certain lines or  

            words could   

            not be released and we would have a discussion about that.  

              

            The view of some in the agencies was that our staff statements  

            should be  

            treated as classified documents from the moment they were first  

            created in  

            draft.  Thus instead of a prepublication review process (our  

            approach), the  

            draft staff statements would be handled only via classified channels  

            and  

            would be handled as a declassification review process.  

              

            This seemingly semantic detail was an absolutely vital distinction  

            for our   

            work.  In the first process, we basically own the material, having  

            written  

            it in a way we presume to be unclassified—that is we believed in  

            good  

            faith that the present disclosure of this information would not harm  

            the   

            nation’s security.  The burden is effectively on the agency to  

            assert the  

            claim to prevent publication.  So, for instance, draft memoirs are  

            often  

            handled in normal communication channels (e.g., shared with  

            publishers,   

            etc.).  

              

            In the second process, the agency owns the information from the  

            start.  The  

            statement would then be theirs to control, not ours.  All the  

            burdens and  

            presumptions shift.  We could only then release what they clear for  

            release.   

            The Joint Inquiry had an experience like this, with results you can  

            see.  

            But to adopt a different approach one must shoulder the burden of  

            deliberately writing, from the start, for public release, writing in  

            a way   

            that could credibly be argued as presumptively unclassified.  If you  

            write a  

            classified document then of course it will need to go through  

            declassification review if you seek to release all or part of it.  

              

            Early on I explained and insisted that we had to adopt the first  

            process or  

            else our staff statement process would rapidly founder.  Since the  

            staff  

            statement process was the wedge I had proposed to use for breaking  

            down the   

            classification barriers for the whole report, the issue was of the  

            utmost  

            significance.  

              

            The conflict became engaged before the first hearing with staff  

            statements,  

            with especially strong arguments over Staff Statement #2.  Those  

            escalated   

            to the point that I worked the concerns on that statement out  

            directly with  

            Mike Hayden (then directing NSA).  At our level we had no problems,  

            because  

            he and I had a good common understanding of what really was and was  

            not a   

            valid concern and we were able to find workable formulations.  

              

            The intelligence community, especially CIA, then argued that all of  

            our work  

            should be communicated only through secure communication channels.   

            By doing   

            this they were trying to win the concession that the staff  

            statements were  

            presumptively classified and thus could only be released through a  

            process  

            of declassification review, which they and the White House would  

            control.   

            Thus they would win the process argument mentioned above.  A series  

            of  

            arguments ensued that were finally resolved by an agreement to  

            disagree.  We  

            would undertake to use secure classification channels out of respect  

            for   

            their concerns while insisting firmly that we were not obligated to  

            do so.  

            Both the staff statements and the report itself, in our view, would  

            be  

            handled in a prepublication review process.  

              

            Though this procedural issue was temporarily managed, the arguments  

            over   

            what could be released continued.  The administration used this  

            approach as  

            a tactic to win its exaggerated claims on executive privilege as  

            well.  On  

            the Team 3 staff statement, for example, the confrontation escalated  

            to the   

            point that I threatened to deliver the statement with large blocs of  

            missing  

            text to indicate what material had been excised unjustifiably in our  

            view so  

            the public could see.  I prepared a sample of how the statement  

            would look   

            if we proceeded in this way and gave it to administration  

            representatives,  

            so they could see we meant it.  The administration finally backed  

            down,  

            literally on the eve of the hearing.  

              

            Then the battle shifted to the treatment of the report.  Again the   

            administration view was that any draft material for the report was a  

 

            classified document.  This was a critical issue.  Imagine what would  

            happen  

            if all drafts of the report were treated as classified documents.   

            That   

            would mean commissioners could only access or review the drafts if  

            they were  

            physically present in our SCIF to do it.  This would have made it  

            effectively impossible for the out of town commissioners, like Kean  

            himself,   

            to play a meaningful role.  It would have even severely handicapped  

            commissioners who were in town, like Gorelick, who wanted to review  

            each of  

            the many drafts with care.  I explained repeatedly to commissioners  

            what we   

            were doing and why.  They heartily approved.  Some of the  

            commissioners will  

            certainly remember the issue.  Hence we continued to insist on this  

            point  

            and did so, successfully, to the end—while taking measures to make  

            sure   

            the drafts were handled in a careful, sensitive way.  

              

            What you may have discovered is an effort by CIA to play hardball by  

            trying  

            to criminalize this dispute and target me in the process.  If that  

            is what  

            this is, I was unaware of it at the time, though I was all too aware  

            of the  

            intensity of the dispute.  

              

            The business of a SCIF in Charlottesville is related to this.  At  

            the point  

            we agreed to use classified communication channels for draft staff   

            statements, this created some additional personal hardship for me.   

            I dealt  

            with that by arranging to work on such material on weekends from a  

            SCIF in  

            Charlottesville (which happens to be the headquarters for the Army’s  

              

            intelligence center).  I had used this center (whose whole building  

            is  

            essentially a SCIF) before in PFIAB and other duties and was just  

            borrowing  

            these facilities on weekends when the usual staff was not around and  

            I   

            wasn’t in anyone’s way.  

              

            Looking back, I believe our view of the correct approach was  

            vindicated.  No  

            one has credibly alleged that there were any leaks of genuinely  

            classifiable  

            information from the Commission as a result of these practices.   

              

            And, as you mention, in 2005 my security clearances were renewed at  

            the  

            highest levels of clearance.  And with no indication of any concern  

            or issue  

            that needed to be cleared up.  

              

>

> *****

>

> There was apparently also some security concern much earlier in

the

> commission’s work that involved the commission’s security office

and you. It

> had something to do with the use or transmission of classified

information

> when you were on the road. Apparently as a result of this concern,

a SCIF

> was made available to in Charlottesville.

            See above.  

>

> *****

>

> Any help you can give on these issues would be appreciated.

>

> Was there any concern on your part that you might have mishandled

classified

> information inadvertently?

 

            I worked hard to protect any classified information entrusted to my  

            care.  

            You are already aware of our readiness to address, fast and hard,  

            genuine   

            concerns about leakage of classified material.  Kean stressed to  

            everyone in  

            some of the earliest meetings that the Commission’s enemies would be  

            eager  

            to use allegations of this kind against us.  

            >  

> Thanks.

>

>

>

@@@@@@

 

 

 

@@@@@@

Oct. 4, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: <pdz

Date: Oct 4, 2007 9:39 PM

To: Philip Shenon

 

No idea at all.  You know much more about this than I ever did.  

              

            But I am sure that I never sent a genuinely classified govt document  

            (not one of our own presumptively unclas drafts) to anyone over an  

            open email system.  It would be physically impossible to do so,  

            given the storage of clas material on separate hard drives, etc.   

              

            No one ever thought this was serious enough even to ask me about it.  

 

@@@@@@ 

 

On 10/3/07, pdz wrote:

 

no, I was not

informed about this later.And I was never asked about any such issue

in connection with the later renewal (and emlargement) of my

clearances.

On 10/2/07, Philip Zelikow

mailto:

 

 

 

 

@@@@@@

>

>

> Oct. 3, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Oct 3, 2007 2:37 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

 

Dr. Zelikow,

Thanks again.

After your last set of answers, I went back to my original sources.

It does sound like at least several commission starffers were aware

of this DOJ/FBI investigation (and some indeed felt that it might be

some sort of CIA “hardball” to intimidate you at the end of the

commission’s work).

But I was struck by the phrasing of this passage in your last set of

answers:

With the understanding that you weren’t aware of any DOJ/FBI

investigation “at the time,” does that suggest that you learned of

it later? (I would have thought that you might be asked about it

when you got your State Department clearances….)

I am told more authoritatively that it was the CIA that made the

referral.

Thanks.

 

@@@@@@

 

Oct. 3, 2003, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: <pdz

Date: Oct 3, 2007 10:38 PM

To: Philip Shenon

no, I was not informed about this later.  And I was never asked

about any such issue in connection with the later renewal (and

emlargement) of my clearances.

Though my guess is still that all this is related to the underlying

battle over handling of commission staff statements or drafts of our

report, your inquiry was my first clue that the other side may have

escalated that fight to go after me (and the commission) in this

way.

pz

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

 

>

@@@@@@

Oct. 4, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

 

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Oct 4, 2007 5:44 PM

To: pdz

Dr. Zelikow,

Thanks.

Here’s what more I know (from conversations today):

1) The referral did not begin at the CIA. It began at the

commission. Apparently at least two commission staffers—and I do not

know they are—sent a written statement to CIA saying they were

concerned about your handling of classified material and asked that

it be investigated. This apparently referred specifically to an open

email that you had sent to a location abroad—perhaps to Doug

MacEachin in France. (I’m wondering if the complaint came from the

commission’s security officer.)

2) The CIA, which had been struggling with you for months over

issues of classified material, forwarded the report to the criminal

division at DOJ.

3) The investigation, such as it was, was handled by the

counterespionage section at the criminal division. I have no sense

that it was pursued aggressively.  (I have no information that it

finished up with the FBI, for instance.)

I know you know nothing about this (and that there is an Alice in

Wonderland sense to all this).

But given that the referral began at the commission, not at the CIA,

would that change your view that the CIA was playing hardball? I’m

wondering if they had much choice but to refer it to DOJ, given that

the complaint was coming from within the commission itself? Do you

have any sense who on the commission might have made the complaint?

 

All very strange.

Thanks.

 

 

@@@@@@

 

 

———-

Oct. 4, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

 

From: <pdz

Date: Oct 4, 2007 9:39 PM

To: Philip Shenon

No idea at all.  You know much more about this than I ever did.

But I am sure that I never sent a genuinely classified govt document

(not one of our own presumptively unclas drafts) to anyone over an

open email system.  It would be physically impossible to do so,

given the storage of clas material on separate hard drives, etc.

No one ever thought this was serious enough even to ask me about it.

 

 

 

@@@@@@.

 

Oct. 16, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

 

Forwarded conversation

Subject: Oct. 16 questions

————————

From: Philip Shenon <

Date: Oct 16, 2007 8:44 AM

To: Philip Zelikow

 

Dr., Zelikow,

I’m coming to the end of this, and I appreciate your patience.

I have nothing further on this DOJ inquiry, which obviously petered

out. It’s a useful vehicle for me to explain how your ingenious

efforts to force information into the staff statements and final

report angered the CIA and the White House (apparently to the point

of referring you to DOJ!).

There’s a strong irony. There were obviously people on the

commission’s staff (and on the commission itself) who were always

suspicious of your ties to the Bush administration, especially to

Condi Rice, and thought you were suppressing information that might

embarrass the administration, especially on the Rice-Clarke debate.

As we’ve discussed, your contacts with Rove and Rice, no matter how

innocent, created a real furor within a portion of the staff. I

believe the problem with “optics,” as you described it, was a

serious one.

At the same time, you are the champion of forcing (potentially)

embarrassing classified information into the report, to the point

where people at the CIA and White House were furious with you.

I did talk with a senior administration official (who will be on the

record in the book) who described how angry the White House was with

you because of your repeated—and admirable—demands for access to

documents and people on behalf of the commission. I was told you had

yelling matches with Bellinger and others. This official, who is

ultimately an admirer of yours, offered this information to me

because he wanted to knock down any sense that you were a White

House “plant.”

Anyway,

1) The Kean/Hamilton book described your 2003 efforts (with Ernie

May) to prepare an outline of the report. I was given two copies of

the outline and they are identical, except for the handwriting on

the scanned version. (I attach it.)  Is the handwriting yours?

2) The belated release of the outline to the staff created some

anger among them. Why was it withheld?

3) The outline suggests that the events of 9/11 would not be

described until the middle of the report. In hindsight, do you think

the restructuring to move up 9/11 was a good one?

4) There’s a reference in the outline to subchapters, in what would

have been Chapter X, entitled “The blinding effects of hindsight”

and “Finding fair verdicts.” What did those refer to?

5)  May we revisit, one more time, this business with Ben Veniste

and the Aug. 6 PDB and your call on the K Street secure phone to the

CIA analyst? Ben Veniste and some of the staff saw that call as a

violation of the commission’s internal rules on conducting

interviews. Weren’t all interviews supposed to be conducted by at

least two commission staffers? Can you see where this created

another optics problem?

6) Another old subject: Iraq. There were four events—Abe Sofaer’s

testimony, Mylorie’s testimony, the dispute over the “Diplomacy”

staff statement, the discovery in 2004 that you were the author of

the so-called preemptive war strategy paper—that led staffers to

suspect you were trying to use the commission to promote an

Iraq-Qaeda tie. Obviously at the end of the investigation, the

commission (and you) find no collaborative tie. But again, can you

see where this is an optics problem?

7) Another brass tacks issue. I’ve hinted at this before, but I

should be more clear. Blunt, even. People routinely refer to you as

brilliant. But you are also routinely referred to, even by friends

and admirers, as arrogant, obnoxious, downright mean. I’ve heard one

than one comparison between you and Larry Summers – brilliant but

oblivious to the feelings of others. Kean told me he hired you even

though he knew your personality meant that you would “break china”

that he would have to pick up. In his new book, Glenn Kessler refers

to your “limited interpersonal skills.” Do you have a sense of this

about yourself? It’s important, because I do wonder how often people

associated with the commission were willing to accept the worst

(that you were a White House “mole,” most importantly) because they

simply didn’t like you or were frightened of you.

Three crazily big questions, but here goes:

8) What would you have done differently on the commission?

9) Is there anything important that the commission got “wrong” in

its final report?

10) It’s January 2003, and Kean and Hamilton are offering you the

job again. Knowing what you know now, do you accept?

Thank you.

 

@@@@@

 

 

Oct. 16, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Oct 16, 2007 4:14 PM

To: Philip Shenon

There are no handwritten annotations on the document you sent to me.

 

pz

 

@@@@@@

 

Oct. 16, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Oct 16, 2007 5:40 PM

To: Philip Zelikow

 

on the first page, no.

but did you get all six pages? there is handwriting on pages 2-6.

if not, i’ll resend. (and i apologize if that’s the case…)

phil shenon

 

@@@@@@

Oct. 16, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Oct 16, 2007 7:05 PM

To: Philip Shenon

 

Answers below … in red.

Surely you’re not surprised that some members of the staff of this

(or any) substantial organization in a pressure cooker might voice

concerns like these.  But as you weigh how to lay all of this out,

you might also reflect on two things …

1. My guess is that these complaints run mainly or only one way.

It’s worth reflecting on this, in evaluating your sources.

For instance, the leader of our policy team, Mike Hurley, had

actually worked on the NSC staff for Berger and Clarke.  During the

Commission’s work he had a number of direct contacts with Berger,

Clarke, and other former colleagues.  Dan Marcus had been the #3

official in Reno’s Justice Department and in the Commission’s work

he was significantly involved in work on Justice topics for the

Clinton as well as Bush administrations, with many contacts with

former colleagues, friends, etc.  So did you also hear complaints

about them or others that were analogous to the concerns voiced

about me?

Now one easy answer is that the comparison is invalid because my

role is more visible and powerful.  But—depending on the portion of

the report—my role was not necessarily more formative.  The

fundamental investigative and drafting choices are actually less

visible than what I would do in editing the work, which was evident

to all concerned.  And any drafting I did was also exposed to peer

review.

My guess is that you hear complaints based less on an objective

standard (can’t work on areas of former work or contact former

bosses or colleagues) and are instead complaints oriented around

preferred results … a part of the report doesn’t say what someone

wanted it to say.  Or a source is suspicious about contacts with

officials the source dislikes or distrusts, but the source doesn’t

complain about contacts whom the source likes better.  Even in my

case, I talked a lot more with, say, Bruce Lindsay than with Karl

Rove, and talked to Lindsay about Commission issues.  And I knew

Lindsay personally better than I knew Rove.  But, based on your

questions, no one cares about that.  Nor should they.  The contacts

were appropriate.

So you have to figure out how to filter this.  One way is to look

hard at reporting of objective facts, not preferred interpretations.

So if you find evidence that bad factual information was actually

whitewashed out on one side, but left in on the other … ok then.

I don’t think the documentary record will sustain such a charge, but

that would be fair.

Just yesterday, for other reasons, I was reading about how FDR had

to intervene in 1938 in a huge dispute among the leaders of the TVA

(Arthur Morgan vs David Lilienthal).  And FDR actually held his own

hearing for six hours and here’s the way he explained his approach,

at the time:  “I will say to Morgan, ‘Now I don’t want any opinions

and I don’t want any speeches.  I want the cold facts.’  And when he

starts going off into his usual harangue and personalities, I will

just stop him and say, ‘I don’t want that—I want the facts.’”  And

that is what FDR did.  And then he simply made the record of the

proceedings public, and it was obvious to those who read it that

Morgan’s charges were pretty thin, and Morgan had to resign.

Chris and I thought a lot about this problem early on.  Because we

needed a way to think about what I should do, or Kojm, or Marcus, or

Hurley, or MacEachin, or a dozen others.  If we set a rule barring

contacts with former colleagues, etc., across the board, or barring

senior staff or team leaders from working on Bush or on Clinton, the

situation would quickly become untenable up and down the staff.  We

would be back in the model of hiring partisan, warring staffs rather

than the unitary model we considered essential.

So then how do we manage the downside dangers of this approach?  We

talked about this a lot.  Our solution was:  (a) get

people—especially in leadership positions—who we believed could

manage their preconceptions and shoot straight.  In other words,

don’t hire people who seem or are known to be highly partisan or

political.  When we hired someone like Dana Hyde, who was very well

connected in Democratic political circles, I made a judgment, for

example, that she could nonetheless be relied on to play it

straight.  These are difficult, subjective judgments.  Chris and I

would talk about these things. Dana not only met our expectations;

she exceeded them.  I personally came to rely heavily on her work

and her judgment on some very difficult and politically sensitive

investigative issues.

And then also, (b) we had to design a kind of peer review process in

drafting, time-consuming and contentious as that would be, that

forced everyone—very much including the executive director—to expose

their drafts to that rough and tumble before it went to

commissioners.  You already know a lot about this.

2. My particular problem.

Here you now know enough to be able to put yourself in my place.

It’s also worth recalling how the negative feelings about the Bush

administration and its top officials so intensified from, say,

January 2003 through the course of that year and into 2004.  And

this was redoubled for the Commission by the surprisingly (to me)

obstinate White House stance on so many process issues … and then

the confrontation with Clarke, which (having read his earlier Joint

Inquiry testimony) I had not foreseen.  And there was probably some

fallout from this for me.

As the Commission staff was being stood up and the work was getting

fully underway, in mid-2003 and later, the accusations against me

intensified.  You have some sense of my role in the Commission’s

work at that stage, and in executing a certain conception for what

the Commission could accomplish.  And you see the way we had thought

through this problem for all of the senior staffers.  So the only

way through this that made sense was just to play it as straight as

I could, exposing my choices to constant peer review in the front

office or among concerned teams.  Playing it straight also means not

playing the game of ostentatiously joining in criticisms that I

thought were unfounded in order to score points with staffers who

had a different view.  That becomes a dishonest affectation of

another kind.

And many of these fights were over enlarging access to NSC records

in both the Bush and Clinton administrations.

Send me the one with the handwriting on it!

Two main reasons:  (1) it kept evolving; and (2) it would trigger

lots of new discussions about what staff material would be selected

for inclusion, who would do drafting within teams, etc.  So it was

good to keep the monographs and their structure in the foreground as

long as we could.  And that might also produce good secondary

benefits, if the monographs themselves were publishable—as a few of

them were.

Actually we did a later outline that moved it up.  The standard

story (which Ernie tells in his essay) is partly right.  The later

outline had in it a “Prologue” or “Introduction” that would start

with the morning of 9/11 and get the attacks into motion.  Set the

scene.  Then Roemer and others came in and said, in effect, why not

just move the whole chapter up front?  And that made sense.  I was

already having trouble figuring out how to delineate what went in

the Prologue vs what would go in the later chapter.

That’s not in the document you sent.  But there were much more

elaborate outlines, more fully broken out this way.  The two ideas

you mention were early flags for substantive material you can now

find in chapter 11.  I originally wanted to say more about how to

render post facto judgments on accountability, and address some of

the common fallacies, but this fell away during the staff

discussions.

This was not so uncommon; a number of staffers made follow up calls

to subjects in order to chase particular facts, etc.  We wouldn’t

ordinarily do this for a full-blown detailed interview … this was

a short conversation, a follow up, to track some very specific

points down.  The formal interview process could have gotten us into

another PDB-related fight with the White House and the CIA, helping

them run out the clock.  So those are the kind of issues to be

weighed in making a judgment call.

This telephone interview was a follow-up because the person

involved, who was not a senior official and had a limited role in

this story, had—as best I can recall—already been interviewed on

these matters on two prior occasions, by the JI and by the CIA IG.

For these and other reasons, I don’t think the staffers who were

actually responsible for investigating this particular subject had

the concerns you cite.  But if they did, Chris and I would have

taken another look at this.

No one on the staff had any evidence to believe I had staked out a

position on the merits of the Bush administration approach to going

to war with Iraq.  There had been a loud public debate in 2002 about

war vs sanctions/threat of war.  I hadn’t participated in that

debate.

And no one had any evidence to believe I had a preconceived position

on an Iraq-Qaeda tie to 9/11.  I had never said any such thing.  As

others in the front office knew, because we discussed it, inviting

Mylroie to testify had not even been my idea, though it was a fair

suggestion at that stage to put her out there and let her tell her

story.  If we had not let someone like her or Stephen Hayes say

their piece, we would be accused of refusing to let commissioners

hear any witness who had a different view.  So, if folks will cool

off and reflect on this for a few minutes, they might see that this

approach thereby actually strengthened the credibility of our

ultimate finding.

At some point it’s hard to keep second-guessing other people’s

preconceptions and suspicions.  We had a lot of real work to do.

You can talk to Kessler about what he had in mind.  But also talk to

one or two other reporters who covered the Department.  Or, better

yet, talk to some of my coworkers there.

I have often seen these descriptors used, in political history, in

military history, in management studies, about managers who are

‘change agents’ or who have to drive an institution or set of issues

very hard.  Zoellick is another person who always gets this rap.

And he’s now off to a terrific start at the World Bank.

If you think about everything we had to do, you may agree that—on

several different levels—to succeed this Commission needed high

intensity, high energy staff leadership.

But there are tradeoffs in such an approach.  There are problems

that go with a readiness to mix it up that, in my case, comes from

years as a trial lawyer and other experiences.  And it is a constant

challenge to combine drive, in highly stressful conditions, with the

desire to build consensus and keep almost everyone happy and

motivated.  I’m very conscious of my many weaknesses.  So I keep

trying to reflect on experiences and learn lessons from some of my

mistakes—including the work with the 9/11 Commission.  There are

many very particular things I would do differently.

But I do take a little pride that, with relatively few exceptions,

we (including my front office teammates and many others) were able

to instill a fantastic work ethic and sense of pride in the

Commission staff.  People accomplished things they would not have

thought they could accomplish.  And under pretty demanding

conditions.

If you look at my record, you might also notice that much of my work

has been collegial, not solo acts.  Three major bipartisan

commissions, and those involved can tell you if they are regarded as

successful.  Co-authored books.  So whatever results I’ve achieved

professionally have tended to be in settings where there is a lot of

shared power and compromise required to get results, reconciling a

variety of personalities and views in many directions.  I’ll let you

figure out how to reconcile that record with these reported

descriptions ….

And in foreign policy, I prefer coalition politics!

Too big.  And some of the lessons for me come in reflecting on

concerns you’re hearing and asking myself whether there were better

ways to address those concerns and still accomplish the staff’s

objectives.

We have at least one incorrect footnote (blaming the Washington

Times for a leak in a case where that’s what we were told but we

didn’t check it out enough).  Otherwise I can’t yet identify any

important sentences that I wish I could rewrite at this point, about

three years out.

There are plenty of things we could have added … but you’ve

covered some of that in earlier questions.

But, even as to ‘wrong’ statements, I think this situation will

change.  More and better evidence will come out … perhaps from al

Qaeda trials, disclosures in memoirs, etc.  We always expected the

Commission report to provide a solid foundation for understanding,

not the last word.  You can also see how Lawrence Wright, Steve

Coll, and others have used the Commission’s work to open up

narratives they have capably explored with much more detail and

color.

As an opportunity for public service, the question becomes:  If

someone else, among plausible alternative candidates, had taken the

job, would the net results in the various dimensions have been about

as good for the country?  Or better?

Thank you.

 

@@@@@@

Oct. 16, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Oct 16, 2007 7:05 PM

To: Philip Shenon

Only one page on what I got.

pz

 

@@@@@@

Oct. 17, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Oct 17, 2007 6:26 AM

To: Philip Zelikow

Thank you.

And apologies. I’ll try to find working scanner this morning and

resend.

Phil Shenon

 

@@@@@@

 

Oct. 17, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Oct 17, 2007 6:52 AM

To: pdz

Dr. Zelikow,

I’ve tried scanning it again. When I download it, I get six pages.

If you’re still getting only one, would you give me a fax number and

I will fax it to you?

Thanks,

Phil Shenon

 

@@@@@@

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Oct. 17, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Oct 17, 2007 9:53 PM

To: Philip Shenon

 

Got it.  A trip down memory lane.  It’s not my handwriting.

pz

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Oct. 18, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

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From: Philip Shenon

Date: Oct 18, 2007 7:34 AM

To: Philip Zelikow

Thanks again.

A few other loose ends.

1)      Were you surprised by the degree of praise for the final

report? Do you remember your reaction to the Updike quote (the

finest collaborative effort since the King James Bible)? Did you

remember your reaction to the National Book Award nomination? Did

you think some of it was over the top?

2)      I’ve had conversations with John Farmer, especially about

the decision to seek subpoenas on FAA and NORAD. John says there was

an argument in your office – you, Farmer, Dana Hyde – in which

Farmer and Hyde express their concern that you are trying to block

the NORAD subpoena. Farmer wants to make the argument for the

subpoena before the commissioners, and you say no. Is that right?

Did you think the NORAD subpoena was a bad idea? (Apparently you

were traveling abroad at the time of the FAA subpoena.)

3)      Did you arrange the meeting before the vote for Hamilton and

Gorton with Rumsfeld? (Marcus and others think you did, probably

through Cambone…..)

4)      At the end of all of this, I am left with the clear sense

that there was some sort of support network in San Diego to support

Hamzi and Midhar and that it involved Saudi government “agents” (the

bumbling Baymoui and the less bumbling Thumairy). Jacobson’s team,

except for Dieter, was obviously convinced of this. Yet the

commission makes no such judgment, and the Saudi embassy – on its

website, to this day – describes the report as an exoneration. Do

you worry that, because of Dieter’s caution, the commission got this

wrong? (I’ve asked a variation of this before, I know.)

5)      John Bellinger, a admirer of yours, said there were a number

of violent arguments between you and him over document access,

interviews, etc. Do you remember raising your voice? Do you remember

him raising his voice?

6)      A very old subject: Karl Rove. I was told by a former senior

White House official that you had pressed Rove early in the

administration for a commitment for the Miller Center for the Bush

43 oral history project. I think you’ve suggested previously that

was not the case. Did you press, aggressively, non-aggressively, for

such a commitment?

7)      There’s a perception among the staff that you and Gorelick

had a particularly valuable partnership on the PDBs – that you had

special respect for her intelligence and even temper? Does that

sound right? (It’s offered to me as a counterpart to your sometimes

stormy relationship with RBV and Roemer.)

8)      My research assistant was double-checking some material

about your background. What was this craziness with your comments in

Japan about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? There was some sort of sit-in

protest? Were you surprised by that?

9)      You are routinely described as indefatigable, able to work

nonstop for days on end. Do you require little sleep? Has that

always been true?

10)  Kean and Hamilton (and others) describe you as genuinely

alarmed by the level of criticism that was directed at you,

especially by the families. Is that true? Did you lose any of the

little sleep you apparently allow yourself? Was it difficult at

times to concentrate?

Thanks.

 

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Oct. 18, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Oct 18, 2007 9:34 AM

To: Philip Shenon

Answers below.

pz

The praise was gratifying.  I especially remember a critique by

Philip Kennecott in the Washinigton Post, who put the report in

context with some other analogous reports and provided some

thoughtful comments.

More gratifying than the praise, though, was the reaction from

people around the country.  It was obvious that not only were

millions of people buying or downloading the report, they were

actually reading it, and reading it through—a very different matter!

In dozens of public talks, you can pretty quickly tell whether

people were really reading the book.  And I believe it is this

widespread depth of interest, as well as the breadth, that helps

explain the strength of the White House and congressional response

to the report.

As you know, we had developed a theory about how to prepare the

report and put it out and then worked hard to execute the design.

So the reaction was akin to that of the scientist who designs a

pathbreaking experiment, expecting certain results, but feels pretty

gratified when the thing actually works …

The National Book Award actually began with a nomination (about

which we knew nothing) and then the selection from among the various

nominees as a finalist.  First word about any of it was when they

called to let me know we were a finalist.

You should check with Dan Marcus about this; he was a key figure in

all discussions about when/whether to file a subpoena.  In general I

preferred that either Dan or I present these issues to

commissioners.  Key point:  Dan was the person actually conducting

the negotiations with the agency lawyers.

On NORAD, I completely shared the Team’s concerns, and the records

will bear this out.  We had concerns about tactics and timing,

keeping in mind a number of issues that were also in play at the

same time—which that team couldn’t see.  And my views were developed

in conjunction with, and then represented, the views also held of

Chris Kojm and Dan Marcus, which in turn were informed by the

preferences of Kean and Hamilton.  Though other staff did not always

see this, I was often the ‘hawk’ in debates about these matters in

debates within the front office.  But sometimes my approach might

have been too combative.  We worked on it and then it was my job to

then represent the consensus view of the moment, whatever it was.

The team did excellent work.  Their concerns were well founded.

Tension was building to a breaking point.  The situation did require

immediate escalatory action of some kind.  The subpoenas turned out

to be salutary.

What you are seeing is a healthy dynamic.  In a prosecutor’s office,

for instance, you often have the AUSA’s heatedly arguing with the US

Attorney for approval for this or that move.  Then you have to make

judgment calls on the best tactical move for that particular day.

 

I don’t think I arranged this meeting.  I think I had already left

the country.  This may be a case where Rumsfeld’s office reached out

directly to Hamilton.

I don’t agree.  And I think this is not an accurate characterization

of the team’s views, which were more complex and divided than you

allow.  The evidence is very clearly laid out in the report for and

against this theory, in a description that everyone agreed was fair.

As for my own views, I took part in interviewing Bayoumi.  I don’t

believe he was a “Saudi government agent” working to help

terrorists.

Thumairy is a more difficult case, but one that is also embroiled in

complex internecine politics within the Saudi expat community and

within the relevant Saudi ministry, politics which folks who haven’t

spent much time in the region might not understand and which are, in

any case, very difficult for any outsider to understand.  Some of

the information about him was colored by people who were involved in

those factional arguments.  The evidence on Thumairy is sufficient

to feature him in the report and obviously take the allegation

seriously.  Yet the actual evidence for the underlying charge was

still thin—especially to support such explosive charges (accessory

to mass murder).  I have no brief to sustain or “exonerate” the

charges.  But, to sustain charges of that kind, stronger evidence is

needed.  What we had is laid out in the report.

It is a useful check to use the ‘golden rule’ in a case like this.

If Americans were the suspects, what standard would we apply?  Not

the Richard Jewell standard.

Yet there is persuasive evidence of a possible support network.  We

did not find evidence to make the case that it involved “Saudi

government agents,” a case that is politically popular to make.  The

Saudi govt did have other better-evidenced concerns it needed to

address.  But it is troubling to me that, in the zeal to make one

case—so alluring to reporters, folks just don’t bother to comment

much on the more substantial evidence about people like Mohdar

Abdullah, Anwar Aulaqi, and Eyad al Rebabbah (people who also do not

link up in an evident way with Thumairy, and certainly not with

Bayoumi).  You can see some of the very carefully chosen phrases we

use in discussing these suspicions, carefully chosen because we

understood the gravity of making such statements about any

individual.

Yes.

My earlier answer to you on this had everything that I can recall.

We were pulled into this by others, in the advocacy for a Bush

Library, who were trying to include a Miller Center linkup in their

presentations/advocacy to get the Library.  (Because the Center was

already deeply involved in the Bush 41 and Clinton projects, had

completed or was completing the Carter and Reagan projects, and thus

had established a reputation.)  I was declaring our neutrality.

Yes.

This was in 1991.  I had taken the position, in Hiroshima, that

citizens could find some consolation for their loss in the knowledge

that the horror of what happened there might have helped prevent

operations which, in any likely scenario (either invasion or

continued fire bombing & blockade to starvation), would have cost

many, many Japanese lives.  And, I added, the horrifying example of

what had happened in Hiroshima had played an important role in

discouraging any later use of nuclear weapons.  Thus the terrible

loss of lives might not have been in vain.

Though these positions are not terribly controversial among

historians, they are positions that at the time were controversial

in Japan.  This has moved somewhat since, as exemplified by the work

of leading Japanese scholars like Asada Sadao that came out later in

the 1990s.

No.  I have no special strength in this regard.  This was a very

demanding task and was very, very wearing.  If occasionally I was a

bit short with people, it might be because I’m just as human as they

are.

No.  It was really just one more issue to be reckoned with and

another source of stress.  My way to manage that is to stay focused

on the tasks and not get consumed by second-guessing yourself or

fretting.  Take in the problem, think hard about how to address it,

get advice from others, do the best you can, and move on to the next

one.

Thanks.

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Oct. 18, 2007, Shenon to Zelikow

———-

From: Philip Shenon

Date: Oct 18, 2007 7:54 PM

To: Philip Zelikow <

Thanks again.

After your answers yesterday, I went back to John Farmer and John

Azzarello to talk about the Norad business.

Azzarello, who had not given me an extended interview on these

issues before, did yesterday, and unfortunately it raises a series

of additional questions for you. And I’m sorry to impose upon you

again. But….

Azzarello says that the team was convinced that you a) did not want

a subpoena on Norad and b) did not want an investigation of the

apparently false statements made by Norad generals and FAA

officials.

He says that Farmer drafted a memo (in March 2004?) that outlined

the conflicting accounts provided by Norad officials about the

events of the morning of Sept. 11 and urged that something be done –

possibility a referral to DOJ. The memo was intended to be passed

onto the commissioners.

But Azzarello says that the front office “sat” on the memo and

refused to turn it over to the commissioners. Azzrello says he and

the team confronted you, and your response was that the question of

the truthfulessness (perjury/false statements) of Norad and FAA

officials went beyond the “mandate” of the commission.

He says that in the face of this protest, you eventually agreed to

provide a watered-down version of Farmer’s memo to the

commissioners, albeit buried in the larger briefing book ahead of

the final Norad hearing.

1) Does any of this sound familiar?

2) Did you oppose a referral to DOJ?

3) Did you play any role in the decision to refer to the IGs rather

than DOJ?

Thanks

 

 

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Oct. 19, 2007, Zelikow to Shenon

———-

From: Philip Zelikow

Date: Oct 19, 2007 8:37 AM

To: Philip Shenon

 

Thanks again.

I’ll answer all of these together.  John Azzarello was an excellent,

hard-working staffer.  But his recollections on this, at least as you

report them in your question, are mistaken.  My views on these issues,

especially the referral, were well documented at the time in Commission

records.

 

On the NORAD subpoena, I did wish to escalate the issue and get what we

needed.  Azzarello was not part of most discussions on this, so I’m

puzzled that he says he knew my views.  As I said in my earlier message,

the question of how and when to escalate was worked out among Dan, Chris,

and me, consulting with Tom and especially with Lee.  Dan and Steve Dunne

were in turn having most of the discussions of the problem directly with

the team.

Before I left the country the decision reached was not to go with the

subpoena, at that point.  Instead apparently Lee tried to work this

directly with Rumsfeld.  I was not a party to that discussion nor, as best

I can recall, was I involved in arranging it.  And apparently that

approach was unsatisfactory.  So, while I was in later stops on the same

trip, in Afghanistan or Pakistan, I got word that the Commission had moved

forward with subpoenas, which worked well.  Dan (or Steve Dunne) is

probably the best source on all this.

On the later question of a later criminal or IG referral of NORAD and FAA,

there was indeed a dispute on how to handle these issues between the team

and Dan & Steve.  So they did have a dispute with “the front office.”  I

later deduced that this dispute had been percolating for a while, building

up some tension and perhaps also some misunderstanding.

The issue was them bumped up to me, hitting me for the first time as I

returned to DC from a trip out of town.  I well remember being startled

when I came back and read a message on this, addressed or cc’d to me for

the first time, in which emotions were already riding pretty high and

people were mistakenly assuming that I’d been involved in this seemingly

long-running dispute all along.  So I quickly tried to collect everyone,

clear the air, and start working this.  If Azzarello said that I thought

this issue “was beyond the mandate of the Commission,” he is incorrect, at

least in attributing such a position to me.  The Commission could not

conduct its own criminal investigation of alleged misconduct (and perhaps

this is the source of the misunderstanding), but the Commission could

obviously make a referral to those who can.  So the issue became one of

referral.  There are various messages and memos I wrote at the time at

least to John Farmer, to Dan and Chris, to Tom and Lee, and later to

commissioners.

I had a great deal of respect for Farmer’s judgment.  He was quite

concerned.  So I got quite concerned.  With Farmer’s patient help, I took

a lot of time to walk through the evidence of possible wrongdoing.  I

later tried to master it by working it through in writing, again with

Farmer’s help.

Three basic options emerged:  criminal referral to DOJ, referral to the

IGs (with a possible criminal referral as a follow-on to that), or proceed

with our investigation without further action.

You should also explore this issue with Dan.  He was obviously a key

player.  Especially given his DOJ background, his views on this question

were also entitled to great weight.  Azzarello was a party to relatively

few of the conversations or email exchanges on this.  So on this issue,

and perhaps some others, he may have misunderstood or not been directly

aware of my actual role and views.  But I frequently discussed the problem

with John Farmer, relying on Farmer to coordinate the views among his

team, which included a spectrum of opinions on this issue …

I spent a good deal of time considering the options, and working their

comparative merits.  Once I had worked through the evidence and felt I

understood it, I concluded that the evidence was serious enough that we

needed to make a referral, either criminal or to the IGs.  I was then, and

remain to this day, deeply disturbed about the apparent conduct of certain

officials, especially some particular USAF officers assigned to NORAD.  I

joined the written recommendation for commissioners, as Executive

Director, and became an advocate for it.

Strongly tempted by the possible need for a criminal referral, I worked

with Dan and others to play out how that would work and the sequence that

would follow.  We ultimately decided to do the referral to the IGs, who

could in turn recommend criminal referral.  The arguments among these

options, pro and con, were detailed and were articulated in writing at the

time.

Having decided with Farmer to recommend a referral to the IGs, itself a

significant move, I worked with Farmer to sharpen and strengthen the draft

referral.  Sometimes tightly written statements are more powerful.  The

referral was very detailed.  (Again, if they wish, someday folks can

compare the respective drafts and see the contrast for themselves.)

Farmer and I, with Dan’s help, also worked on a memo that would present

the issue to all the commissioners for their consideration.  Azzarello

does not appear to recall this at all, if he knew about it. This became a

specific agenda item for Commission discussion and decision, handled after

some other business was done.  My recollection is that Farmer was present

when commissioners discussed this issue and played an important part in

that discussion.  Either he or Dan may remember this better than I do.

Farmer joined in the staff recommendation; the action document was a joint

memo to the Commission, specifically on this issue, from both of us.  We

told commissioners about how we had worked through the options, including

the possibility of a criminal referral to DOJ.  And in that session, as in

prior ones within the front office and in bringing the issue to Tom and

Lee, I argued for referral.

Commissioners considered and discussed this issue.  They unanimously

approved our recommendation and made the referral.

pz

 

 

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The Waters of Knowledge versus The Waters of Uncertainty Mass Denial in the Assassination of President Kennedy

  

by E. Martin Schotz 


 

INTRODUCTIONMy task this afternoon is to explore with you the reasons the American people do not know who killed President Kennedy and why. In order to do this we will have to deal with three interdependent conspiracies which developed in the course of the assassination and its aftermath. These are (1) the criminal conspiracy to murder the President by a cabal of militarists at the highest echelons of power in the United States; (2) the conspiracy which aided and abetted these murderers after the fact, by covering for the assassins, also a true criminal conspiracy involving an extremely wide circle of government officials across the entire political spectrum and at all levels of government; and (3) a conspiracy of ignorance, denial, confusion, and silence which has pervaded our entire public.

The major focus of my talk today is this third conspiracy on the part of the public, which includes our so-called “critical community”. I want to show you that our failure to know is not based on any lack of data or because the data is ambiguous. It is all extremely simple and obvious. Rather we don’t know because we are deeply emotionally resistant to what such knowledge tells us about ourselves and our society. Furthermore the powers-that-be do not reward people for such knowledge. Indeed if a person is willing to acknowledge the truth, is in a position to share such knowledge with the public, and wishes to do so, then the organized institutions of our society will turn sharply against such a person.

Now this is not a new problem in the history of society. In fact, I want to read to you a Sufi tale from the Ninth Century which can help to orient us to the problem. The tale is entitled “When the Waters Were Changed.” It goes as follows:

 

When the Waters Were ChangedOnce upon a time Khidr, the Teacher of Moses, called upon mankind with a warning. At a certain date, he said, all the water in the world which had not been specially hoarded, would disappear. It would then be renewed with dfferent water, which would drive men mad.Only one man listened to the meaning of this advice. He collected water, went to a secure place where he stored it, and waited for the water to change its character.

On the appointed date the streams stopped running, the wells went dry, and the man who had listened, seeing this happening, went to his rdtreat and drank his preserved water.

When he saw, from his security, the waterfalls again beginning to flow, this man descended among the other sons of men. He found that they were thinking and talking in an entirely different way from before; yet they had no memory of what had happened, nor of having been warned. When he tried to talk to them, he realized that they thought that he was mad, and they showed hostility or compassion, not understanding.

At first he drank none of the new water, but went back to his concealment, to draw on his supplies, every day. Finally, however, he took the decision to drink the new water because he could not bear the loneliness of living, behaving and thinking in a different way from everyone else. He drank the new water, and became like the rest. Then he forgot all about his own store of special water, and his fellows began to look upon him as a madman who had miraculously been restored to sanity.

The struggle for truth in the assassination of President Kennedy confronts us with the problem of the “waters of knowledge” versus “the waters of uncertainty.” Let me give you an example involving two important individuals who attempted to bring the truth before the American people. I am speaking of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison and filmmaker Oliver Stone.

Both Garrison and Stone knew that the President was the victim of a conspiracy by high level US military intelligence officials. Each in his own way tried to bring such knowledge to the attention of the American people. In the case of Oliver Stone, even before his film JFK had received its final cut there developed an unprecedented campaign of slander against Stone, that he was a madman, that he was a drunk. In the face of this attack Stone was advised to compromise and did so. He backed off from telling the American people that his film was the truth, and instead claimed that his film, JFK, was “my myth”. In other words Stone said “I have my myth and you are entitled to yours. I’m not saying I know what happened here. There is uncertainty.” The instant Stone did that, the campaign of slander ended. He was again acceptable. He was invited to address Congress and was permitted to ask the government to release more information so as to help us clear up the supposed mystery.

Jim Garrison’s story is different. In the face of his effort to reveal the true nature of the assassination there was a campaign to discredit him. It was claimed that he was a drug addict, that he had ties to the Mafia, that he was grandstanding and self seeking. But Garrison never backed down. And because of that, even today a noted biographer cannot get a major publisher to enter into a contract to do an honest biography of the man. He is still an outcast, a madman as far as the society is concerned. Stone agreed to drink the waters of uncertainty and society recognized him as having miraculously recovered his sanity. Garrison refused, insisting on continuing to drink the waters of knowledge, and for this he suffered accordingly.

Not too long ago I received a letter from a lawyer and leading human rights activist in Bangladesh. Her name is Sultana Kamal, and in commenting on my book, History Will Not Absolve Us, she wrote the following: “There are so many ways human beings invent to humiliate their basic sense of dignity — the sense of dignity which comes from the courage to acknowledge the truth. Instead we choose to live in falsehood to make ourselves instrumental in remaking conditions which bring us indignity, loss of self esteem and again bind us to the task of reconditioning the evil cycles of denial of truth and justice to ourselves.”

 

WHAT THE WATERS OF KNOWLEDGE TELL USOver and over again we hear people asking for more and more information from the government. I suggest to you that the problem is not that we have insufficient data. The problem is that we dare not analyze the data we have had all along. In fact we need very little data. Honestly, as far as I’m concerned you can throw almost the whole 26 volumes of the Warren Commission in the trash can. All you need to do is look at this.

 

Here [left] is the Warren Commission drawing of the path of the “magic” bullet. And here is a photograph of the hole in the President’s jacket.

Now what does this tell us? It tells us without a shadow of a doubt that the President’s throat wound was an entry wound, and that there was a conspiracy without any question. But it tells us much more. It tells us that the Warren Commission knew that the conspiracy was obvious and that the Commission was engaged in a criminal conspiracy after the fact to obstruct justice. The Chief Justice of the United States was a criminal accessory to the murder of the President. Senator Arlen Specter is a criminal accessory to murder. The Warren Report was not a mistake; it was and is an obvious act of criminal fraud.

Think of this for a moment. The Warren Report is an obvious criminal act of fraud and no history department in any college or university is willing to say so. What does such silence mean?

It means that we are dealing with something that has effected every history department of every college and university in our society, every major newspaper and magazine, and all means of mass communication. It has effected virtually every “loyal American.” This phenomenon is what George Orwell in his novel 1984 called “crimestop” or “protective stupidity”.

According to Orwell, “crimestop” is really a form of self mind control in which we find the effected individual “stopping short, as if by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought… not grasping analogies… failing to perceive logical errors… misunderstanding the simplest arguments… and being bored or repelled by any train of thought” if such is inimicable to the powers that be.

As a clinician, I look at “crimestop” as a mass psychological illness, an involuntay intellectual emotional and spiritual illness, part of the psychology of war which has pervaded our society.

So let us go on and ask who was Lee Harvey Oswald. I suggest to you that it is equally obvious that Oswald was a CIA agent from the data the Warren Commission provided to us. Look at the relevant chapter in Sylvia Meagher’s Accessories After the Fact, which was published in 1967. Indeed, what Meagher did was to confirm what Harold Feldman, with the help of Vincent Salandria, had already suggested in The Nation magazine even before the release of the Warren Report. If you look at History Will Not Absolve Us, you will find that Castro could see this immediately by knowing how to read our press. And Castro was not the only one who saw this.

The following is the text of an internal memorandum from the Assistant Attorney General of the United States to President Johnson’s press secretary Bill Moyers, written just three days after the assassination:

 

Memorandum for Mr. MoyersIt is important that all of the facts surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination be made public in a way which will satisfy people in the United States and abroad that all the facts have been told and that a statement to this effect be made now. 

  1. The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial. 
  2. Speculation about Oswald’s motivation ought to be cut off, and we should have some basis for rebutting thought that this was a Communist conspiracy or (as the Iron Curtain press is saying) a right-wing conspiracy to blame it on the Communists. Unfortunately the facts on Oswald seem about too pat — too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.). The Dallas police have put out statements on the Communist conspiracy theory, and it was they who were in charge when he was shot and thus silenced. 
  3. The matter has been handled thus far with neither dignity nor conviction. Facts have been mixed with rumor and speculation. We can scarcely let the world see us totally in the image of the Dallas police when our President is murdered.

I think this objective may be satisfied by making public as soon as possible a complete and thorough FBI report on Oswald and the assassination. This may run into the difficulty of pointing to inconsistencies between this report and statements by Dallas police officials. But the reputatlon of the Bureau is such that it may do the whole job.

The only other step would be the appointment of a Presidential Commission of unimpeachable personnel to review and examine the evidence and announce its conclusions. This has both advantages and disadvantages. I think it can await publication of the FBI report and public reaction to it here and abroad.

I think, however, that a statement that all the facts will be made public property in an orderly and responsible way should be made now. We need something to head off public speculation or Congressional hearings of the wrong sort.

 

Nicholas deB. Katzenbach
Deputy Attorney General

 

There are two aspects of this memorandum to which I want to draw your attention. First we see written proof that Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s aide was engaged in a criminal conspiracy to cover up the crime three days after the fact. But there is another aspect. Look what Katzenbach says about the frame-up of Oswald. “Unfortunately the facts on Oswald seem about too pat — too obvious…” What does this mean? It means Katzenbach can see that this guy has been set up.

So we have to ask ourselves, “Who can murder the President, frame a CIA agent, and command this kind of cover?” I am not going to reiterate what Vince Salandria has presented to you. As we knew at the time, Kennedy had begun a process of rapprochement with the USSR and had been making clear moves away from the Cold War. The very simple and obvious question is, Who had the means and motive to organize a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, frame in advance a CIA agent for the murder, use immediately all media channels to spill the frame-up of Oswald to the world, have the White House radioing Air Force One on the way back from Dallas that Oswald was it before the Dallas police had anything on him? Who can do all this and command a complete cover-up by all our society’s institutions? Only one institution had the means and motive to accomplish all this, an element of the United States government that is so necessary to the “defense” of the nation that to expose it would be unthinkable — the answer is obvious — high US military intelligence.

But I want to take us a step further, because today the truth is not just that our military intelligence assassinated our President. Today, thirty-five years later, such an assertion is a half-truth. The full truth today must include an acknowledgment that the source of the assassination conspiracy was knowable and known at the time, and continues to be. The full truth requires that we acknowledge that every leading institution of this society has cooperated in covering up the President’s murder.

 

WHY THE COVER-UP WAS NECESSARYAt the time of the assassination what would have happened if it had been acknowledged that the assassination had been a high level conspiracy of the US military intelligence apparatus? I suggest to you that if this truth had been acknowledged early on, our own CIA and military would have emerged as leading threats to freedom, democracy and peace here at home as well as throughout the world. Such an awareness on the part of a significant portion of our public would have led to the fragmentation of our society, and to a level of domestic turmoil which would have disrupted America’s international empire. Think of the potential function of such truth in the context of the political movements of the 60’s. In no way could the United States have prosecuted the Vietnam War under those circumstances. An enormous anti-militarist opposition would have thwarted much of what our military intelligence has perpetrated over the years in Latin America, and around the world.

What does all this tell us about ourselves? Well, one of the implications is that we have a very strange sort of democracy. It is a democracy in which the press is so free that the President can’t have sex with a White House intern without being hauled before the court of public opinion, but the military intelligence establishment can openly assassinate the President and escape without any serious effort by that press to call it to account. The President Iying in a civil deposition, and supposedly obstructing justice over something that is totally meaningless, gets infinite attention from our media. This, while clear obstruction of justice in the murder of a President passes in silence. To see such a thing is to realize when we call ourselves “free” and “democratic”, we are wrapping ourselves in the window dressing of a modern militarist empire — an empire of which we are but subjects. Granted, ladies and gentlemen, some of us in this country may be privileged subjects, maybe even the majority of us are privileged subjects, but when the day is done, that is what we are — subjects. We are not citizens of a free democratic society, but subjects of a modern version of the Roman Empire. I suggest to you that this is a truth about ourselves which most Americans would rather not hear, because we Americans love to bask in the illusion that we are a beacon to the world, that we are freer and more democratic than the poor of the world whom our tax dollars have so effectively help to murder and suppress.

This is the truth which the powers that be have no interest in the American people knowing and which the American people are more than happy to be protected from. Under such conditions it isn’t hard to motivate people to avoid the truth. It is only necessary to supply them with a workable lie. But just what lie would serve this purpose? What lie could bind the society together and allow people to preserve their illusory identity as “citizens of a free democratic state”? Here we come to the “waters of uncertainty”

 

THE WATERS OF UNCERTAINTYThe lie that was destined to cover the truth of the assassination was the lie that the assassination is a mystery, that we are not sure what happened, but being free citizens of a great democracy we can discuss and debate what has occurred. We can petition our government and join with it in seeking the solution to this mystery. This is the essence of the cover-up.

The lie is that there is a mystery to debate, and so we have pseudo debates, debates about meaningless disputes, based on assumptions which are obviously false. This is the form that Orwell’s crimestop has taken in the matter of the President’s murder. I am talking about the pseudo debate over whether the Warren Report is true when it is obviously and undebatably false, the pseudo debate over whether the Russians, or the Cubans, or the Mafia, or Lyndon Johnson, or some spinoff from the CIA killed the President. These are all part of the process of crimestop which is designed to cover up the obvious nature of this assassination. And let us not forget the pseudo debate over whether JFK would or would not have escalated in Vietnam, as if a President who was obviously turning against the cold war and was secretly negotiating normalization of relations with Cuba, would have allowed the military to trap him into pursuing our War in Vietnam.

Since the publication of History Will Not Absolve Us, what I have found most striking is the profound resistance people have to the concept of pseudo debate, a resistance in people which is manifest as an inability or unwillingness to grasp the concept and to use it to analyze their own actions and the information that comes before them. Even amongst “critics” who are very favorably disposed to my book, I note a consistent avoidance of this concept. And I see this as part of the illness, a very dangerous manifestation of the illness, which I want to discuss further.

 

THE MALIGNANT NATURE OF PSEUDO DEBATEPerhaps many people think that engaging in pseudo debate is a benign activity, that it simply means that people are debating something that is irrelevant. This is not the case. I say this because every debate rests on a premise to which the debaters must agree, or there is no debate. In the case of pseudo debate the premise is a lie. So in the pseudo debate we have the parties to the debate agreeing to purvey a lie to the public. And it is all the more malignant because it is subtle. The unsuspecting person who is witness to the pseudo debate does not understand that he is being passed a lie. He is not even aware that he is being passed a premise; it is so subtle that the premise just passes into the person as if it were reality. This prernise — that there is uncertainly to be resolved — seems so benign. It is as easy as drinking a glass of treated water.

But the fact remains that there is no mystery except in the minds of those who are willing to drink this premise. The premise is a lie, and a society which agrees to drink such a lie ceases to perceive reality. This is what we mean by mass denial.

That the entire establishment has been willing to join in this process of cover-up by confusion creates an extreme form of problem for anyone who would seek to utter the truth. For these civilian institutions — the media, the universities and the government– once they begin engaging in denial of knowledge of the identity of the assassins, once they are drawn into the cover-up, a secondary motivation develops for them. Now they are not only protecting the state, they are now protecting themselves, because to expose the obviousness of the assassination and the false debate would be to reveal the corrupt role of all these institutions. And there is no question that these institutions are masters in self protection. Thus anyone who would attempt to confront the true cover-up must be prepared to confront virtually the entire society. And in doing this, one is inevitably going to be marginalized.

 

THE ROLE OF ROBERT F. KENNEDYIt is at this point that we can begin to look at the role of the “critical community” in this process, but before I do this I want to examine the role of Robert F. Kennedy.

When I have tried to point out to people that Robert F. Kennedy, in cooperating with the cover-up, became in every sense of the word an accessory after the fact in his own brother’s murder, there has generally been an instant recoil. But I want to tell you., that this is not an opinion; this is just a fact. There is no way we can deny this, if we think about it. I’m not talking about why he became an accessory, but the fact that he did is absolutely undeniable. Robert F. Kennedy had a legal sworn obligation to seek out the assassins, and in failing to do so he joined the criminal act of conspiracy with the criminal act of cover-up and sealed the deal. And don’t let anyone tell you that it was because he couldn’t put two words together after his brother was murdered. I have seen his correspondence with Ray Marcus. And if it were some kind of personal emotional reaction, how is it that none of the people surrounding Robert Kennedy could utter the obvious truth of the assassination? No, Robert Kennedy’s cooperation, agonizing and humiliating as it must have been for him, was dictated by political considerations, which led him away from his legal and moral obligation to tell the American people what he knew.

When I start talking to people about this, I hear Robert Kennedy’s actions defended with the idea that if he had spoken out he would have been marginalized. And this is important, because maybe that was part of Robert Kennedy’s motivation. But I think the person who responds to me in this way is telling me something about his or her own motivation. The person is telling me that in their opinion, the desire not to be marginalized can somehow justify Iying to the public about what you do and don’t know about the assassination of the President. I want to say in no uncertain terms this Iying is not only profoundly lacking in morality but is in addition profoundly foolish and is totally indefensible. It was indefensible for Robert Kennedy and it is indefensible for any one of us.

There is no justification whatsoever for Iying to anyone about what you do and don’t know about this murder. Quite to the contrary, if telling the truth marginalizes you, then that is the place to be. After all, if enough people are willing to be marginalized, then before you know it, society has developed a different center. This is the politics of truth. But Robert Kennedy wasn’t really used to the politics of truth. Instead, he was captivated by the illusory politics of power, influence and access. And I am afraid that many of us are also caught up with such ideas.

So now we have come to a problem. Our society confronts the individual with a choice: “If you want to avoid marginalization, you compromise the truth.” And the problem is that the moment you compromise with the truth, the moment you contribute false uncertainty, at that moment you have joined the cover-up. This is the critical point. Another way of saying this is, that society is prepared to confer a reward to anyone who is willing to drink the waters uncertainty. The reward is legitimacy; the reward is credibility; the reward is access; the reward is rescue from being marginalized.

I understand that the pressure to compromise the truth is enormous, because our society finds the truth and it implications so repugnant. Any normal person wants to be able to communicate. A normal person doesn’t want to be isolated, doesn’t want to turn people off. But in being concerned that the truth as we know it will turn off our neighbor, in compromising and pretending we do not know, for the sake of having “credibility”, we are destined to become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. We are destined to become agents of the public confusion and denial.

So there can be no doubt about what I am saying, I need to examine specifics examples of how the so-called “critical community” has been operating.

 

THE ASSASSINATION RECORDS REVIEW BOARDGiven what I have set before you, the whole effort by the “critical community” to petition the United States Government to establish a Board which would assist it in resolving the “mystery” of the assassination, such an effort represents precisely the process described by Sultana Kamal in which people “choose to live in falsehood, to make ourselves instrumental in remakcing conditions which bring us indgnity, loss of self esteem and again bind us to the task of reconditioning the evil cycles of denial of truth and justice to ourselves.”

The President was assassinated, the government covered for the assassins, the media covered for them, all the established institutions of society fell in line with this, and the public was not prepared to take matters into its own hands. This is the sorry truth of American democracy, and there is nothing to be done about it, other than to witness the full horror and shame of it all, to feel the helplessness that is our reality before this state which is in the grip of militarism and the economic interests which this militarism serves.

Our problem is not that our government lacks credibility in the eyes of many of its subjects. That’s our government’s problem. Anyone who takes the government’s problem as his own problem in so doing becomes an agent of the government, if not a government agent. And it should be clear that the government is more than happy to have you do this.

No, our problem, the problem for people who want the truth to be known, is that despite the lack of government credibility, the public does not have the ability to think its way through the lies and discern the truth. The great shame of the “critical community” is that rather than seizing on this as its mission, the critical community has chosen to ally itself with the government and has only fostered further public confusion.

So we have a Board set up on the false premise that the problem is that the government wasn’t open enough with the public when it came to the assassination. Not one member of the Board is capable of coming before you and stating the most simple and axiomatic truths of this case. There was a conspiracy without a doubt. The Warren Report was an obvious act of criminal fraud. Senator Arlen Specter should be indicted for criminal obstruction of justice. Can any member of that Board come before you and say that? Of course not. Because respected members of the legal and academic establishment who can get the appropriate security clearances to serve on that Board are incapable of speaking simple truths like this. And if you try to get them to admit this kind of thing they look at you as if you are some kind of weirdo, or nut. And I remind you, they do not feel that way about Oliver Stone today, because he isn’t saying these are facts. These are only theories, “myths,” and he is not claiming that he knows what happened. So he is not a problem.

In fact they can use the film JFK now, and claim they are responding to the film through this Review Board. And COPA and JFK Lancer and all the “respected” members of this critical community go and praise this Board and testify before it, and they and the Board embrace each other. What is there to say? This is our independent research community. With this as our independent research community there is no mystery about why the public doesn’t know who killed President Kennedy and why.

I was going to read to you how the press is using the statements of various respected researchers who are here. I was going to read to you the COPA mission statement and dissect it — but what is the point? For the sake of completeness and for illustration, when and if this speech is ever published, I’ll include this as an appendix. You know I like appendices?

But I would rather, at this point, leave it up to any person individually, if they wish, to take what I’ve said here, think about it and try to apply it to anything that comes before him. If anyone is interested in doing this, I’ll be happy to communicate further on an individual basis, but really I’ve said enough about the “critical community”.

 

CONCLUSIONIn conclusion I want to share with you something a close friend, Professor Rudi Cardona, pointed out after reading an earlier draft of this speech. Although Rudi has lived in this country for many years, he was born and raised in Costa Rica and has a real international perspective. He mentioned that throughout our history, we Americans seem always to prefer domestic tranquility over justice and the principles which supposedly underlie our democracy. He remarked on how a recent TV series on slavery had shown that Washington and Jefferson knew slavery was wrong but could not bring themselves to oppose it openly because of the turmoil this would have caused. Of course, the turmoil they were concerned about was the turmoil that whites would feel. The slaves were not being spared any turmoil.

And I think the analogy is very apt, because to those who would attempt to defend the cover-up, by suggesting that the truth would have been too painful for our country to endure, I want to remind us that the people of Vietnam were not spared the turmoil of our military rule. The people of Latin America and South America have not been spared. By cooperating in holding this society together through lies, we have made it that much more possible for our military intelligence apparatus to impose enormous suffering on people throughout the world. And this turmoil and mayhem has by no means been ended.

On April 25th of this year [1998], Guatemalan Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi Conedera was assassinated one day after he stood before an audience in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Guatemala City and gave a speech in which he presented the findings of an in-depth probe into thousands and thousands of murdered and disappeared persons, casualties of a campaign of terror against the people of Guatemala waged by their own government, a right wing militarist government which over the years has enjoyed the consistent training and support of our US military intelligence establishment, the well protected home of the assassins of President Kennedy.

I want to read to you some of the thoughts Bishop Conedera expressed in his April 24th speech. Amongst other things he said,

 

“The root of humanity’s downfall and disgrace comes from the deliberate opposition to truth … this reality that has been intentionally deformed in our country throughout thirty-six years of war against the people.”To open ourselves to the truth and to bring ourselves face to face with our personal and collective reality is not an option that can be accepted or rejected. It is an undeniable requirement of all people and all societies that seek to humanize themselves and to be free….

“Truth is the primary word, the serious and mature action that makes it possible for us to break the cycle of death and violence and open ourselves to a future of hope and light for all…

“Discovering the truth is painful, but it is without a doubt a healthy and liberating action.”

 

Thank you very much.

When Suri Attacks

Another Nineteen: Investigating Legitimate 9/11 Suspects

By Kevin Ryan

The Wall Street Journal recently commented on the upcoming military trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM).  The article claimed that KSM and four other terrorists were somehow making a mockery of the U.S. justice system by trying to “use the open military trial to promote jihad and discredit American institutions, including the military system of justice.”[1]  Unsuspecting readers might think that an “open military trial” would actually be less reflective of American institutions than the (actually open) civil trial requested for KSM by many of the 9/11 victims’ families.  But the more important question is – are the right terrorists being brought to trial?

That question is not welcome in polite conversation.

For example, last August I was invited to appear on National Public Radio (NPR) to discuss the lasting phenomenon of 9/11 skepticism.  The show’s regular host was replaced by a woman who had clearly made up her mind about the subject.  Ironically, throughout the show she made snide comments about “conspiracy theorists” when referring to the millions of people who don’t believe the official conspiracy theory.  Her other guests, from the Hearst Corporation and Canada’s National Post, joined her in using some variation of this phrase every thirty seconds during the hour long show.  As the sole representative of 9/11 skeptics, I was allowed five minutes to speak until it was clear the conversation was not going as intended.[2]

People listening to this verbal turkey shoot must have wondered what happened to NPR.  Had the “P” suddenly been changed to Propaganda?  Possibly, but what is more important to notice is that, when organizations become effective, they are often co-opted by powerful interests that have hidden agendas.  As reported by Robert Parry, the co-opting of National Public Radio by right-wing corporatists is a great example.[3]  Another example of a phenomenon that has long been co-opted by powerful interests for effecting political change is terrorism.

At a minimum, 9/11 skeptics are willing to consider the possibility that the crimes of 9/11 were not just blowback but were what could be called managed blowback, or the co-opting of terrorism.  Support for this reasoning has been strengthened by the knowledge that al Qaeda was an ally of the U.S. in the recent war on Libya and is apparently working on the same side as the U.S. in Syria as well.[4,5]  None of that is surprising given that al Qaeda was born of the CIA-funded Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s.

Adding to the suspicion that U.S. authorities are behind terrorist acts are the reports that the FBI has planned such terrorism and has engaged in entrapment of the accused “terrorists” in the years since 9/11.[6]  It appears that the CIA has been caught in the same kind of trickery recently.[7]

When applied to the 9/11 attacks, the concept of managed blowback means that there must have been others involved in allowing or encouraging 9/11 to happen for purposes other than simple retribution or symbolic gesture.  Unfortunately, the 9/11 Commission never entertained any such notions.

Our aim has not been to assign individual blame.  Our aim has been to provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons learned.”[8]

Yet here we are preparing to assign individual blame to KSM and a few others.

The 183 water-boarding sessions inflicted on KSM undoubtedly caused mental stress on a level that could not possibly lead to gaining useful information.  Instead, his torture was almost certainly meant to eliminate any information he otherwise might have been able to communicate.  We’ll never know because the tape recordings of those torture sessions, upon which the 9/11 Commission Report was indirectly based, were destroyed.[9]

Perhaps that is better than the treatment we gave to the other leading 9/11 suspect.  Last year we murdered Osama bin Laden without a trial and dumped his body at sea before bothering to get any information out of him about the organization he led.  It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to wonder how many lives might have been saved by the capture and interrogation of that alleged terrorist ringleader.

Some might say that, because the 9/11 Commission pointed to OBL and KSM as being the masterminds behind the attacks, its findings provide adequate legal basis for executing OBL and torturing KSM.  After all, we all know who the enemy is, right?

We learned about an enemy… [whose] purpose is to rid the world of religious and political pluralism, the plebiscite, and equal right for women. ”[10]

Unfortunately, there is significant evidence that the official conspiracy for 9/11 is not based on fact.  For one thing, the accused men were not the religious zealots that the official myth made them out to be.  KSM himself was reported by the Los Angeles Times to have spent years engaging in behavior that was far from that of a devout Muslim.  “He met associates in karaoke bars and giant go-go clubs filled with mirrors, flashing lights and bikini-clad dancers. He held meetings at four-star hotels. He took scuba-diving lessons at a coastal resort.”  No one suspected him “of being dangerous to anything but his bank account.”[11]

What kind of information could this man have that required 183 water-boarding sessions to eliminate?  How could the 9/11 Commission have possibly mistaken him for a religious fanatic?  Maybe we’ll find out in the coming year as the “open military trial” proceeds.

In the meantime, however, it is clear that other suspects should be considered.  My own research has revealed a few “white guys in ties” who, if properly investigated, will lead to the people most responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  Unlike the officially accused, these guys do not just happen to live on the resource-rich lands that Western corporations and governments so desperately need to control in order to maintain their economies.  Many alternative suspects do have strong links to governments and corporations, however, and were in position to actually accomplish one or more aspects of the attacks.

Would such an alternative group of suspects form a conspiracy that better explains the evidence?  That and other questions will be considered in a forthcoming book called Another Nineteen.  Prior to publication, related research will be made available at the websiteAnother19.com, while the government simultaneously prepares to conduct the trial of KSM and his alleged colleagues.

The attacks of 9/11 were most definitely a conspiracy and discovering the correct explanation will require a theory.  Unfortunately, attempts by official story supporters to use ridicule to prevent consideration of alternative accounts have been successful.  Theatrical media accounts and FBI and CIA-arranged terrorist events have similarly propped up the myth of 21st century terrorism and our on-again-off-again enemy called al Qaeda.  But there is a lot more to the story.  Some of us are dedicated to revealing more of the truth and if snide labels make people feel more comfortable and ready to look at legitimate suspects, I’ll take the ridicule.

Endnotes:

[1] The Wall Street Journal, Review & Outlook, The KSM Trial Spectacle, May 7, 2012,http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304363104577390141194301150.html

[2] NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook (Jane Clayson substituting), Conspiracy Theories And The Sept. 11 Terrorist Attacks, August 25, 2011, http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/08/25/conspiracy-theories-and-the-sept-11-terrorist-attacks

[3] Robert Parry, Secrecy & privilege: rise of the Bush dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, Media Consortium, 2004

[4] Peter Dale Scott, Who are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons?, Global Research, March 25, 2011,http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23947

[5] Ben Swann, Reality Check: Is Al-Qaeda An Enemy Or Not?, August 6, 2012, http://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2012/08/06/reality-check-is-al-qaeda-an-enemy-or-not/

[6] Glenn Greenwald, The FBI again thwarts its own Terror plot, Salon, Sep 29, 2011, http://www.salon.com/2011/09/29/fbi_terror/

[7] Paul Harris and Ed Pilkington, ‘Underwear bomber’ was working for the CIA, The Guardian, 8 May 2012,http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/09/underwear-bomber-working-for-cia

[8] The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 9/11 Commission Reporthttp://www.9-11commission.gov/report/index.htm

[9] Glenn Greenwald, The CIA’s impunity on ‘torture tapes’, The Guardian, 7 October 2011,http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/07/cia-impunity-torture-tapes

[10] The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks

[11] Terry McDermott, Early Scheme to Turn Jets Into Weapons, The Los Angeles Times,http://articles.latimes.com/2002/jun/24/world/fg-nukhalid

What You Should Know about this “Unthinkable” Development…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog

In George Orwell’s novel 1984,  the country of Oceania has been in a war against Eurasia for years.

Oceania suddenly switches sides, naming Eastasia as its enemy and making its mortal enemy, Eurasia, its new ally.

The government uses propaganda to convince people that, “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia”.  The dumbed-down public doesn’t even notice that they’ve switches sides, and blindly rallies around Eurasia as its perennial friend and ally.

The same thing is happening in real life with Al Qaeda.

Western governments and mainstream media have admitted that Al Qaeda is fighting against the secular Syrian government, and that the West is supporting the Syrian opposition … which is helping Al Qaeda.

Similarly, the opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was mainly Al Qaeda … and they now appear to be in control of Libya(and are instrumental in fighting in Syria.)

The U.S. also funds terrorist groups within Iran.

Of course, Al Qaeda was blamed for 9/11, and the entire decades-long “War on Terror” was premised on rooting out Al Qaeda and related groups.

So the fact that we now consider Al Qaeda fighters to be allies in any way, shape or form is positively Orwellian.

Remember, as Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser admitted on CNN, we organized and supported Bin Laden and the other originators of “Al Qaeda” in the 1970s to fight the Soviets.  (he also told the Senate in 2007 that the war on terror is “a mythical historical narrative”. )

As professor of strategy at the Naval War College and former National Security Agency intelligence analyst and counterintelligence officer John R. Schindler documents, the U.S. supported Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda terrorists in Bosnia.

But obviously we lost control and they turned against us … and then it took us years to hunt down and kill Bin Laden. Right?

Maybe, but:

  • A retired Colonel and Fox News military analyst said:

    “We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it ….Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.”

  • A United States Congressman claims that the Bush administration intentionally let Bin Laden escape in order to justify the Iraq war

The shenanigans started even before 9/11:

  • Attacks on the Twin Towers with planes were foreseen for years, but the U.S. did nothing to stop them.
  • A high-level military intelligence officer says that his unit – tasked with tracking Bin Laden prior to 9/11 – was pulled off the task, and their warnings that the World Trade Center and Pentagon were being targeted were ignored
  • The CIA may have helped many of the 9/11 hijackers get their visas to the U.S.

Indeed:

We’ve always been at war with Eastasia …