By Andrew Kreig
Members of 9/11 Commission last week leveraged the 10th anniversary of their report to announce a dozen recommendations primarily fanning fears of foreign terrorism.
The former commissioners urged strong spending on counter-terrorism intelligence and far fewer congressional oversight committees. A photo via Creative Commons portrays the attack on New York's World Trade Center.
News coverage arising from the announcement and related congressional testimony avoided mysteries and ongoing disputes.
For example, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham and former 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland have each called for renewed formal investigations of 9/11. Their perspectives and that of former Bush/Clinton counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke were almost entirely missing from the forum and mainstream news coverage.
"The fix is in," Clarke recalled telling a White House colleague in January 2003.
Clarke is well known for apologizing to 9/11 families and other Americans for 9/11 to begin his 2004 testimony before the Commission.
He told author Philip Shenon for a 2008 book that he made his "fix" remark upon hearing news that the 9/11 Commission had hired as its executive director Philip Zelikow.
Zelikow, part of the Bush administration transition team, was a fierce opponent of Clarke, who had unsuccessfully warned about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks.
Remarkably, Zelikow also had been co-author of a book by Bush's National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who was extremely vulnerable during the inquiry because of the obvious intelligence shortcomings.
After the commission's work ended in 2004 Zelikow became counselor for Rice from 2005 to 2007 when she held the Secretary of State post.
Talk about whitewash and conflict of interest was not part of the forum organized July 22 by the Bipartisan Policy Center in downtown Washington, DC.
Instead, they focused primarily on fear and the need for more spending.
"Many Americans," the former commissioners said, "think that the terrorist threat is waning -- that, as a country, we can begin turning back to other concerns. They are wrong. The threat remains grave and the trend lines in many parts of the world are pointing in the wrong direction."