Original Spanish in pdf format

Monday, 23 June 2003

Bush accused of obstructing the 9/11 investigation

Congressmen from both parties believe that the government is concealing information

Several Democrat and Republican congressmen have accused the Bush Administration of obstructing the 9/11 investigation and censoring what has been published so far. They suspect that the Government wishes to hide the errors it committed and halt embarrassing revelations concerning possible allies such as Saudi Arabia.

SUNDAY CUSTOM. Bush and his wife on their way to church for Sunday services
EUSEBIO VAL, Washington correspondent. - 9/11 was not only the greatest collective trauma suffered by the American soul. The attacks exposed deficiencies in the superpower's gigantic espionage and security bureaucracy, with the CIA and the FBI at the top of the list. Raking through this other wound is very uncomfortable and the Bush Government is putting up resistance. Several prominent congressmen, the majority Democrats but also some Republicans, have accused the Administration of obstructing the investigation underway and hindering the public at large from being informed on the details that are already known.

The White House was criticised in recent declarations by senators before a national commission investigating the attacks, a body chaired by the Republican Thomas Kean, ex-governor of New Jersey, who took up the post after the resignation of the veteran Henry Kissinger.

"The American people deserve to know as full and as objective a truth as it is possible to establish, yet, unfortunately, we haven't been given it", claimed senator Joseph Lieberman, from Connecticut, a pre-candidate for the presidency. His colleague from Florida, Bob Graham, also a contender for the Democrat nomination, added to the complaints with his customary emphasis. "Ignoring the facts, simply because they make some people uncomfortable and may damage short-term political goals, will prevent Americans from knowing the truth about 9/11", he charged. The senator urged the investigating committee to "vigorously look into the links between foreign governments and the 9/11 terrorists. The Republican John McCain, a Republican who is very independent in his views, warned of the threat of "bureaucratic filibustering".

In addition to the criticisms of the investigation, the Administration is accused of blocking the full publication of the 800-page report on the attacks drawn up by Congress. The governmental censorship is curious, as part of the information is already accessible of the CIA's web site.

Gaps in security
According to Newsweek, the more sensitive passages which the Administration refuses to declassify refer to Bush's daily briefings with CIA and FBI chiefs before 9/11 and signs of links between Al Qaeda and the Saudi authorities. One of the most delicate documents covers the meeting —"Presidential daily brief" in White House jargon— held on 6 August 2003, where Bush was informed of the discovery of plans to hijack planes in the US. The White House denies political censorship and claims reasons of national security.

Kean's commission has heard stunning claims from people outside politics. For example, Bogdan Dzakovic, who works for the Federal Aviation Administration and responsible for detecting security gaps in airports for years, stressed that "the system was designed to fail" and that the 9/11 hijackers, armed with cutters, showed how easy it was to fool security. The basis for their success was not sophistication, but simplicity, and that was the most vulnerable feature. Dzakovic admitted that a lot of improvements have been introduced since the attacks, but he does not feel safe flying because protection from terrorism is poor. "What I know is that if a terrorist wants to, he can slip the system", he observed.

Spanish original (in pdf)

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