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The Family Steering Committee Statement
Regarding Their Request For An Extension to January 2005


January 29, 2004


The FSC requests a January 2005 deadline for the Independent Commission. It is what we always wanted and originally asked for. It is the only way to remove the Commission’s work and investigation from the political process. It is the only way to have a comprehensive, well-researched, and well-thought out Final Report. The FSC will strenuously support only a January 2005 deadline.

It is for the following reasons we do not support an extension of only 2 months:

1. The commission is canceling vital public hearings. Two sets of hearings in February are already canceled. The Commission needs an extension to January 2005 to maintain the public hearing schedule that was promised to us by the Commissioners. Anyone doubting the value and importance of public hearings need only to read the transcripts from the prior two hearings held earlier this week. Public hearings serve to restore confidence in a government that was made to look weak and inadequate by the events of 9/11.

2. The commission needs to release a fully classified Final Report—the production of which requires more time and preparation.

The Commission is currently preparing an unclassified final report due out on May 27th. While this controlled release of information may please certain intelligence agency officials, it promotes the murky secrecy that this Commission was designed to combat. In short, an unclassified Final Report will be watered down, benign, and secretive. In order for the American people to “know what they don’t know”--know what is being kept a secret--we must be able to see the visible blackened redactions that can only be made on a classified Final Report. Anyone questioning the power in such visible redactions need only recall the 28 blank pages regarding foreign government sponsorship of terrorism in the Joint Inquiry’s Final Report released last summer.

3. The Commission is not getting access to the PDB's that was agreed to between the Administration and the Commissioners. It is our understanding that the Commission as a whole has yet to see one PDB article. This issue and the necessary negotiation surrounding it will take more than 2 additional months to get worked out.

4. The Commission is turning away valuable, vital, relevant information regarding 9/11 because of time constraints. With all the whistleblowers now coming forward, they need more than two months to fully investigate these claims.

5. An extension of 2 months places this commission in the middle of politics. To do so, is an insult to the dead.