Family Steering Committee Statement
Regarding the 9/11 Commission and the Need
to Access Documents from Administration Agencies
October 28, 2003
The Family Steering Committee is deeply distressed to find that eleven months
into the governmentís independent investigation into the attacks of 9/11, the
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States is still in
the document-collecting phase due to stonewalling by the Administration.
Counter to the public statements made by both Administration officials and
Commission members that there is continued cooperation between Administration
agencies and the Commission, the record indicates otherwise.
A critical document the Commission needs is the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB).
Although such a document has never been released to an outside investigative agency
during a current administrationís tenure, an full analysis of the administrative
failures that led to the death of 3000 people on the morning of September 11th
calls for such an historical precedent.
The Administration itself opened the door to a review of these documents
when Condoleeza Rice, in the days after the attacks, stated that the
Administration and its agencies did not foresee the use of planes being
used as weapons. Such a statement by the nationís National Security
Advisor calls into question the quality of information that flows from
intelligence agencies to the Executive Branch. Analyzing this information,
as well as other intelligence prior to and on the morning of September 11th,
is crucial in determining how any Administration could better prevent or
prepare for terrorist attacks. And access to these critical documents
will be limited to the Commissioners and staff only -- all of whom have
the highest levels of security clearance.
The flow of information from the Intelligence Community to the Executive Branch
is a determining factor as to how pervasive the Intelligence failures were in
the period leading up to September 11, 2001 and to what degree the Intelligence
Community needs to be overhauled. The need to create new intelligence departments
along with who they should report to can only be properly vetted after examining
documents such as the PDB. All administrations rely on this vital flow of
information from the intelligence community.
While respecting the concept of Executive Privilege, Family Steering
Committee believes that in the interest of improving national security,
Executive Privilege must rightfully yield so that this Commission can
produce a comprehensive and definitive report.
Therefore, we call upon all members of Congress to demand that the
Administration and its agencies grant immediate, full and unfettered
access to all necessary documents requested by this Commission in
order to ensure our nationís safety.