My column today at the Daily Standard, “Accounting for the Final Report”, reviews the standing of the 9/11 Commission report, the supposedly definitive and final word on the worst foreign attack on American soil. Able Danger started a steady stream of revelations that the Omission Commission either missed or deliberately ignored — and a couple of patterns emerge from this new data. These patterns directly compromise the narrative and the recommendations of the Commission:
WHAT DID THE 9/11 COMMISSION CONCLUDE? Despite the highly coordinated nature of the attacks, the enormous scale of the plot, and the commando tactics used by the hijackers–a combination of elements that had not previously or since been seen in al Qaeda attacks–the report concluded that the only state which sponsored Osama bin Laden in 9/11 was Afghanistan and its Taliban government. The report explicitly concluded that no operational connection existed between the 9/11 attacks and governments in Syria, Iran, or Iraq. The panel laid the blame for the failure of the United States to prevent the attacks on our intelligence communities and their political leadership, and added during public hearings recent administrations (George W. Bush and Bill Clinton) had failed to “connect the dots.” Its recommendations comprised an expansion of the bureaucracy.
For a year, the final Commission report provided the alpha and omega of all debate on 9/11 . . . until Able Danger came to light earlier this month.
The Special Operations Command data-mining program, which according to three public witnesses identified Mohammed Atta as a potential terrorist 18 months before September 11, wasn’t included in the final report and was apparently ignored by the Commission’s staff on at least two occasions. When confronted by this new evidence, the Commission changed its story several times over one week, eventually settling on a rebuttal which hinged on discrediting the one witness who had come forward. By the time another week had gone by, two more witnesses had appeared–and further damaged the Commission’s credibility.
INSTEAD OF BEING THE DEFINITIVE WORD on September 11, the report has begun to resemble a literary equivalent of Swiss cheese as more and more data came out about what else the Commission missed in its report, either by chance or by design.
Three weeks after Able Danger, it behooves us to review all of the information that has come out which the Commission apparently never considered when deriving its conclusions. One has to wonder why, as most of this had previously been known to at least the agencies involved in the 9/11 investigations. Most of it came from previously-published reports, and all of it undermines the panel’s main conclusions.
Now that Congress has scheduled hearings to review this, perhaps the Exempt Media will take all of it more seriously and refrain from duplicating the mistakes made by the Commission and themsleves the first time around: reporting only that which fits their predetermined narrative.