Condi's "historical" statements on 9/11

Published February 11, 2005 4:06PM (EST)

As we noted yesterday, there are some unanswered questions regarding a previously undisclosed section of the 9/11 report out this week -- both the timing of its release and what it says about Condoleezza Rice's sworn public testimony before the 9/11 Commission last year.

A 9/11 widow offers a few thoughts in the Independent today:

"Kristin Bretweiser, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Centre, said yesterday the newly released details undermined testimony from Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser, who told the commission that information about al-Qa'ida's threats seen by the administration was 'historical in nature' She told The Independent: 'There were 52 threats that were mentioned. These were present threats -- they were not historical. There were steps that could have been taken. Marshals could have been put on planes that spring. Condoleezza Rice's testimony is undermined.' To the consternation of members of the commission who published the original report last year, the administration has been blocking the release of the latest information. An unclassified copy of this additional appendix was passed to the National Archives two weeks ago with large portions blacked out."

As first reported by the New York Times late Wednesday, the latest pages from the report show that of the FAA's 105 daily intelligence summaries between April 1, 2001 and Sept. 10 2001, 52 of them mentioned Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, or both. The report also concludes that officials did not expand the use of in-flight air marshals or tighten airport screening for weapons. It determined that FAA officials were more concerned with reducing airline congestion, lessening delays and easing airlines' financial problems than thwarting a terrorist attack.

Are we any safer in the hands of the FAA now? In August 2004, Salon's Kevin Berger reported in depth on the disastrous security failings inside the agency prior to 9/11 -- and why it may still be failing to protect us today.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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