Some staff members and commissioners of the Sept. 11 panel concluded that the Pentagon's initial story of how it reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public rather than a reflection of the fog of events on that day, according to sources involved in the debate.
Suspicion of wrongdoing ran so deep that the 10-member commission, in a secret meeting at the end of its tenure in summer 2004, debated referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, according to several commission sources. Staff members and some commissioners thought that e-mails and other evidence provided enough probable cause to believe that military and aviation officials violated the law by making false statements to Congress and to the commission, hoping to hide the bungled response to the hijackings, these sources said.
For more than two years after the attacks, officials with NORAD and the FAA provided inaccurate information about the response to the hijackings in testimony and media appearances. Authorities suggested that U.S. air defenses had reacted quickly, that jets had been scrambled in response to the last two hijackings and that fighters were prepared to shoot down United Airlines Flight 93 if it threatened Washington.
In fact, the commission reported a year later, audiotapes from NORAD's Northeast headquarters and other evidence showed clearly that the military never had any of the hijacked airliners in its sights and at one point chased a phantom aircraft -- American Airlines Flight 11 -- long after it had crashed into the World Trade Center.
John F. Lehman, a Republican commission member and former Navy secretary, said in a recent interview that he believed the panel may have been lied to but that he did not believe the evidence was sufficient to support a criminal referral.
"My view of that was that whether it was willful or just the fog of stupid bureaucracy, I don't know," Lehman said. "But in the order of magnitude of things, going after bureaucrats because they misled the commission didn't seem to make sense to me."
This is amazing news. Back then, only Randi Rhodes was touting the NORAD lies, and she was dismissed as a left wing lunatic!
It's always the same thing, don't you know. Of course you were lied to, but it's NOT CRIMINAL! Of course the president and his cabinet lied to Congress and the American people about the run up to the Iraq war, but it's NOT CRIMINAL! This is the mantra of the Republicans. Of course they bullshitted, and lied, and cheated, and stole, but hey, IT'S NOT CRIMINAL!
It is totally and absolutely disgusting that this is our goverment ... my government. Lies, lies and more lies. They lie about everything, whether it matters or not, and back during the actual 9/11 happenings, the public, the press and the administration all let the lies stand.
Are you happy now? Keep voting Republican.