Who Is Lorie Van Auken?

Thanks to www.cooperativeresearch.org, and a very special thanks to Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg, Patty Casazza, Kristen Breitweiser, and Monica Gabrielle. For everything. I’m so sorry you had to do any of it. For the most part, this was written by me, with the exception of the September 11th Advocate letters, and the July 9, 2003 entry.

September 11th, 2001: Kenneth Van Auken is murdered in the September 11th attacks
“I love you. I’m in the World Trade Center. And the building was hit by something. I don’t know if I’m going to get out. But I love you very much. I hope I’ll see you later. Bye.” Those are the last words Lorie hears from her loving husband Kenneth who was a bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald in 1 World Trade Center. [Larry King Live, 9/12/2001; New York Times, 12/14/2001] Over time, grieving starts to take place in “the cedar-wood arbor in the yard” completed by Kenneth a week before he died. Carpentry and gardening were his passion. [New York Times, 10/24/2001]

June 12, 2002: 9/11 Family Members hold rally for Investigation into the attacks of 9/11
Today, the “Jersey Girls” “marched through the halls of Congress” inspired by Bob Monetti, whose son died in the crash of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. ”He said: ‘You’re not getting any answers. It’s time for a rally,’ ” Ms. Van Auken, 47, of East Brunswick, said. ”We had no idea what we were doing, but we didn’t think we couldn’t do it.” Up until this time, “President Bush has resisted the creation of an outside body, saying Congress can handle the job and suggesting that an additional investigation might interfere with national security.” He said, “I don’t want to tie up our team when we’re trying to fight this war on terror.” However, that did not dissuade the families demanding answers. “At a gathering across from the Capitol under a broiling sun, speaker after speaker described their cause as nonpolitical and a matter of grave national concern.” [New York Times, 6/12/2002]

July 9, 2003: ’Jersey Girls’ Lambast Zelikow over Author’s Testimony Linking 9/11 to Iraqi Government
While some find neoconservative author Laurie Mylroie’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission of a terrorist conspiracy between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda to be compelling (see July 9, 2003), others do not. One group that is not convinced is the so-called “Jersey Girls,” the group of widows who lost their husbands in the 9/11 attacks and then worked to force the Bush administration to create the Commission (see March 31, 2003). They lambast Commission director Philip Zelikow for allowing Mylroie to testify. “Jersey Girl” Lorie Van Auken, who has learned a great deal about Mylroie’s theories in her research, confronts Zelikow shortly after the hearings. “That took a lot of nerve putting someone like that on the panel,” she tells Zelikow. “Laurie Mylroie? This is supposed to be an investigation of September 11. This is not supposed to be a sales pitch for the Iraq war.” Van Auken later recalls “a sly smile” crossing Zelikow’s face, as he refuses to answer. “He knew exactly what he was doing,” Van Auken will say. “He was selling the war.” After the hearing, Zelikow informs the staff that he wants them to aggressively pursue the idea of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Author Philip Shenon will later write, “To some members of the staff, Zelikow seemed determined to demonstrate that whatever the evidence to the contrary, Iraq and al-Qaeda had a close relationship that justified the toppling of Saddam Hussein.” [Shenon, 2008, pp. 130-134]

November 28, 2003: Members of the Family Steering Committee send letter citing Mayor Bloomberg’s “Stonewalling” of the 9/11 Commission
“As members of the family steering committee of the 9/11 commission, we find it inconceivable that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg would stand in the way of turning over tapes of the first responders’ experiences, which could yield invaluable information about preparedness, to the commission. No training sessions or military exercises could amount to lessons learned from actual experience. A theoretical plan could never anticipate every possible contingency, and even the most carefully designed exercise cannot possibly mimic reality. Instead of spending millions of tax dollars on theoretical exercises, why not use what was learned from the horrors of Sept. 11 by the first responders? Mayor Bloomberg is blocking our ability to gain access to that knowledge.” [Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg; New York Times, 11/28/2003]

May 19, 2004: Rudy Giuliani testifies before the 9/11 Commission, Families begin to lose faith in 9/11 Commission
Because the “commission opted not to confront Mr. Giuliani directly with its critical findings”, several of the family members spoke out about “how they had not heard the questions and answers they had come to hear.” As a result, they began to “lose faith in the commission, saying it seemed to be committed to a sanitized history of that day.” “We fought like crazy to get this commission established,” said Lorie Van Auken, whose husband, Kenneth, died in the north tower. ”We want the truth. If we’re not being told the truth, if we are only being told one side of the story, the commission is not doing its job properly.” [New York Times, 5/20/2004]

June 16, 2004: As the 9/11 Commission comes to a close, Family Members cite several outstanding questions not answered
”I want the definitive timeline of Sept. 11,” said Lorie Van Auken, of East Brunswick, N.J., whose husband died in the World Trade Center. Another widow, Beverly Eckert, echoed the sentiment, stating flatly, ”Information is still being concealed.” Several of the families “have been doing their own investigative work and have spent hours poring over news clippings and Internet sites.” Bill Doyle, who lost his son Joey, “wanted to know more about Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi student who befriended hijackers and helped pay their expenses.” Kristen Breitweiser, who lost her husband Ron, “insisted that Richard A. Clarke, President Bush’s former counterterrorism adviser, had conducted a ”post-mortem report” after the attacks, analyzing intelligence files for all mentions of Al Qaeda in the 18 months before Sept. 11, 2001. ”Where is that report?” she demanded. ”Where are the findings?” Lorie Van Auken, who lost her husband Kenneth, “was irate that there was no mention of an accusation that Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, the head of Pakistan’s intelligence services, ordered the transfer of $100,000 to Mr. Atta. As to the other details — that the plot initially included attacks in Southeast Asia and that the original target list included the White House, the Capitol and buildings in Los Angeles and Seattle — she was dismissive. ”We know all that,” she said. ”They’re missing key elements that tell the story.” [New York Times, 6/17/2004]

June 23, 2005: Family Members ask for CIA Inspector General’s Report to be released
“Relatives of Sept. 11 victims on Thursday called on the CIA to release an internal report that scrutinizes the U.S. spy agency’s counterterrorism efforts prior to the 2001 attacks.” “The report by the Central Intelligence Agency’s inspector general, which is said to be in its final stages, is expected to be sent in classified form to CIA Director Porter Goss and then to the intelligence oversight committees in Congress later this summer, officials said. But victims’ relatives, whose lobbying overcame President Bush’s initial resistance to the creation of the Sept. 11 commission, say they intend to step up public pressure on the CIA to release the report publicly. “There’s information in there that’s supposed to really name some names and finally go for some accountability,” said widow Lorie Van Auken of the group known as the Sept. 11 Advocates, a driving force behind creation of the bipartisan commission that investigated the attacks. “Accountability would be fabulous because right now nobody’s being held accountable for anything anywhere in this entire government,” she said in an interview. [Reuters, 6/23/2005]

July 22nd, 2005: Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg, and Monica Gabrielle Testify Before the 9/11 Congressional Briefing
Former Representative Cynthia McKinney holds a historic Congressional Briefing in Washington D.C. a year after the release of the 9/11 Report asking “did the Commission get it right?” Family Members Lorie Van Auken, Monica Gabrielle, and Mindy Kleinberg are the first to testify. Representing Monica and Mindy, Lorie Van Auken states, “Incredulous, but undeterred, we realized that it was necessary to take a thorough and independent look at what had gone wrong on 9/11. Our children were going to have to grow up in this changed world, and we needed to make sure that this would never happen again. We knew that with the 3,000 deaths on 9/11 there remained thousands of questions that needed to be answered, so, we fought for the creation of the 9/11 Commission. And with all of America by our side, we finally won that battle. The Commission was passed into law in the autumn of 2002, and by January, 2003 the Commission finally sat down to commence its very important work. The 9/11 Commission’s report is one year old today. This report was supposed to provide the definitive account of what had transpired on September eleven, 2001. We hoped that our thousands of unanswered questions would be addressed and answered. Yet incredibly we have found that the Commission’s definitive final report has actually yielded more questions than answers. Moreover, there are still so many areas that remain unexplained, or are only vaguely touched upon by the 9/11 Commission, so much so that it was quite difficult for me to decide where I should start my testimony to you today.” [reprehensor.gnn.tv, 7/22/2005]

August 10, 2005: News about Able Danger is revealed, Family Members release a statement, declare 9/11 Report a “hollow failure”
“As 9/11 widows who fought tirelessly for the creation of the 9/11 Commission, we are wholly disappointed to learn that the Commission’s Final Report is a hollow failure. We spent innumerable hours of our time away from our families to ensure that the 9/11 Commission had the tools and resources necessary to provide a complete and thorough accounting of the 9/11 attacks to the American people. We truly wanted to learn lessons from the 9/11 attacks so that we could all live in a safer environment. We find this latest revelation of the Commission’s failure to adequately and aggressively pursue the complete truth surrounding 9/11 absolutely shameful.” [September 11th Advocates, 8/10/2005]

August 23, 2005: Monograph shows Al Hamzi and Al Mihdhar in NY/NJ area in December 2000, Family Members release a statement asking for Commission to explain their “mistake”
“It has come to our attention that two of the 9/11 hijackers – Al Hazmi and Al Mihdhar – were in the NY/NJ area in December of 2000. The evidence of this new piece of knowledge is found on page A-21 of the 9/11 Commission’s visa travel monograph. On that page you will find two identification cards issued by USA ID to Al Mihdhar and Al Hazmi. Please note the expiration date of those identification cards – December 2006. It should also be noted that USA ID only provides identification cards for a six year duration. The date of issuance, therefore, can be ascertained by subtracting six years from the date of expiration. Thus, the date of issuance was December 2000. This information is highly relevant in that it reveals a glaring “mistake” in the Commission’s timeline regarding the whereabouts of two of the key 9-11 hijackers. Namely, that both Al Hazmi and Al Mihdhar were in the NY – NJ area nearly two months after the Cole bombing – an Al Qaeda attack that cost the lives of 17 US Sailors in Yemen in October 2000. We request the Commission explain their “mistake” to the American people and further investigate the concrete whereabouts of these two hijackers for the time period of June 2000 until the day of 9-11. Recall that the Commission reports that Al Mihdhar left the United States in June of 2000 not to return until July of 2001.” [September 11th Advocates, 8/23/2005]

August 25, 2005: CIA Inspector General’s Report not to be declassified, Family Members release a statement calling for its “immediate release”
“We are deeply disturbed to learn that an investigation of the CIA, conducted at the direction of the Joint House and Senate Congressional Intelligence Committees in 2002, will not be declassified and released as soon as possible. This report presumably discusses failures within the CIA and identifies performance deficiencies among high-ranking CIA officials. The findings in this report must be shared with all members of Congress and with the American public to ensure that the problems identified are addressed and corrected, thus moving to restore faith in this agency. We call for the immediate release of this report. To shield CIA officials from accountability and to continue to cover-up deficiencies in that agency puts the safety of our nation at risk. Four years post 9-11 this is truly unacceptable.” [September 11th Advocates, 8/25/2005]

September 19, 2005: Pentagon calls for hearings regarding Able Danger to be closed to the public, Family Members release a statement
“We were stunned to learn that the Pentagon is calling for the Senate hearing regarding “Able Danger” scheduled for Wednesday, September 21st, to be closed to the public. Recall that Able Danger was the data mining operation run out of the Defense Intelligence Agency that allegedly identified four of the 9/11 hijackers one year prior to the attacks. There has been much controversy surrounding these findings and their significance cannot be overstated. This information, relating to Able Danger, changes the entire 9/11 “story” and would therefore impact many of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. After attempting to seek the truth for four years, it would be a travesty to keep the facts surrounding this operation from the public. The insistence on secrecy by governmental agencies only makes their motives suspect and ultimately serves to keep the American public at risk.” [September 11th Advocates, 9/19/2005]

April 12, 2006: Lorie Van Auken and Mindy Kleinberg address journalism and media studies students about 9/11 investigation
At the Scholarly Communication Center of the Alexander Library, 9/11 Family Members Lorie Van Auken, and Mindy Kleinberg address journalism and media studies students. “The media didn’t have the same want to find the truth,” Van Auken said. “Conflicting facts began to raise issues to us. It became very clear to us that we were supposed to play the role of the unquestioning victims.” “We’ve been operating in an environment that’s a no-fault government,” Kleinberg said. “Whatever glossing over of the topic they could do they would.” Kleinberg talked of how she was disappointed with the end result of the 9/11 Commission report. “They did not do the job we were hoping,” Kleinberg said. “Evidence was offered that they did not go after.” [Daily Targum, 4/12/2006]

May 11, 2006: Families release a statement on Hayden, other rewarded after 9/11
“There has been an untenable pattern in this administration where abysmal failure gets rewarded and accountability is not found. For example: 1. Condoleezza Rice was promoted to Secretary of State: On May 16, 2002, Condoleezza Rice, as National Security Advisor, said, “No one could have predicted that planes could be used as missiles”, despite many prior intelligence reports on that precise topic and the fact that she was in Italy in July 2001 with the President who had to sleep on a boat for fear that a plane might be used as a missile in an assassination attempt against him. On September 11, 2001, four planes were used as missiles. Our National Security Agencies were unprepared. 3000 people were killed. In 2005, Condoleezza Rice was promoted from National Security Advisor to Secretary of State. 2. George Tenet was heralded as a hero and given the Medal of Freedom: Tenet led the CIA through three of the US Intelligence communities largest failures: the U.S.S. Cole bombing, 9/11, and the lack of WMD in Iraq. George Tenet was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of our countries most esteemed honors. 3. FBI agents Michael Maltbie and David Frasca were promoted within the ranks of the FBI: Moussaoui’s arresting officer, FBI agent Harry Samit, tried some 70 times to get a FISA warrant to search Moussaoui’s belongings before the 9/11 attacks. Samit testified during the Moussaoui penalty phase that he was thwarted by two agents at FBI HQ: Michael Maltbie, and David Frasca. These men scrubbed clean Samit’s FISA requests of any references to terrorist ties that Moussaoui might have had, and then refused to allow the FISA requests to even be made. The US Government has asserted that had they been able to search Moussaoui’s belongings, the 9/11 plot could have been prevented. Maltbie and Frasca were both promoted within the ranks of the FBI, where they are still employed today. 4. Steven Hadley was promoted to National Security Advisor: Steven Hadley is the man responsible for placing the misleading and erroneous 16 words in the State of the Union Address regarding WMD in Iraq. Steven Hadley was promoted to National Security Advisor in 2005. 5. Porter Goss was promoted to Director of the CIA: Porter Goss was the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee prior to and after 9/11. In such capacity he was responsible for the Congressional oversight of the intelligence community and its agencies. With an intelligence community still in complete disarray nearly 5 years post-9/11, Goss was at least in part responsible for that. President Bush appointed Goss to head the CIA in 2004. 6. General Michael Hayden is now being appointed to Director of the CIA: On September 10, 2001, two intercepts were received by the NSA: “tomorrow is zero hour” and “the match begins tomorrow”. According to the official record, these intercepts were not translated until September 12, 2001. In the summer of threat, the NSA apparently had a shortage of translators. General Michael Hayden was head of the NSA in September of 2001. Moreover, Hayden is the architect of the president’s illegal wiretapping program. The congressional intelligence committees were not briefed about this program, as is required by law. General Michael Hayden is now being promoted to head the CIA. Nearly five years post-9/11, the agencies that comprise our national security apparatus are floundering because no real reforms have taken place. This failure lies solely within the hands of President Bush and Congress who fail to take our homeland security seriously and make it a number one priority. However, one must remain mindful that any intelligence agency can only be as good as the individuals that comprise that agency and lead that agency. How can we expect optimal results from an intelligence community that continues to be led by incompetent individuals with clear records of failure? Why is our President choosing individuals who have clearly showed failures of judgment and failures of competence that have cost thousands of lives?” [September 11th Advocates, 5/11/2006]

June 7, 2006: “Jersey Girls” respond to Ann Coulter’s slanderous remarks
“We did not choose to become widowed on September 11, 2001. The attack, which tore our families apart and destroyed our former lives, caused us to ask some serious questions regarding the systems that our country has in place to protect its citizens. Through our constant research, we came to learn how the protocols were supposed to have worked. Thus, we asked for an independent commission to investigate the loopholes which obviously existed and allowed us to be so utterly vulnerable to terrorists. Our only motivation ever was to make our Nation safer. Could we learn from this tragedy so that it would not be repeated? We are forced to respond to Ms. Coulter’s accusations to set the record straight because we have been slandered. Contrary to Ms. Coulter’s statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day. It is in their honor and memory, that we will once again refocus the Nation’s attention to the real issues at hand: our lack of security, leadership and progress in the five years since 9/11. We are continuously reminded that we are still a nation at risk. Therefore, the following is a partial list of areas still desperately in need of attention and public outcry. We should continuously be holding the feet of our elected officials to the fire to fix these shortcomings. 1. Homeland Security Funding based on risk. Inattention to this area causes police officers, firefighters and other emergency/first responder personnel to be ill equipped in emergencies. Fixing this will save lives on the day of the next attack. 2. Intelligence Community Oversight. Without proper oversight, there exists no one joint, bicameral intelligence panel with power to both authorize and appropriate funding for intelligence activities. Without such funding we are unable to capitalize on all intelligence community resources and abilities to thwart potential terrorist attacks. Fixing this will save lives on the day of the next attack. 3. Transportation Security. There has been no concerted effort to harden mass transportation security. Our planes, buses, subways, and railways remain under-protected and highly vulnerable. These are all identifiable soft targets of potential terrorist attack. The terror attacks in Spain and London attest to this fact. Fixing our transportation systems may save lives on the day of the next attack. 4. Information Sharing among Intelligence Agencies. Information sharing among intelligence agencies has not improved since 9/11. The attacks on 9/11 could have been prevented had information been shared among intelligence agencies. On the day of the next attack, more lives may be saved if our intelligence agencies work together. 5. Loose Nukes. A concerted effort has not been made to secure the thousands of loose nukes scattered around the world – particularly in the former Soviet Union. Securing these loose nukes could make it less likely for a terrorist group to use this method in an attack, thereby saving lives. 6. Security at Chemical Plants, Nuclear Plants, Ports. We must, as a nation, secure these known and identifiable soft targets of Terrorism. Doing so will save many lives. 7. Border Security. We continue to have porous borders and INS and Customs systems in shambles. We need a concerted effort to integrate our border security into the larger national security apparatus. 8. Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Given the President’s NSA Surveillance Program and the re-instatement of the Patriot Act, this Nation is in dire need of a Civil Liberties Oversight Board to insure that a proper balance is found between national security versus the protection of our constitutional rights.” [September 11th Advocates, 6/7/2006]

August 4, 2006: 9/11 Commission admits lied to by NORAD, Family Members release a statement questioning the “veracity of the entire Commission’s report”
“Recent stories in the Washington Post, the New York Times, as well as the release of the transcripts of the NORAD tapes in Vanity Fair, clearly show that the 9/11 Commission failed in its duties. According to current reports, the Commission knew that it had been deceived by NORAD. In May 2003, representatives of NORAD testified, in full regalia, before the 9/11 Commission equipped with an easel and visual aids to highlight NORAD’s timeline for the day of 9/11. In June 2004, NORAD testified again, changing its previous testimony. The new timeline blamed the lack of military response on late notification by the FAA. The Commissioners never determined or explained why there was a discrepancy between the two sets of testimonies. Governor Kean is quoted in the Washington Post article as saying “we, to this day don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth … It’s one of those loose ends that never got tied”. The fact that the Commission did not see fit to tie up all loose ends in their final report or to hold those who came before them accountable for lying and/or making misleading statements puts into question the veracity of the entire Commission’s report. Individuals who came before the Commission to testify, after NORAD’s appearance, had no reason to state the truth. It was abundantly clear that there would be no repercussions for any misrepresentations. Furthermore, the lack of tenacity and curiosity, by the Commissioners themselves, to determine why NORAD had deceived them is unconscionable. Knowing full well that the lack of military response was such a critical failure, begs the question of whether that same lack of tenacity and curiosity was applied to other critical areas of the 9/11 investigation. We fought to establish the 9/11 Independent Commission because we believed that American citizens would be better served if our nation’s vulnerabilities were uncovered and then fixed. Unfortunately, once again the failure to fully and properly investigate all areas, not follow all leads and not address the need for accountability, whether it be bureaucrats lying at a hearing or personnel with questionable performance of assigned duties, continues to leave this Nation and its citizens vulnerable and at risk. The 9/11 Commission was derelict in its duties. What we needed from them was a thorough investigation into the events of September 11th. Inexcusably, five years later, we still do.” [September 11th Advocates, 8/4/2006]

September 5, 2006: Documentary released that calls into question the entire 9/11 Report, 9/11: Press For Truth
“9/11 Press For Truth” follows the families as they confront the administration’s attempts to avoid scrutiny and compromise the investigation. The film deftly follows several timeline “threads” to effectively challenge the official narrative offered Americans regarding pre-9/11 warnings, the search for Bin Laden and the money trail. The film’s underlying thesis, that the official mythology of 9/11 is a multi-faceted lie and that that there has been a broad cover-up, is inspired by Thompson¹s book “The Terror Timeline,” which pieces together stories from over 7000 mainstream media sources that, in context, paint a very different picture of the event that forever changed the world. [9/11 CitizensWatch, 8/17/2006]

October 5, 2006: News about 7/10/2001 Rice, Tenet, Black meeting surfaces, Family Members release a statement
“Astonishingly, five years post 9/11 the public is made aware about an urgent July 10, 2001 meeting that took place between former CIA Director George Tenet and then, National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. This information comes from Bob Woodward’s newly released book, “State of Denial”. Despite this Administration’s rhetoric that they had “no warnings” leading up to 9/11, it has become abundantly clear, that key Administration officials were made aware of the vast array of Al Qaeda threats and warnings that existed in years prior, and more importantly, in the weeks leading up to September 11, 2001. When we add the July 10, 2001 meeting to the plethora of other clear warnings that our government had, a very concise view of the al Qaeda threat emerges. Those other warnings include, but are not limited to:

  • Warnings from leaders of other nations and foreign intelligence apparatus’ of terrorist threats
  • June 30, 2001 Senior Executive Intelligence Briefing (SEIB) entitled “bin Laden Threats Are Real”
  • The threat of President Bush’s assassination at the G-8 Summit by al Qaeda in July of 2001 – using aircraft to dive bomb the summit building
  • July 2001 Phoenix memo, which told of potential terrorists taking flight lessons
  • 52 FAA warnings – five of which mentioned al Qaeda’s training for hijacking
  • August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief entitled “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”
  • National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)entitled “Islamist Extremists Learn to Fly”
  • Intelligence agency heads describing themselves with their “hair on fire” to characterize the imminent nature of the threats they were intercepting from Al Qaeda and their sense of urgency in relating them to the Bush Administration
  • The arrest of Zacharias Moussaoui in August of 2001
  • FBI Agent Harry Samit’s 70 unsuccessful attempts to get a FISA Warrant to examine Moussaoui’s belongings.

Aside from scheduling a National Security Council meeting on September 4, 2001, two months after the July 10 “connect the dots” briefing from CIA director, George Tenet, the abundance of post 9/11 reports and commissions found no evidence of any action taken by appropriate officials. The 9/11 Commission itself concluded that in spite of an unprecedented attack threat in the months before 9/11, US “domestic agencies never mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have direction, and did not have a plan to institute. The borders were not hardened. Transportation systems were not fortified. Electronic surveillance was not targeted against a domestic threat. State and local law enforcement were not marshaled to augment the FBI’s efforts. The public was not warned.” While certain members of the 9/11 Commission recalled a January 28, 2004 closed session meeting with former CIA Director, George Tenet, where this urgent July 10, 2001 meeting was discussed, this meeting was not referenced in the Commission’s final report. In the transcript testimony, the former CIA Director described the non-routine meeting that he and Cofer Black called for with then National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice as one of the “starkest warnings” ever given by the CIA to the White House on Al Qaeda. To our continued dismay, both the Bush Administration and the 9/11 Commission have consistently failed to give a complete and honest accounting to the American public with regard to their actions and inactions leading up to the devastation of September 11, 2001. The inexcusable result of this less than truthful accounting has resulted in America making important national security decisions and passing legislation using the 9/11 Commission’s conclusions and recommendations. Chillingly, these decisions appear to be based upon an unclear combination of partial truths mixed with distortions and omissions of important facts. Incredibly, five years post 9/11 we have come full circle. In spite of all the clear warnings that our government received, why did those in power fail to invoke any defensive measures to protect our nation from the attacks of September 11, 2001? We demand the immediate declassification and release of these latest documents and transcripts. The American public has the right to know what their government did or did not do to protect us from terrorist actions. Finally, instead of reorganizing an entire intelligence community because they “weren’t sharing information”, and rather than telling us that “9/11 was a failure of imagination”, what we needed was for the 9/11 Commission to state the truth and hold those responsible to account. The most effective change for America would be to have a National Security Council that understands that it is their job to translate vital information into action.” [September 11th Advocates, 10/5/2006]

October 14, 2006: Family Members release a petition calling for the de-classification of pertinent 9/11 information
On October 14th, 2006, Monica Gabrielle, Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg, and Patty Casazza started a petition that calls for, “the immediate declassification and release of all transcripts and documents relating to the July 10, 2001 meeting that took place between former CIA Director George Tenet and then National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice” as well as “the declassification and release of both the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Into The Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (JICI) and the CIA Inspector General’s report, “CIA Accountability With Respect To The 9/11 Attacks”.

November 24, 2007: Lorie Van Auken speaks at the NYC Ballot Initiative Event
New Yorkers are currently attempting to get a call for a new investigation onto the ballots. In a show of support, 9/11 Family Member Lorie Van Auken attended, and spoke. “When Bill Pepper asked me to be a part of a real investigation into 9/11, I found it difficult to say no. The reason that we need an investigation into 9/11 is because we never actually had one. Almost 3,000 people were killed on September 11th, and many more have gotten sick and died from working on “the pile” at the WTC after the attacks. Oddly, there has never been a real look into how 9/11 could have occurred. The 9/11 Commission was not a real investigation. It was political theater, and not a scientific, forensic analysis of the available evidence. The 9/11 Commission was comprised of politicians, not scientists, and not experts in relevant fields. The family members who were involved with the Commission, actually had more questions after the 9/11 “independent commission” was completed, than we had before it began.” [Lorie Van Auken, 11/24/2007]

December 26, 2007: Family Members write a letter to the NYTimes editor regarding the destruction of the CIA Interrogation Tapes
“Re “9/11 Panel Study Finds That C.I.A. Withheld Tapes” (front page, Dec. 22): Our government’s official story regarding the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, tells us that 19 Arab hijackers successfully defeated the United States military by hijacking four commercial airliners within two hours on a budget of approximately $400,000. These men, armed only with small knives, box cutters and Mace, were able to knock down the World Trade Center towers in New York City and strike the Pentagon. Because our loved ones were murdered on 9/11, we felt that the details of how the hijackers succeeded should be thoroughly investigated, so we fought for an independent 9/11 Commission. It seemed logical that our government would want to know what happened so as to prevent another attack. When the legislation for the 9/11 Commission was passed, it gave the commissioners full subpoena power. Unfortunately, that subpoena power was rarely used. You report that “the panel made repeated and detailed requests to the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 and 2004 for documents and other information about the interrogation of operatives of Al Qaeda.” But while the panel did make “document requests” to the C.I.A., it did not subpoena the C.I.A. for the documents and tapes. A subpoena would have meant that the C.I.A. would have had to answer the commission as to whether the documents and tapes existed, and the agency would have had to explain its reasons for not turning these documents and tapes over to the panel. We would have had a paper trail about the evidence. You also report, “In interviews this week, the two chairmen of the commission, Lee H. Hamilton and Thomas H. Kean, said their reading of the report had convinced them that the agency had made a conscious decision to impede the Sept. 11 commission’s inquiry.” The question is: Are Americans satisfied with this? The 9/11 Commission did not fulfill its mandate to thoroughly investigate the 9/11 attacks. A real investigation into the events of Sept. 11 that examines all of the evidence has never been done and is still needed.” [New York Times, 12/26/2007]

January 17, 2008: Sunday Times starts series on Sibel Edmonds, Family Members release a statement of support
“As United States Citizens and 9/11 widows, we wholeheartedly support the whistle-blowing efforts of Sibel Edmonds, former Contract Linguist for the FBI. Like Sibel, we too had hoped that the 9/11 Commission would bring to the fore of the American public’s attention the facts that led up to the attacks on that horrific day. We believed that the whistle-blowers would be invaluable assets to the Commission’s investigation. Who would be in a better position to help the 9/11 Commission make recommendations to fix the failures that allowed the 9/11 attacks to succeed than current and former employees who worked in the agencies and had the courage and integrity to report on their shortcomings as well as their successes? Sibel’s testimony and that of other whistle-blowers, if used properly or at all, should have been the basis of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. Then the reforms would have been truly responsive to the problems that existed in protecting our nation’s security. Sibel had first hand knowledge of the inner workings of our FBI translation department, as well as information that came from translating messages from wiretaps. Some of that information was related to lapses in protocols and procedures within the FBI translation department. These infractions were so serious that they enabled breeches in our National Security. Other information alleged criminal involvement of current and former members of the Intelligence Agencies, Congress, leaders of international and domestic organizations and businesses and high-level officials within the Bush Administration. The claims that Sibel made were indeed shocking. She testified privately before the 9/11 Commission over the course of several hours. She supplied them with specific document information including names of expert witnesses who could corroborate her testimony. In addition, through relationships that Sibel had made with other current and former employees, she offered to the 9/11 Commission the contact information of additional potential whistle-blowers. However, none of the information that Sibel provided to the Commission ever made its way into the Commission’s final report. Nor do we know if the Commission ever called upon the additional whistle-blowers to supply their testimonies. The result of all Sibel’s whistle-blowing was that she was fired from the FBI and ultimately gagged when John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General, asserted an arcane law of “States Secret Privilege”. By this time, Sibel had taken her concerns and conveyed this information to her supervisors at the FBI, members of the Judiciary Committee, the FBI Inspector General and the 9/11 Commission, all of whom would have been able to corroborate her claims. In fact, the FBI Inspector General’s report publicly did. Much to our dismay, when Sibel appealed her case to the Supreme Court, she was denied attendance. The court’s decision was made without Sibel or her attorney being present – they were asked to leave the courtroom. We can fully understand Sibel’s frustration. The failure of our government to take action on her information is clearly detrimental to our country’s security and yet little has been done to correct these problems and she remains gagged. Why? We believe that true Patriots and leaders of this nation would want an accurate assessment of Sibel’s allegations as well as the resulting appropriate action. Sibel Edmonds knows who, hiding behind the guise of National Security and the protection of certain diplomatic relations, has abdicated their duties without regard to the deadly and costly consequences of 9/11. It is time for all of America to be informed. It is time we demand the justice that is our right and responsibility. It is time that Sibel’s information is publicly heard and acted upon to make this nation safe and time to recognize Sibel for the heroine and patriot that she truly is.” [September 11th Advocates, 1/17/2008]

February 4, 2008: Philip Shenon’s book, “The Commission” is released, Family Members release a statement calling for a new investigation
“Philip Shenon’s new book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, serves to justify our suspicions and the concerns of the Family Steering Committee, that we attempted to publicly air during the course of the 9/11 Commission’s tenure. One of the most egregious revelations put forth by Mr. Shenon is the fact that Philip Zelikow was hired as the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, despite his direct ties to the Bush Administration. In 2000-2001 he served as a member of Condoleezza Rice’s National Security Council (NSC) transition team, where he was allegedly the “architect” of the decision to demote Richard Clarke and his counter terrorism team within the NSC. Furthermore he was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) from 2001-2003, where Zelikow drafted most of the 2002 “National Security Strategy of the United States,” creating the pre-emptive Iraq war strategy. These areas were within the scope of the Commission’s mandate and as such were of critical importance to determine what, if any, impact they had on the government’s ability to prevent the 9/11 attacks. As the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow was given the responsibility for choosing the entire direction of the Commission’s investigation. Essentially, Mr. Zelikow determined who was or was not interviewed as a witness, and which information was or was not looked at. He also influenced which documents would be requested from the various agencies. It seemed to us, that allowing an individual with this much involvement in the Bush administration to run the investigation, might give the appearance of impropriety and could ultimately taint the Commission’s findings. In a statement issued by the Family Steering Committee of March 20, 2004 we wrote: It is apparent that Dr. Zelikow should never have been permitted to be Executive Staff Director of the Commission. As Executive Staff Director, his job has been to steer the direction of the Commission’s investigation, an investigation whose mandate includes understanding why the Bush Administration failed to prioritize the Al Qaeda threat. In the same statement we also called for: Zelikow’s immediate resignation; Zelikow’s testimony in public and under oath; and the subpoena of Zelikow’s notes from the intelligence briefings he attended with Richard Clarke. Commission Chairman Tom Kean and Vice-Chair Lee Hamilton instead chose to have Mr. Zelikow recuse himself from the areas of the investigation that dealt with the transition period. However, they allowed Mr. Zelikow to be one of only two people (Ms. Gorelick was the other) to review the Presidential Daily Briefings (PDB’s), reports that went to the heart of what the White House and its National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, knew prior to 9/11. While investigating the events that led up to the September 11th attacks, Philip Zelikow was called as a witness by the 9/11 Commission though transcripts of his testimony were never made public. Despite our vehement objections, Mr. Zelikow was allowed to remain in his position as what seemed to be the “gatekeeper” of the 9/11 Commission. Mr. Shenon’s book illustrates just how deeply and insidiously the Commission’s basic fact-finding work was compromised by Zelikow’s conflicts. He recounts that even after his recusal, Mr. Zelikow continued to insert himself into the work of “Team 3,” of the Commission. This team was responsible for examining the White House, and therefore, the conduct of Condoleezza Rice and Richard Clarke during the months prior to 9/11. According to the author, Team 3 staffers would come to believe that Mr. Zelikow prevented them from submitting a report that would have depicted Ms. Rice’s performance as “amount[ing] to incompetence, or something not far from it.” Evidence of the possible duplicitous nature of Mr. Zelikow’s role on the 9/11 Commission was further exemplified by his numerous conversations with Karl Rove, President Bush’s Senior Political Advisor. When questioned about his contact with Rove, Zelikow’s response was to tell his secretary to stop logging his calls. Contrary to former Commissioner John Lehman’s recent comment on MSNBC that Zelikow’s conversations with Rove are a “red herring”, these contacts with Rove should have been a red flag. Negotiating for or procuring of White House documents for the Commission should have been done through the Office of White House Counsel NOT the President’s political advisor. Consequently, knowing how this would appear, one must ask why Zelikow was speaking with Rove? It is abundantly clear that Philip Zelikow should have immediately been replaced when the first rumblings of his impropriety and conflicts of interest surfaced. When all of this information became clear, the Commissioners and the press should have called for Zelikow’s resignation. We did. Shamefully, most were silent. Further evidence of political maneuvering came to light in the story of Commissioner Max Cleland. Cleland was publicly critical of the Commission and the Bush White House. According to Shenon’s book, when it became obvious that Max Cleland would continue to be loudly critical, Commission Chairman Tom Kean and Vice-Chair Lee Hamilton sought the help of Senator Tom Daschle to find Cleland a new job. Thus, Max Cleland was quietly removed and silenced with a new job in the Bush Administration. Also revealed in Shenon’s book is the fact that the Commission’s staff never ventured to the National Security Agency (NSA), the chief collector of intelligence information, in order to review their “voluminous treasure trove of documents”. At NSA Headquarters, 27 miles from the Commission’s offices, there was a “gold mine” of information detailing terrorist’s threats and connections, including those of al Qaeda. General Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA at the time, was eager to cooperate and share what his organization had with the 9/11 Commission, but Executive Director Zelikow was not interested. A lone staffer, who understood the importance of these archives, had the information moved to a reading room within walking distance of the Commission’s offices. Even then, she was the only member of the Commission to take the time to read these documents. By her own admission, this insightful staffer had concerns as to how much she, on her own, would be able to glean from these jargon filled documents. Why didn’t Phil Zelikow make reviewing these vital NSA documents a Commission priority? It seems clear that not every fact and lead was followed in this investigation compromising the validity of the Commission’s final report and its findings. Moreover, the “Pre-9/11 story” largely revolved around second and third hand knowledge of interrogations of tortured individuals, detainees that were being held in secret locations. According to many sources at the CIA and deep within the government, confessions extracted from individuals who are tortured are generally deemed useless. A tortured detainee will say anything in order to make the torture stop and therefore, the confession cannot be trusted. One needs to look no further than the Army Field Manual on Interrogation (FM 34-52), which states in Chapter 1: “Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.” How could the Commission have based their entire pre-9/11 narrative on these unreliable, torture-induced confessions? We believe that author Phil Shenon has revealed information which only scratches the surface as to what went on behind the scenes of this investigation. Why, when this Congressionally mandated Commission could have done much to fix the fatal flaws in our in government by conducting a real investigation and making vital recommendations, would they instead allow it to become a sham. This investigation was meant to fix the loopholes that allowed our Country to be so vulnerable. Why would they choose instead, to succumb to political machinations? What would we find out if a real investigation into September 11, 2001 were ever done? The bottom line is that the most deadly attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor remains dangerously unexamined. This can only be remedied with an investigation guided by the facts and conducted outside the reach of those with a vested interest in suppressing the truth.” [September 11th Advocates, 2/4/2008]

February 19, 2008: News about Guantanamo 9/11 Military Tribunals surfaces, Family Members release a statement
“The recent news reports that our government has finally charged the “6 Guantanamo Detainees” for crimes connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks has focused on the fact that our government is calling for the death penalty. While we all agree that the perpetrators of 9/11 should be brought to justice, the death penalty is not the issue. The real issue is that it must first be proven that these six detainees are indeed the guilty parties. Although we attempted to have this kind of information brought to light through the work of the 9/11 Independent Commission, much of their work is now suspect because, by their own admission, they wrote the 9/11 story based on third hand information. The Commission itself was never allowed to interview the detainees; instead they had to use notes taken by the CIA interrogators of those interviews. In their document requests, the commissioners failed to use the standard language that defines “documents” as being computer discs, “videos”, etc. As such, the CIA did not hand over the videotaped interrogation interviews of the detainees, contending recently, that the Commission never asked specifically for “videos”. It has since been reported that the CIA, against orders, destroyed these tapes and thus this evidence. As unconscionable as the destruction of these videotapes was, what has made it even more egregious, is that the tapes would have, according to the CIA, revealed that some of the detainees were subjected to harsh, enhanced interrogation techniques, including water boarding. This was done, even though it is widely agreed by military experts that confessions or evidence garnered through extreme measures, such as torture, are unreliable. Therefore, even if the evidence in these tapes contained detainee confessions to some aspects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this evidence would now be considered tainted. Further complicating these matters, the Administration has decided to try these men in Military Tribunals. Bringing these six men to trial with a system that is secretive in nature and lacking in due process, which uses tainted evidence, is a dangerous endeavor. All Americans, and indeed the entire international community, must have the opportunity to witness for themselves the body of evidence that ties these individuals to the 9/11 terrorists’ plot. Otherwise the credibility of any verdict will lack legitimacy. Moreover, unless these trials are above reproach, any convictions – death penalty or otherwise – will bring the wrath of the international community, damaging what is left of America’s standing in the world. Considering that we continue to rely heavily on cooperation from other nations to provide us with intelligence information on would be terrorists, this course of action can only be detrimental to these crucial relationships, thereby jeopardizing our national security. These trials, when they finally take place, will be scrutinized around the globe. Unless the victims’ families, the American public and the entire world can be convinced that we are trying and convicting the people who are truly responsible for the 9/11 crimes, these trials will be seen as a miserable failure, dimming our prospects of improved international relationships, and making us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks in the future. In our pursuit of justice with regard to the six Guantanamo detainees, we implore you, let us not do more harm than good.” [September 11th Advocates, 2/19/2008]