News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMine9-11inquiry — Viewing Item


Panel grills alqaeda chiefs on 911 { May 12 2004 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
   http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/05/12/MNG296JVMJ1.DTL

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/05/12/MNG296JVMJ1.DTL

9/11 panel grills al Qaeda chiefs
Secret deal allows questioning of suspect pair held in custody
Laura Sullivan, Baltimore Sun
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
2004 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback | FAQ

Washington -- At least two top al Qaeda leaders in U.S. custody are being questioned by the commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as part of the panel's quest to determine the root of the disaster and whether it could have been prevented.

Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton said the panel has worked out a secret arrangement with the White House allowing members to pose questions to detainees, though he did not say what sort of answers, if any, they have received.

Although Hamilton would not identify the captives being questioned, he suggested they were Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin Al-Shibh, the two accused masterminds of the 2001 attacks.

Hamilton would not elaborate, but he said the commission will include as much information as possible in the declassified version of the report due July 26.

"We have had a procedure in mind . . . whereby we are able to ask questions of these detainees, and that is still being processed and worked out, " he said. " . . . We think the result will be that we will have the information we need from these people."

Mohammed, al-Shibh and Abu Zubaida, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, are being interrogated in secret locations outside the United States.

"One of the most closely held secrets is where these people are. We were told the president doesn't know where they are," Hamilton said.

He declined to say if the commission had also been granted access to transcripts of prior interviews with the detainees, but both he and commission Chairman Thomas Kean said the panel has not been denied access to any documents it sought.

Hamilton cautioned, however, that the responses they get from the detainees must be viewed with skepticism: "Keep in mind that one of the sub- judgments here is the credibility of that information."

Still, he added, "the 19 key players (the hijackers) are all dead and it means you have to reconstruct things through just gumshoe detective work."

Kean also said the commission staff has spoken to many people in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. Staff members, he said, are "following the trail of the hijackers, and in the process they have gotten a number of interviews."

Hamilton said the scandal over the treatment of Iraqi prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad may hurt the U.S. war on terror.

"It is bound to be an effective recruiting tool for terrorist activities or al Qaeda," Hamilton said, adding that "in many respects the damage is done with the circulation of those pictures, which will be searing images of the United States across the world for many, many years to come."

The commissioners' remarks came as they headed to a private meeting with other commissioners and staff members to prepare for the panel's 11th public hearing scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday.

To be held in New York, the hearing will examine the local and federal responses to attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and in western Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

Kean and Hamilton said portions of their commission's final report already are being drafted.

"We've now reached . . . the stage of where we've seen just about everybody we're going to see, we've gotten just about every document we need . . . and we're moving now into the stage where we are talking about our recommendations, we're talking about the form of our report," Kean said.

Hamilton and Kean said they are working frantically to produce a report before the July 26 deadline to avoid releasing it on the deadline, the same day the Democratic National Convention begins in Boston.

"We don't want our report used in a partisan manner, so we will do everything we can to get our report out as soon as possible," said Kean.

Members are hoping to submit chapters of the report in advance to the White House, which must review the report to ensure no classified information is made public. He said the group wants to avoid the type of delay the House and Senate faced when lawmakers detailed the failures that lead to the attacks in a bipartisan congressional report in July.

That inquiry involved a monthslong battle with the White House over what information could be declassified.

Nevertheless, Kean said in recent months the group has had unprecedented access to information and cooperation from the White House.

"We have had access to documents that nobody has ever had access to before in the Congress or investigatory committees," Kean said. "We have gotten in the end every document we have requested."

Newhouse News Service contributed to this report.

2004 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback | FAQ

Page A - 4




berger-incident
bush-interview
commission-failure
commission-recommendations
conflicts-of-interest
congress-report
dissent
hampering-probe
public-heaings
senator-graham-alleges-coverup
9 11 probe quit
911 attacks preventable panel head believes { December 19 2003 }
911 commission chairs son runs for new jersey senate { October 19 2006 }
911 inquiry fired
911 panel cites communication failures between nyfd nypd { May 18 2004 }
911 panel reaches deal on access to papers { November 13 2003 }
911 panel to get more access to memos
911 probe panel
911 victim families not taking bribe money
Air defense flaws detail in 911 panel { April 25 2004 }
Ashcroft blames clinton rules for 911 { April 14 2004 }
Ashcroft blames intelligence sharing wall { April 14 2004 }
Battle over 911 panels deadline intesifies { January 29 2004 }
Breaks on 9 11 truth commission
Bush disagrees with saddam 911 connection { June 17 2004 }
Bush grants commission extension { February 4 2004 }
Bush press conference during 911 hearings
Bushs 911 coverup { June 18 2003 }
Chair says attack was preventable
Chief assess blame but holds off on higher ups { December 19 2003 }
Cia report criticizes cia leaders actions { January 8 2005 }
Commission could subpoena oval office files { October 26 2003 }
Commission investigates FBI { April 13 2004 }
Commission tells of many warnings { July 25 2004 }
Commission votes to subpoena pentagon
Congressional investigation angers cia fbi
Conspiracy theories abound in 911 probe { December 29 2003 }
Deal 911 commision { November 15 2002 }
Failed put hijackers watch list { May 15 2003 }
Families seek curb probe officer
Grassley investigate 911
House 911 inquiry
Kean says 911 attacks could have been prevented { December 19 2003 }
Kean says 911 report will be surprising
Most families havent taken payoff fund { August 31 2003 }
News reporters ordered not to investigate 911
No iraq link to 911 says panel
Panel describes how attackers got money { September 11 2001 }
Panel grills alqaeda chiefs on 911 { May 12 2004 }
Panel has glimpse presidential briefings { November 16 2003 }
Panel has testy exchange with firefights police { May 18 2004 }
Panel may subpoena its summaries of bush briefings { January 31 2004 }
Panel plans hard questions for fbi doj { April 6 2004 }
Panel probes failures of air defenses
Panel requests documents { June 19 2003 }
Panel seeks declassification of 911 warning memo
Panel urged disciplinary { December 11 2002 }
Panel will sharply fault role of congress { July 22 2004 }
Report citing blame for 911 supressed till after election { October 19 2004 }
Secrets of 911
Tenet lies about not seeing bush in august 2001 { April 16 2004 }
Terrorism catchall too vague an enemy for war { July 23 2004 }
Top brass says no chance hijackers fly into pentagon { April 15 2004 }
Victims relatives press white house for sept 11 details { October 29 2003 }
Why does 911 inquiry scare bush { July 11 2003 }

Files Listed: 55



Correction/submissions

CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Archives
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple