Sept. 11 is ingrained into American culture like no other event in recent history. Americans have seen the Twin Towers fall from every possible camera angle, yet there are still many facts about the event about which we remain in the dark. This situation is not likely to change while the panel formed to shed light on them is not receiving cooperation from the various authorities and agencies involved.
One of those criticized by the panel is the U.S. government. By withholding information from the panel, the government is only hurting themselves and making it seem that they have something to hide. This investigation should be completed to the fullest and without obstruction.
The 10-member bipartisan panel, dubbed the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was formed by Congress last year to investigate the United States’ failure to foil the Sept. 11 attacks. The panel, however, is encountering “serious delays,” as officials are not cooperating to the fullest, regardless of the fact that the information requested by the panel is not heavily classified.
After repeatedly asking for documents that detail the actions taken by U.S. air defenses on the day of the attacks, the committee was forced to issue a subpoena to the Pentagon on Friday. Two years after the attacks, the documents have now finally been made available to the panel.
These files could answer important questions that have been unresolved since the day of the attacks. For example, why did it take so long for military jets to be deployed even though it is standard procedure to intercept hijacked commercial airliners? Such a fact could become very important if another attack ever occurs.
The panel is also trying to determine how much, if anything, the U.S. government knew about the al-Qaeda plan to hijack airliners and use them in an attack. Unnamed internal White House sources have repeatedly implied to the press that the government might have known about such plans, but did not take them seriously. The panel is also considering issuing subpoenas to White House officials, which could include the president, to get to the bottom of these allegations.
It is not the panel’s intention to blame the White House for the events that happened, but to determine how well intelligence information flowed between the various organizations that could have prevented the attacks. Also under scrutiny is how the response to the attacks was handled on the day they occurred.
Since approximately 3,000 people perished in the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the public should have a right to know how the government responded.
As warnings about possible new attacks have been issued as recently as this weekend, the public has the right to know that the government is doing everything they can to stop them.