September 11th Congressional Report Fast Facts
July 27, 2013 in Politics
The full name of the report is the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001: Report of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
The report is a result of a 10-month joint investigation by House and Senate intelligence committees. The report is completed in December 2002, but not published until July 2003 because of declassification.
The report is more than 800 pages, and there is a 20-page errata to the report available, which shows corrections made to the original. Twenty-eight pages that allegedly deal with Saudi Arabia’s connections to the 19 hijackers remain classified.
Findings of the report:
FBI, CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies “missed opportunities” to thwart terrorism prior to September 11, 2001.
Although senior military officials were standing ready to strike terrorist Osama bin Laden, of al Qaeda, prior to 9/11, they lacked the intelligence necessary for execution.
According to the report, “various threads and pieces of information” have either been overlooked or not put together.
“No one will ever know what might have happened had more connections been drawn between these disparate pieces of information,” the report states. “The important point is that the intelligence community, for a variety of reasons, did not bring together and fully appreciate a range of information that could have greatly enhanced its chances of uncovering and preventing bin Laden’s plan to attack the United States on September 11, 2001.”
The report is the product of 5,000 interviews and a review of nearly one million documents.
The report includes some 19 recommendations to bolster counter terrorism efforts; those recommendations are originally released in 2002.
From “Abridged Findings and Conclusions”:
Finding 1: “While the Intelligence Community had amassed a great deal of valuable intelligence regarding Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist activities, none of it identified the time, place, and specific nature of the attacks that were planned for September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, the Community did have information that was clearly relevant to the September 11 attacks, particularly when considered for its collective significance.”
Finding 2: “During the spring and summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community experienced a significant increase in information indicating that Bin Laden and al-Qaeda intended to strike against U.S. interests in the very near future.”
Finding 3: “Beginning in 1998 and continuing into the summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community received a modest, but relatively steady, stream of intelligence reporting that indicated the possibility of terrorist attacks within the United States. Nonetheless, testimony and interviews confirm that it was the general view of the Intelligence Community, in the spring and summer of 2001, that the threatened Bin Laden attacks would most likely occur against U.S. interests overseas, despite indications of plans and intentions to attack in the domestic United States.”
Finding 4: “From at least 1994, and continuing into the summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community received information indicating that terrorists were contemplating, among other means of attack, the use of aircraft as weapons. This information did not stimulate any specific Intelligence Community assessment of, or collective U.S. Government reaction to, this form of threat.”
Finding 5: “Although relevant information that is significant in retrospect regarding the attacks was available to the Intelligence Community prior to September 11, 2001, the Community too often failed to focus on that information and consider and appreciate its collective significance in terms of a probable terrorist attack. Neither did the Intelligence Community demonstrate sufficient initiative in coming to grips with the new transnational threats. Some significant piece of information in the vast stream of data being collected were overlooked, some were not recognized as potentially significant at the time and therefore not disseminated, and some required additional action on the part of foreign governments before a direct connection to the hijackers could have been established. For all those reasons, the Intelligence Community failed to fully capitalize on available and potentially important information.”