A bipartisan group of senators is pushing legislation that would force theSibel (from March):
CIA to release an inspector general's report on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The CIA has spent more than 20 months weighing requests under the Freedom of Information Act for its internal investigation of the attacks but has yet to release any portion of it.
The agency is the only federal office involved in counterterrorism operations that has not made at least a version of its internal 9/11 investigation public.
Sen. Ron Wyden (news, bio, voting record), D-Ore., and two other intelligence committee leaders — chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and senior Republican Kit Bond of Missouri — are pushing legislation that would require the agency to declassify the executive summary of the review within one month and submit a report to Congress explaining why any material was withheld.
In an interview, Wyden said he is also considering whether to link the report's release to his acceptance of
President Bush's nominations for national security positions.
"It's amazing the efforts the administration is going to stonewall this," Wyden said. "The American people have a right to know what the
Central Intelligence Agency was doing in those critical months before 9/11.... I am going to bulldog this until the public gets it."
Completed in June 2005, the inspector general's report examined the personal responsibility of individuals at the CIA before and after the attacks. Other agencies' reviews examined structural problems within their organizations.
Wyden, who has read the classified report several times, wouldn't offer any details on its findings or the conversations he has had with CIA Director Michael Hayden, former CIA Director Porter Goss and former National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
But he did say that protecting individuals from embarrassment is not a legitimate reason for protecting the report's contents from public review. He also said the decision to classify the report has nothing to do with national security, but rather political security.
Bond said some intelligence officials have dismissed the inspector general's report as "ancient history," which he doesn't accept. He said the report has additional information which would be useful to the public.
Many of the individuals highlighted in the inspector general's report are likely to have retired. But some are believed still to be in senior government positions, making the report's findings even more sensitive at the CIA and perhaps elsewhere within the intelligence community.
The AP has reported that the two-year review of what went wrong before the suicide hijackings harshly criticized a number of the agency's most senior officials.
That includes Tenet, former clandestine service chief Jim Pavitt and former counterterrorism center head Cofer Black, according to individuals familiar with the report, who spoke in 2005 on condition they not be identified.
Yet the report also offered some praise for actions of Tenet and others.
Pavitt is now a principal with The Scowcroft Group, an international business advisory firm, and Black is vice chairman of Blackwater USA, an international security firm whose clients include the CIA and other U.S. agencies.
"But that's one of the things that I've been trying to convey, and that is that there are so many different pieces of 911 that have been either covered up or classified and not everyone has access to everything. And I know about certain events and certain issues and certain pieces, others have their own area - and what I tell people is 'just take a look at the picture in general' - I mean, we still have that CIA report on 911 completely classified, Peter. Here we are more than 5 years after 911 and the IG, so-called 'independent' IG, after years of investigation and questioning people and reviewing documents, they issued this report on 911: what the CIA knew, what they did, and the entire report is classified, and then you have the Phoenix Memo, and Colleen Rowley's piece, and Robert Wright in Chicago that had to do with Yassin al-Qadi..."