We Still Don't Know Whole Truth About Initial Response on 9/11
"Incompetence and ineptitude on the part of this government on September 11, and in the weeks leading up to it are, established."
"The fact that the government would permit deception, after a deception, whether honestly (if you can call it that) . . . honestly intended or not. But the fact that they would continue and perpetuate the lie suggests that we need a full investigation of what is going on and what is a demonstrably an incompetent, and worst, deceitful federal government."
"But the fact that they would continue and perpetuate the lie, suggests that we need a full investigation of what is going on and what is demonstrably an incompetent and at worst deceitful federal government."
-- Lou Dobbs, CNN Anchor, August 9, 2006
Aired August 9, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DOBBS: Tonight, a new account of the government's response to September 11th points to a picture of ineptitude, confusion, and perhaps deception. A top Democrat, a Republican suggests Americans still don't know the full truth about that day. We'll have that special report.
DOBBS: Tonight, we're one month away from the fifth anniversary of September 11th. A shocking new book by the 9/11 Commission co- chairmen, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, says Americans still don't know the whole truth about their government's initial response to those terrorist attacks that day.
Christine Romans has the report.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two hours of chaos and confusion on September 11th, and months of government ineptitude at incorrect testimony. A new book by 9/11 commission co- chairmen Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton outlines repeated misstatements by the Pentagon and Federal Aviation Administration.
They write, "Fog of war could explain why some people were confused on the day of 9/11. But it could not explain why all of the after-action reports, accident investigations and public testimony by FAA and NORAD officials advanced an account of 9/11 that was untrue."
Untrue, the military's original timeline of United Flight 93. The military said FAA notified NORAD of a hijacked plane at 9:16 a.m., 47 minutes before the plane crashed in Pennsylvania. In fact, the military found out three minutes after the plane crashed. And equally untrue, the government's timeline for American Flight 77 and details about fighter jets scrambled to intercept it.
The book also alleges government officials weren't forthcoming with the investigation and it took interviews and subpoenas to shake loose valuable information.
A Pentagon audit declassified last year found "DOD did not accurately report to the 9/11 Commission on the response to the September 11th, 2001 hijackings." Pentagon investigators blamed "insufficient forensic capabilities" and worse. Admits, "DOD might not be able to sufficiently capture and report on actions taken in response to a future significant air event."
Still, so far government investigators stopped short of calling all these inaccuracies lies.
ROMANS: Investigations are under way by the inspectors general of the Pentagon and the Department of Transportation to find out just why the FAA and NORAD didn't tell the truth.
Now, Kean and Hamilton say all the inaccuracies have fueled conspiracy theorists, they've stymied the investigation, and Lou, damaged the credibility of this government.
DOBBS: Well, this government doesn't deserve much credibility, does it? In point of fact, if all of the after-action reports are untrue, for whatever reason, that's a lie, because they were asserted as the truth by people who knew better or should have.
ROMANS: And really troubling, the Department of Defense's own inspector general report that was declassified showed that if the same thing happened again, you'd have the same chaos and the same misreporting or lies afterward.
DOBBS: Incompetence and ineptitude on the part of this government on September 11th and in the weeks and months leading up to it are established. The fact that the government would permit deception after a deception, whether honestly, if you can call it that, honestly intended or not. But the fact that they would continue and perpetuate the lie, suggests that we need a full investigation of what is going on and what is demonstrably an incompetent and at worst deceitful federal government.
Christine Romans, thank you very much. Incredible.