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A Case Study of Congressional Concealment

Reviewing the 29 redacted pages of the Joint Inquiry of 9/11 attacks.

Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the U.S. Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence launched a Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before And After The Terrorist Attacks Of September 11, 2001.

In its capacity of representing We the People, Congress wanted to know what U.S. intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies knew about the hijackers before and after the attacks. Who exactly were these guys, who were they connected with, and who directed and supported them while they were in the United States?

On December of 2002, Congress published a report on its Inquiry. At first glance, this seemed an admirable example of our legislative branch doing its job for the American people. However, concerned citizens who read it—especially the relatives of Americans who died in the attacks—noticed that 29 pages of the report had been redacted because they contained “certain sensitive national security matters.”

Sensible readers will note that the whole point of the Inquiry was to ascertain WHY our intelligence and law enforcement had so catastrophically failed to protect our national security, so redacting 29 pages because they pertained “to sensitive national security matters” struck me as ridiculous. I immediately suspected that Congress was simply protecting influential “friends” and “allies” from embarrassment.

Relatives of 9/11 victims filed a FOIA request for the redacted pages, and after a 14-year legal contest, Congress was finally ordered to publish the document, which it did on Friday, July 15, 2016.


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