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Thu, Aug 03, 2006

9/11 Commission Member Says Panel Didn't Trust Pentagon Reports

IG Investigated, But Did Not Pursue Matter

The presidential commission investigating the 9/11 attacks were so distrustful of the military's version of events that, at one point, members referred the issue to the Pentagon's inspector general, according to a member of that very commission.

Commission member Tim Roemer told CNN Wednesday there was even talk about sending the matter to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, because, Roemer says, the Pentagon's version of what happened that terrible day just didn't add up.

"We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting," Roemer told CNN. "We were not sure of the intent, whether it was to deceive the commission or merely part of the fumbling bureaucracy."

The Investigator General did investigate and, while correcting a number of mistakes in the record of testimony before the 9/11 commission, did not pursue a criminal investigation as "nothing in the course of their review that indicates testimony by DOD was knowingly false," a Pentagon spokesman said.

That explanation does not sit well with many... including The Washington Post.

"For more than two years after the attacks, officials with NORAD [the North American Aerospace Defense Command] and the FAA provided inaccurate information about the response to the hijackings in testimony and media appearances," the Post reported Wednesday. "Authorities suggested that US air defenses had reacted quickly, that jets had been scrambled in response to the last two hijackings and that fighters were prepared to shoot down United Airlines Flight 93 if it threatened Washington."

Since that time, the Post reports, it has become known the government was not in as firm of control as claimed.

"In fact, the commission reported a year later, audiotapes from NORAD's Northeast headquarters and other evidence showed clearly that the military never had any of the hijacked airliners in its sights and at one point chased a phantom aircraft -- American Airlines Flight 11 -- long after it had crashed into the World Trade Center," said the paper.

The commission formally closed its investigation in August 2004.

FMI: www.9-11commission.gov

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