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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

The Kean Commission

The Official Commission Avoids the Core Issues

In the fall of 2002, the "National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States" was established, partly in response to pressure from families of victims of the 9/11/01 attack. Originally, President Bush appointed Henry Kissinger, famous for his role in cover-ups and widely considered a war criminal, as chairman of the Commission. However, Kissinger soon stepped down in order to avoid answering questions about potential conflicts of interest, which would have required him to disclose secret clients. Kissinger was replaced by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, and Lee H. Hamilton was selected as the vice chair. Thereafter the body became commonly known as the "Kean Commission" or the "9/11 Commission". 1   2  

Senator Max Cleland, who initially served on the Commission, was the only outspoken member. He compared the Kean Commission to the Warren Commission:

The Warren Commission blew it. I'm not going to be part of that. I'm not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I'm not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I'm not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that. 3  

In November of 2003, President Bush appointed Cleland to a position on the board of the Export-Import Bank, prompting him to step down from the Commission. 4   He was replaced by probable war criminal Bob Kerrey. As of May, 2004, the Commission consisted of the following members:

Thomas Kean (chair) director of oil giant Amerada Hess. business ties to Saudis Khalid bin Mahfouz. co-chairman of Homeland Security Project. CFR member.
Lee H. Hamilton (vice chair) member of Homeland Security Advisory Council. former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Select Intelligence Committee. chair of committee investigating Iran/Contra. CFR member.
Richard Ben-Veniste partner in the Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw law firm which represented Westfield Corporation and Westfield America -- insurance beneficiaries of the court-ordered multi-billion dollar payout for the World Trade Center destruction. 5  
Bob Kerrey vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Intelligence. Kerrey said in a 1999 Washington Post column that the Vietnam war (which killed over 2 million civilians) was a "just war."
Fred F. Fielding worked for John Dean as White House counsel to Nixon -- "Deep Throat" of Watergate fame, avoided prison time.
Jamie S. Gorelick current and former partner, along with Commission General Counsel Daniel Marcus, of Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering, a law firm representing Prince Mohammed al Faisal against the August 2002 lawsuit by victims' families against several Saudi princes and banks, and the Sudanese government. vice-chair of mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Former deputy to Janet Reno. CFR member.
Slade Gorton served two years on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
John F. Lehman former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan. disgraced in a number of scandals, including Tailhook.
Timothy J. Roemer member of the House Intelligence Committee.
James R. Thompson chairman of the large Chicago-based law firm Winston and Strawn, whose clients have included American Airlines, Boeing, and a number of WTC tenants.
Philip Zelikow member of George W. Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; member of Bush-Cheney transition team.

This "9-11 Commissioner Group Photo" from the Commission's website does not include Philip Zelikow, who shaped the work of the Commission and the final Report.

Philip Zelikow: Calling the Shots

Chairs Kean and Hamilton served as the public face of the Commission. Their conflicts of interest should be concern enough, but the real work of the Commission was in the hands of Philip Zelikow, a fact documented by David Ray Griffin, in his book devoted to exposing biases, omissions, and distortions in the Commission: The 9/11 Commission Report; Omissions and Distortions.

Griffin enumerates some of Zelikow's many connections to the Bush White House:

  • Member of the National Security Council of the Bush I administration
  • Aid to National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft under Bush I
  • Co-Author of book with Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor for Bush II
  • Director of Aspen Strategy Group, to which Rice, Scowcroft, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz belonged
  • Member of Clinton to Bush II transition team
  • Member of Bush II's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, until being appointed to 9/11 Commission

Because of the determinative role of Philip Zelikow in the Commission's work, Griffin dubbed the Commission's final report the "Kean-Zelikow Report."

The Final Report

On July 22, 2004, the Commission published its final report, the 9/11 Commission Report, of which we provide a local mirror to remedy deficiencies in the format of the report published on the Commission's website. The Commission closed on August 21, 2004.

The "Omission Commission"

The 9/11 Commission has earned the designation of the "Omission Commission" due to its refusal to even consider the vast body of evidence contradicting the official narrative of the attack. For example, the Commission decided not to hear from any of the fire fighters who witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center. 7   (The body of oral history testimony from the FDNY and EMS personnel remained suppressed until after the Commission had closed the doors.) The agenda of the Commission to rubber-stamp the official story, evident in the conduct of its hearings, became crystal-clear with the publication of its final report. Our critique of the Report shows that it has some outright lies and contradictions, but its principal method for avoiding troublesome facts is through omission. In essence the Commission performs the magician's sleight of hand -- diverting attention from the many red flags in the official story by weaving a detailed narrative about the alleged hijackers, terror networks, and breakdowns in systems that were supposed to deal with the threat.

Relying On and Sponsoring Torture

An NBC News analysis publicized in early 2008 reported that the Commission Report was heavily based on interrogations that used "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding -- widely recognized as forms of torture. 8   The conclusions of the analysis included:

  • Information derived from the interrogations was "central to the Report’s most critical chapters."
  • A second round of interrogations in early 2004 was performed specifically to answer Commission questions, at the request of Commission officials.
  • At least four subjects whose interrogation was relied on by the Commission have claimed that they provided "critical information" as a way to stop their torture.
  • 441 of the more than 1,700 footnotes in the Report refer to the CIA interrogations.
  • The second round of interrogations prompted by the Commission involved more than 30 separate interrogation sessions.


1. Unanswered Questions, pbs.org/now, 3/26/04 [cached]
2. Thomas Kean named to 9/11 panel, 12/16/2002 [cached]
3. The 9/11 Truth Movement: Widows Lead Growing Effort To Expose What The Government Knew, 2/19/04 [cached]
4. Bush Bribes Max Cleland To Shut Up?, scoop.co.nz, [cached]
5. Richard Ben-Veniste, Partner, mayerbrownrowe.com, [cached]
6. The 9/11 Commission Report; Omissions and Distortions, Olive Branch Press,
7. Fire Fighters excluded from 9/11 testimony, WorkdayMinnesota.org, 5/23/04 [cached]
8. 9/11 Commission controversy, msnbc.com, 1/20/08 [cached]

page last modified: 2008-02-03