Former CIA honcho calls the 9-11 Commission "disastrous"
By Peter Duveen
PETER'S NEW YORK, April 21, 2008--The 9-11 Commission completed
its report in 2004, but not everybody was on board with the results.
Not least among its critics is Michael Scheuer, former head of the U.S.
Central Intelligence Agency's bin Laden unit, who is now a news
commentator and author.
"Of course, the 9-11 Commission was a disastrous thing for America," Scheuer said in a recent televised appearance. Scheuer was interviewing another author, Steve Coll, whose book, The Bin Ladens, on the wealthy Saudi family, was released April 1.
The interview, part of a series of programs called After Words and
televised on the cable news network C-SPAN, dredged through both men's
experience in dealing with and covering the bin Laden family. Scheuer
headed up the CIA's bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999.
During an exchange of views, Scheuer remarked that he was astounded by
how much access the family had to the White House over the
years. "I think it's a very interesting comment on the power of money,"
Scheuer said. "For Americans, it's got to be a very disturbing story."
Responding, Coll appeared to be in agreement. "The corruption flowed in
both directions," he said in describing the relationship between the
United States and the family.
Scheuer did not elaborate on his view of the 9-11 Commission beyond his
one-sentence remark, which was first broadcast on April 4 on C-SPAN and
again today. However, it is not the first time he has made statements
critical of the commission. In a letter to the Weekly Standard in 2005, Scheuer said his reasons for resigning his post at the CIA was "in
order to publicly damn the feckless 9/11 Commission, which failed to
find any personal failure or negligence among Intelligence Community
leaders even though dozens of serving officers provided the
commissioners with clear documentary evidence of that failure."
Scheuer's grounds for disagreement with the commission do not, however,
completely dovetail with other critics who contend that the
commission's report was a thinly disguised cover up of government
involvement in 9-11.
Scheuer is the author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror.
Both he and Coll both have ties to the Council on Foreign Relations,
Scheuer having given an address there, while Coll is president of the
New America Foundation, little more than a reshuffling of a portion of
the Council membership plus a smattering of corporate and establishment
hangers-on. The Council on Foreign Relations is a well-funded think
tank that strives to set the agenda for discussion in the foreign
policy arena. A Wall Street Journal writer once referred to the organization as "the citadel of the foreign policy elite," while New York
magazine called it the "Park Avenue State Department." Membership is
drawn from those belonging to the current and former U.S.
administrations, along with leaders in academia, media, politics and
the corporate world.
Although the Saudi Arabia-based bin Laden family is known primarily for
its business interests, perhaps the most famous member of its clan,
Osama bin Laden, has been generally described by the American
government as the moving force behind the events of September 11, 2001.
On that day, four American commercial airliners were hijacked, two of
them landing into each of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in
New York City, a third allegedly crashing into the Pentagon, and a
fourth into a field in Pennsylvania. In the days that followed, the
government quickly formulated a theory that a band of 19 men from the
Middle East carried out the attacks. Three years later, the
congressionally mandated 9-11 Commission issued the results of its
investigation, which supported the government's explanation. Some of
the commission's critics, however, contended that the government itself
may have been involved in planning and carrying out the attacks to
further a preordained foreign policy agenda, a viewpoint the report
does not discuss at length. In recent years, scores of high-profile
professionals, including former government officials, have called
for a new 9-11 investigation.
BACK TO HOME PAGE