FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Were the 9/11 Tapes Destroyed?

 

Many Americans are content with the 9/11 Commission Report, but the two chairmen of the commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton are not. Neither was commission member Max Cleland, a US Senator who resigned from the 9/11 Commission, telling the Boston Globe (November 13, 2003): “This investigation is now compromised.” Even former FBI director Louis Freeh wrote in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 17, 2005) that there are inaccuracies in the commission’s report and “questions that need answers.”

Both Kean and Hamilton have twice stated publicly, once in their 2006 book, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, and again in the January 2, 2008, New York Times, that there are inaccuracies in their report and unanswered–or mis-answered–questions.

On the second day of this new year, Kean and Hamilton accused the CIA of obstructing their investigation: “What we do know is that government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the President, to investigate one of the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.”

In their book, Kean and Hamilton wrote that they were unable to obtain “access to star witnesses in custody who were the only possible source for inside information about the 9/11 plot.”

The only information the commission was permitted to have about what was learned from interrogations of alleged plot ringleaders, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, came from “thirdhand” sources. The commission was not permitted to question the alleged plotters in custody or even to meet with those who interrogated the alleged plotters. Consequently, write Kean and Hamilton, “We had no way of evaluating the credibility of detainee information” that was fed to them by third party hands. “How could we tell if someone such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was telling us the truth?”

The fact that video tapes of the interrogations existed was kept secret from the 9/11 Commission.

The video tapes have since been destroyed. The destruction of the videos has become an issue because of White House involvement in the decision to destroy the tapes and because the videos are believed to have been destroyed because they reveal methods of torture that the Bush administration denies using.

According to President Bush, the US does not practice torture even though he and his Department of Justice (sic) assert the right to torture.

Is the torture issue a red herring? The 9/11 Commission was not tasked with investigating interrogation methods or detainee treatment. The commission was tasked with investigating al Qaeda’s participation in the 9/11 attack and determining the perpetrators of the terrorist event. There was no reason to withhold from the commission video evidence of confessions implicating al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Was the video evidence withheld from the 9/11 Commission because the alleged participants in the plot did not confess, did not implicate al Qaeda, and did not implicate bin Laden?

There is no reason for the Bush administration to fear the torture issue. The Justice Department’s memos have legalized the practice, and Congress has passed legislation, signed by President Bush, giving retroactive protection to US interrogators who tortured detainees. The Military Commissions Act passed in September 2006 and signed by Bush in October 2006 strips detainees of protections provided by the Geneva Conventions: “No alien unlawful enemy combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights.” Other provisions of the act strip detainees of speedy trials and of protection against torture and self-incrimination. The law has a provision that retroactively protects torturers against prosecution for war crimes.

Did the Bush administration cleverly take advantage of the torture claims in order to spin the destruction of the CIA video tapes as a “torture story.” It is conceivable that the tapes were destroyed because they reveal the absence of confession to the plot. As Kean and Hamilton ask, without evidence how do we know the truth?

All we have is the word of the administration that told us Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that, while sitting on a NIE report that concluded that Iran had terminated its weapons program in 2003, told us that Iran had an ongoing nuclear weapons program and was close to having a nuclear weapon.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail