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After the Destruction
On July 22, 2004 the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, otherwise known as the 9/11 Commission issued its final report. The nonpartisan commission which was created after a public demand by family members of the victims of the attack report provided a vivid account of the event of 9/11 as well as the many government failures made it possible. The committee called for a complete overhauling of the US intelligence agency. The report itself became an instant bestseller in bookstores despite the fact that it was available to be read for free, on-line.
9/11 Commission Report
The 9/11 Commission Report, formally named Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It was prepared by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (informally sometimes known as the "9/11 Commission" or the "Kean/Hamilton Commission") at the request of United States president George W. Bush and Congress, and is available to the public for sale or free download.
The commission was established on November 27, 2002 (442 days after the attack) and their final report was issued on July 22, 2004. The report was originally scheduled for release on May 27, 2004, but a compromise agreed to by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert allowed a sixty-day extension through July 26.
The September 11 attacks were precipitated in large part because Osama bin Laden, the leader of the militant Islamic organization al-Qaeda, held naive beliefs about the United States in the run-up to the attacks. Abu Walid al-Masri, an Egyptian who was a bin Laden associate in Afghanistan in the 1980s and ’90s, explained that, in the years prior to the attacks, bin Laden became increasingly convinced that America was weak. “He believed that the United States was much weaker than some of those around him thought,” Masri remembered, and “as evidence he referred to what happened to the United States in Beirut when the bombing of the Marines base led them to flee from Lebanon,” referring to the destruction of the marine barracks there in 1983 (see 1983 Beirut barracks bombings), which killed 241 American servicemen. Bin Laden believed that the United States was a “paper tiger,” a belief shaped not just by America’s departure from Lebanon following the marine barracks bombing but also by the withdrawal of American forces from Somalia in 1993, following the deaths of 18 U.S. servicemen in Mogadishu, and the American pullout from Vietnam in the 1970s.
The key operational planner of the September 11 attacks was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (often referred to simply as “KSM” in the later 9/11 Commission Report and in the media), who had spent his youth in Kuwait. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed became active in the Muslim Brotherhood, which he joined at age 16, and then he went to the United States to attend college, receiving a degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1986. Afterward he traveled to Pakistan and then Afghanistan to wage jihad against the Soviet Union, which had launched an invasion against Afghanistan in 1979.
According to Yosri Fouda, a journalist at the Arabic-language cable television channel Al Jazeera who interviewed him in 2002, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned to blow up some dozen American planes in Asia during the mid-1990s, a plot (known as “ Bojinka”) that failed, “but the dream of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed never faded. And I think by putting his hand in the hands of bin Laden, he realized that now he stood a chance of bringing about his long awaited dream.”
In 1996 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed met bin Laden in Tora Bora, Afghanistan. The 9-11 Commission (formally the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States), set up in 2002 by Pres. George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress to investigate the attacks of 2001, explained that it was then that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “presented a proposal for an operation that would involve training pilots who would crash planes into buildings in the United States.” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed dreamed up the tactical innovation of using hijacked planes to attack the United States, al-Qaeda provided the personnel, money, and logistical support to execute the operation, and bin Laden wove the attacks on New York and Washington into a larger strategic framework of attacking the “far enemy”—the United States—in order to bring about regime change across the Middle East.
The September 11 plot demonstrated that al-Qaeda was an organization of global reach. The plot played out across the globe with planning meetings in Malaysia, operatives taking flight lessons in the United States, coordination by plot leaders based in Hamburg, Germany, money transfers from Dubai, and recruitment of suicide operatives from countries around the Middle East—all activities that were ultimately overseen by al-Qaeda’s leaders in Afghanistan.
Key parts of the September 11 plot took shape in Hamburg. Four of the key pilots and planners in the “Hamburg cell” who would take operational control of the September 11 attacks, including the lead hijacker Mohammed Atta, had a chance meeting on a train in Germany in 1999 with an Islamist militant who struck up a conversation with them about fighting jihad in the Russian republic of Chechnya. The militant put the Hamburg cell in touch with an al-Qaeda operative living in Germany who explained that it was difficult to get to Chechnya at that time because many travelers were being detained in Georgia. He recommended they go to Afghanistan instead.
Although Afghanistan was critical to the rise of al-Qaeda, it was the experience that some of the plotters acquired in the West that made them simultaneously more zealous and better equipped to carry out the attacks. Three of the four plotters who would pilot the hijacked planes on September 11 and one of the key planners, Ramzi Binalshibh, became more radical while living in Hamburg. Some combination of perceived or real discrimination, alienation, and homesickness seems to have turned them all in a more militant direction. Increasingly cutting themselves off from the outside world, they gradually radicalized each other, and eventually the friends decided to wage battle in bin Laden’s global jihad, setting off for Afghanistan in 1999 in search of al-Qaeda.
Atta and the other members of the Hamburg group arrived in Afghanistan in 1999 right at the moment that the September 11 plot was beginning to take shape. Bin Laden and his military commander Muhammad Atef realized that Atta and his fellow Western-educated jihadists were far better suited to lead the attacks on Washington and New York than the men they had already recruited, leading bin Laden to appoint Atta to head the operation.
The hijackers, most of whom were from Saudi Arabia, established themselves in the United States, many well in advance of the attacks. They traveled in small groups, and some of them received commercial flight training.
Throughout his stay in the United States, Atta kept Binalshibh updated on the plot’s progress via e-mail. To cloak his activities, Atta wrote the messages as if he were writing to his girlfriend “Jenny,” using innocuous code to inform Binalshibh that they were almost complete in their training and readiness for the attacks. Atta wrote in one message, “The first semester commences in three weeks…Nineteen certificates for private education and four exams.” The referenced 19 “certificates” were code that identified the 19 al-Qaeda hijackers, while the four “exams” identified the targets of the attacks.
In the early morning of August 29, 2001, Atta called Binalshibh and said he had a riddle that he was trying to solve: “Two sticks, a dash and a cake with a stick down—what is it?” After considering the question, Binalshibh realized that Atta was telling him that the attacks would occur in two weeks—the two sticks being the number 11 and the cake with a stick down a 9. Putting it together, it meant that the attacks would occur on 11-9, or 11 September (in most countries the day precedes the month in numeric dates, but in the United States the month precedes the day hence, it was 9-11 in the United States). On September 5 Binalshibh left Germany for Pakistan. Once there he sent a messenger to Afghanistan to inform bin Laden about both the day of the attack and its scope.
Michael Ray McCoy - 4/22/2008
A few important facts - that cannot be disputed - in support of the justification for a genuine 911 investigation:
The White House deleted 28 pages of the Congressional investigative report, prior to the formation of the 911 Commission, before it's release. Why?
Bush and cronies vigorously fought the formation of the 911 Investigative Commission for 14 months. Why?
Bush agreed to meet with the Commission only behind closed doors - with Cheney at his side - neither is sworn under oath and no transcript or notes were allowed. Why?
NORAD and Pentagon officials changed their story about their failures materially three times and perjury charges were considered but stopped. Why?
FAA chief Norman Mineta's testimony that sharply contradicted Cheney's crucially important account of the events during the attacks on 911 was omitted from the report. Why?
Sibel Edmund's 3 1/2 hour testimony about the FBI's deliberate supression of key evidence and covering it up is omitted from the report. Why?
The widely used claim that no one could anticipate hijacked airliner being used as missles, by Bush, Rumsfeld and Rice, (under oath), is patently absurd as a matter of record. Ignored by the Commission. Why?
Highly unusual activity in the WTC Towers months and weeks before the attacks was unaddressed by the Commission. Why?
Each tower was struck by a commercial airliner precisely at a large, highly secure and crutial computer center, both with recent, extensive repairs and upgrades. Unaddressed by the Commission. Why?
Marvin Bush, the presiden't brother and principle in the company providing security to the WTC Complex, Dulles International Airport and United Airlines and is unmentioned in the report. Why?
Numerous puddles of once molten steel are found throughout the remains of the towers and WTC7, as a result of unexplained, intense and sustained temperatures far exceeding those possible by jet fuel in the towers. Unaddressed by Commission. Why?
Three of five of the so-called "dancing Israelis", (having set up video equipment to cature the 911 WTC attacks before the event), admitted in a foreign television interview that they they were sent to document the attacks, yet is unaddressed by the Commission. Why?
Philip Zelikow, the Commission's director, has repeated phone conversations with Karl Rove and other White House officials during the investigation. Why?
Number of documents requested by the 911 Commission from the White House: 11,000. Actually received, (many of which were redacted and partially blacked out): 2,766. Why?
Two of the future hijackers settle into the San Diego area in September of 2000, and are aided by numerous Arab men on the Saudi Government's payroll, in addition to being tied to a Saudi diplomat in Los Angeles, working out of the consulate. Vigorously investigated and documented by the 911 Commission yet completely omitted in the final report. Why?
Bush's family has long established ties with Saudi Arabia, where 15 of 19 alleged hijackers are from, yet is ignored by the Commission. Why?
$100,000 was wired to allleged lead suicide hijacker Mohamed Atta from Saeed Sheikh, an agent for Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), under the direction of the head of ISI General Mahmud Ahmed. Ignored by the 911 Commission. Why?
General Mahmoud Ahmad was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committee at the moment that WTC 1 was struck on 911. Ignored by the Commission. Why?
The 911 Commission's conclusion that "..the financing of the 911 suicide hijack operation is ultimately of little consequence. " Why?
Dick Cheney calls Tom Daschle during the 911 Commission investigation, (then) the Democratic Majority Leader in the Senate, suggesting that the Democratic party would pay a real price if it attempted to air some of the pre-9/11 intelligence issues in public. Why?
The claim that Flight 77 flew almost for 40 minutes and over 300 miles through American airspace towards Washington without being detected by the military's radar - unaddressed by the 911 Commission. Why?
Only one of the multiple war drills being conducted on 911, the critical, central factor affecting the failure to respond, is mentioned in a single footnote in the report. Why?
The suddenly missing and publicized 2.3 trillion dollars that the Pentagon couldn't account for on September 10, 2001 - forgotten, undiscussed, a non factor, post 911. Why?
The federal government has sealed all public access to any debris and physical evidence collected at the Pentagon, even disallowing the NTSB and FAA from access. Why?
One government video tape and two civilian video tapes showing the Pentagon impact are immediately confiscated - and remain classified. Why?
The Pentagon's sophisticated missle defense system did not respond on 911. Why?
Prior removal of Richard Clark, the chief anti-terrorism expert under four presidents, from the president's inner circle before 911 is unmentioned by the Commission. Why?
Unprecedented and repeated warnings from at least eleven foreign intelligence agencies, warning of unprecedented attacks on US soil, including Russia, Egypt, Germany and Syria. Ignored by the Commission. Why?
Cheney was given complete command and control of all US air defenses four months prior to the attacks - an unprecedented deligation of presidental authority. In Bush's absence, acting Commander in Chief Dick Cheney was directing the response to the 911 attacks by the FAA and NORAD. Why?
The Oct 10 scheduled military war games were moved up to Sept 10, 2001. By whom? Why? Never addressed by the Commission. Why?
An FAA manager deliberately destroyed, (and scattered), the records of the false radar blips and other details that were ostensibly part of the war drills on the morning of 911 - he was never interviewed nor mentioned by the 911 Commission. Why?
Pasquale D’Amuro, the FBI’s counterterrorism chief in New York City on 9/11, is promoted to the bureau’s top counterterrorism post after 911. Why?
Commanding Generals at the helm of the failed response to the 911 attacks are promptly promoted. Why?
The FBI's halting of investigations into at least two of the future suicide pilot's training at flight schools - by the same FBI supervisor - he received a promotion soon afterwards. Why?
Not one of the alledged hijacker's names appears on any of the flight's passenger lists - yet the FBI assembled and presented a detailed list, including photographs, of all 19 suicide hijackers, including their alleged association with bin Laden, within days. At least 5 of these alleged hijackers come forward to protest their innocence. Not addressed by the Commission. Why?
The central factor, the sine qua non of the crime is why. That element of the mass murder was unaddressed by the Commission. Why?
Zany questions from a delusional conspiracy nut? I'd welcome any cogent, convincing, fact based response to support that.
Each of these central points and aspects of the 911 attacks - and so called investigation - gives pause to any sensible person seeking the truth. Taken in tandem, a stunning sequence of miraculous coincidences accompanied equally stunning, unexplained, ignored and supressed ineptitude throughout the top US political structure and military air defenses, namely, command and control.
The fix was in from the start with the 911 Commission. Attempting to sidestep or deny it would be supporting a position of remarkable banality.
Meanwhile, the American myth remains safe.
Don Williams - 6/30/2005
1) True patriotism consists of loyalty to this land and to its people -- not necessarily loyalty to institutions, the government, or an administration. The 911 Commission forgot this.
On Sept 11, debris from the second plane had not hit the streets of New York before a massive propaganda campaign began --kicked off by James Baker down in Houston. To this day, the American people are being deceived re WHY the attack occurred-- the acts of the US government in the Islamic world , done on behalf of business and political interests, which provoked the attack and bought enormous disaster upon the USA.
The point is not to excuse Bin Ladin or Al Qaeda -- they are enemies who have to be dealt with. But this country is being manipulated into a long, bloody,unnecessary and hugely expensive war with 1 billion Muslims by deceitful, greedy men who are traitors to this country. Because they put their agendas ahead of the national interest in spite of the harm it brings upon us.
2) In 1998, Bin Ladin gave several interviews to US TV networks in which he gave THREE reasons why Muslims should go to war against the US : (a) US support of Israel's killing/persecution of Palestinians (b) Tens? of thousands of Iraqi deaths in the 1990s because of US embargo ( US had bombed Iraqi water supplies in Desert Storm and then blocked import of water purification chemicals --resulting in epidemics from drinking polluted water ) (c) US military occupation of Saudi Arabia.
(Note: The last item has been misrepresented in the US News media as a religious taboo. The facts are that the US government has given major military support to the Saudi dictatorship for decades so that US oil companies could get steal the Arabs birthright --and the Saudi people's only hope for a future --in exchange for kickbacks to the small royal family. The Al Qaeda bombing attack in Saudi Arabia last year hit a US defense contractor (subsidary of Northrup) which has supplied mercenaries for 30 years to train the Saudi "National Guard" -- more accurately described as the Saudi Gestapo.
The US corporate-owned news media reported the bombing of the Vinnell Inc housing compound in Riyadh
last May ( see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3022473.stm ) but did not report that Vinnell has long supplied mercenary services to the Royal household by training the "Saudi National Guard" See http://www.vinnell.com/ArabiaRecruiting/recruiting.htm and http://worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/updates/051303.html )
3) Bin Ladin's 1998 remarks are a matter of record -- but the lying whores in the US news media completely forgot them in the course of their propaganda campaign after Sept 11.
In November 2001, Bin Ladin stated in an interview --published in a Pakistani paper -- that the Sept 11 attack was a response to US sales of advanced weapons to Israel.
Bush sold Sharon 53 F16s fighters in June 2001, a few months prior to Sept 11.
Tragicomic Tale of the 9/11 Report
Journalists like to talk about the back story, the story behind the story. The back story can be nothing more than vaguely sourced gossip traded among pundits and politicos before they go on talk shows. But sometimes the back story is the real, whole truth, a tale of conniving or official blundering that the headlines can only hint at. Journalists often conceal the whole truth because they need to protect their sources.
Philip Shenon, a reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times, set out to get behind the scenes of the 9/11 Commission. The inside story of a government commission doesn’t sound very promising most commission reports wind up unread on dusty shelves.
When the 9/11 Commission announced its findings in the summer of 2004, the response was by and large respectful. Reprinted as a book, “The 9/11 Commission Report” was an instant best seller, unusual for a document written by committee. But its popularity was owed mostly to a spare, riveting narrative of the shocking events on Sept. 11, 2001, not to its policy recommendations or revelations about official malfeasance. So why go over it all again?
Mr. Shenon is a skillful writer and storyteller as well as a dogged reporter. In “The Commission” he makes bureaucratic warfare exciting, largely because he has a keen grasp of human frailty and folly. He opens with a desperate, almost pathetic scene of Samuel R. Berger, President Bill Clinton’s national security adviser, sneaking documents out of the National Archives.
Mr. Berger had actually been more attentive to the threat of Al Qaeda than most government officials, including his successors in the Bush administration, but he apparently feared that he and his boss would become scapegoats. “Beneath his gruff amiability,” Mr. Shenon writes of Mr. Berger, “there was deep insecurity that, even he admitted, bordered on paranoia.”
In a memorable scene Mr. Shenon depicts the widows of 9/11 victims, a group that called itself the Jersey Girls, meeting Henry A. Kissinger, President Bush’s choice to be chairman of the 9/11 Commission, in the posh offices of Mr. Kissinger’s international consulting firm in New York. When one of the Jersey Girls asks Mr. Kissinger if he has any clients named bin Laden, Mr. Kissinger spills his coffee and nearly falls off his sofa. “It’s my bad eye,” Mr. Kissinger explains, as the women rush to clean up the mess “like good suburban moms,” Mr. Shenon says one widow recalls. The next morning Mr. Kissinger telephoned the White House to resign from the commission.
The black hat of Mr. Shenon’s story is the commission’s executive director, Philip Zelikow. Brilliant but abrasive and secretive, he is regarded by some commission staff members as a White House mole, compromised by his close ties to Condoleezza Rice, then President Bush’s national security adviser. The book’s portrait of Mr. Zelikow is harsh, but Mr. Shenon seems to have reached out to Mr. Zelikow to get both sides of the story. (Mr. Zelikow scoffs at charges of conflict and conspiracy made by Mr. Shenon’s sources.)
The official ineptitude uncovered by the commission is shocking. Dubbed “Kinda-Lies-a-Lot” by the Jersey Girls, Ms. Rice comes across as almost clueless about the terrorist threat. “Whatever her job title, Rice seemed uninterested in actually advising the president,” Mr. Shenon writes. “Instead, she wanted to be his closest confidante specifically on foreign policy and to simply translate his words into action.”
The C.I.A. has some inkling that Osama bin Laden is stirring to strike the United States, but for many crucial months fails to tell the F.B.I. that two terrorists (who later turned out to be 9/11 hijackers) are actually in the United States. The popular image of the C.I.A. as dashing and all-knowing is for the movies only. After much dickering with the White House, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, the mild-mannered patrician who succeeded Mr. Kissinger as commission chairman, is allowed to read pre-9/11 copies of the President’s Daily Brief, the C.I.A.’s digest of its most important secrets. “He found himself terrified by what he was reading, really terrified,” Mr. Shenon writes. “There was almost nothing in them.”
Of the briefings, Mr. Kean said, “They were garbage,” adding, “There really was nothing there nothing, nothing.”
The C.I.A. director George J. Tenet is depicted as evasive and exhausted, both from chasing Al Qaeda and trying too hard to please everyone he worked with. The F.B.I. bumbling verges on the tragicomic. Haunted by missed chances to stop the 9/11 hijackers, the F.B.I.’s acting director, Thomas J. Pickard, keeps a list of the bureau’s numerous mistakes. At least Mr. Pickard was bothered by his agency’s ineptitude.
Attorney General John Ashcroft appears more interested in protecting gun owners from government intrusion than in stopping terrorism, and dismissively tells Mr. Pickard that he doesn’t want to hear any more about threats of attacks.
Not wanting to point fingers and name names and set off partisan wrangling among the commissioners the 9/11 Commission shied away from holding anyone personally accountable. The commission ended up blaming structural flaws for the government’s failure to protect the nation and recommended appointing a national intelligence director to ride herd.
The nation now has such a director, but with weaker authority than what the commission proposed, and the position may turn out to be no more than another layer of bureaucracy. Ultimately, as Mr. Shenon shows, the failure at the highest levels of the United States government was human. That is the real back story of 9/11.
Report [ edit | edit source ]
The cover of the final 9/11 report, which can be purchased in bookstores across the United States and around the world
The commission issued its final report on July 22, 2004. After releasing the report, Commission Chair Thomas Kean declared that both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were "not well served" by the FBI and CIA. ⎚] The commission interviewed over 1,200 people in 10 countries and reviewed over two and a half million pages of documents, including some closely guarded classified national security documents. Before it was released by the commission, the final public report was screened [ by whom? ] for any potentially classified information and edited as necessary.
Additionally, the commission has released several supplemental reports on the terrorists' financing, travel, and other matters.
Ten years later: Handling 9/11 Commission recordsA worker stands at Ground Zero, October 3, 2001, in New York City. (Photo by Paul Morse, George W. Bush Presidential Library ARC 5997364)
This post is part of a series on September 11. As the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives holds many documents related to the events of September 11. In this series, our staff share some of their memories of the day and their thoughts on the records that are part of their holdings.
Today’s blogger is Kristen Wilhelm, an archivist in the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, DC.
People are always telling me where they were on September 11, 2001. It’s an occupational hazard of mentioning that I work at the National Archives and process the records of the 9/11 Commission. I’ve stopped mentioning that last part. I think that’s best. Nothing says “stay away from the dame at the dessert table!” like mention of a national tragedy. Except for the people who are convinced it didn’t happen. Those I attract like bees to honey.
For those of you I haven’t scared away (don’t feel awkward, I’m used to it), I’ll share a little of my experience with these records. It’s time for it, I suppose, with the 10th anniversary almost here. Anyone who knows me knows I’m what my grandmother always called “a smart aleck.” To the chagrin of my officemates, I clung to that wise-guy demeanor like a lifeline while working with these records because it was the only way I could cope. I knew it wasn’t appropriate, but if I did what was appropriate to events of that day, I would have spent the last seven years curled in a ball in the corner of my cubicle weeping.
Before the 9/11 Commission opened its doors, I knew my office would be getting the records when it finished its business. What I did not expect was how working with those records over the ensuing years would define my career and change me personally.
As an archivist in the Center for Legislative Archives, which has custody of records of the legislative branch, I have screened records of the Kennedy assassination, the Jonestown massacre, POW/MIAs in Vietnam, Jimmy Hoffa and the mob, and other gruesome events. While not pleasant to read, those stories took their place in my brain as historical events of interest to our researchers. The things I read about in the 9/11 Commission records, however, seeped into my consciousness in a way those other records never did. It will be years before some of these records will be released to the public, but they are seared into my memory for the images of heroism, despair, tragedy, and profound loss that they evoke.
My job is to screen the unclassified 9/11 Commission records. That means being on the team that reads every page and decides whether it can be released to the public or still contains sensitive information that requires continued protection. I admit some of the records are dull. Let’s face it, Federal policy-making can be a real yawner. Don’t misunderstand me: the dull stuff is incredibly important. The story of September 11, 2001, is very complex, with many layers and tangents and threads that lead all over the place. What you see on television are usually the emotional stories that draw viewers in. Would border control policy or 15-year-old airline regulations keep you from switching to ESPN? I didn’t think so. And I’m not complaining. So many of these records carry such an emotional wallop that I found myself looking forward to the regulations just to keep my head on straight.
Boarding pass for Ziad Jarrah.
I remember paging through photocopies of the boarding passes from Flight 93. I turned a page and saw hijacker Ziad Jarrah’s name. It felt like getting punched in the stomach. I imagined the line of travelers waiting to walk down the jetway, having no idea that four of their fellow passengers were going to kill them in a few minutes. We all know that annoying guy in the line talking too loudly or grumbling about the score of last night’s game as it flashes on the terminal television. It was probably just as mundane that morning for the travelers in that waiting area. As I sat in my work space, everything in me wanted to shout to those people to walk away and not board the plane. “Go home to your loved ones and hug them or you’ll never be able to ever again,” my mind screamed.
Looking back on past events is what all archivists do every day. It was never more frustrating to be unable to change that history than it was when I was processing these records. For months I dreamed of chasing hijackers or running from flames or trying to keep bad guys out of my office vault. I will probably read about the events of September 11, 2001, nearly every day for the rest of my career. The emotional toll of that may wear on me, but I know that it cannot compare to a single second of the anguish that victims and their loved ones suffered that morning and every day since. I feel those souls over my shoulder every time I work with these records. Their sacrifices suffuse the access decisions I make, both what to release and what to protect. I could leave this job tomorrow, but I’ll carry them with me forever. Preserving these records, and ensuring the stories that have so touched me will enlighten others for as long as there is a National Archives, is the only means I have to honor them. It is a privilege to work with this collection.
History of 911: America’s Emergency Service, Before and After Kitty Genovese
On a cold winter night, March 13, 1964, at around 2:40 in the morning, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was attacked with a knife just a block from her apartment and died in her stairwell. Genovese’s murder was a tragedy for her family and friends, but in the weeks and months, even decades following, her death turned out to have a life of its own.
The furor started with the initial report from The New York Times , which stated that police records showed 38 people admitted to hearing her cries for help, but not a single witness called to report the incident. The Times called out this lack of empathy. That narrative stuck as other papers and media outlets ran with the story, including Life Magazine , and nearly a dozen books have been published about Genovese’s death. Social scientists hold it up as a model of human apathy. And James Solomon’s film The Witness dives into the whole tragic tale with new aplomb and perspective.
After more than 50 years of detailed analysis by every medium possible, it’s easy to think that there is nothing left to say about how and why Genovese died. But as The Witness poignantly reveals, there is much more to uncover about her story. As the viewer learns of the horrific details of Genovese’s death — and some surprising new information — one positive outcome from this tragic crime is revealed: The case is considered to be one of the driving forces for the 911 emergency call system that the United States has used for nearly the past 50 years.
A news report heard in The Witness mentions that her murder led to the adoption of the 911 system, a nd Kevin Cook, the author of Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Changed America, also echoed that theory on the syndicated news program Inside Edition .
He said one neighborhood man remembers his dad calling the cops on that fateful night, which the documentary also confirms: ‘‘‘There’s a woman staggering around out there! She has been beaten up! You need to come!’ There was no answer to that call,” Cook said. “In those days, there was no 911 system. That’s something that came out of the Kitty Genovese case.”
While the history is a little more complex than that, it’s true that the tragedy was one of the inspirations for the system we know today.
The Genesis of 911
Up until the late 1960s, there was no centralized number for people to call in case of an emergency. If someone needed to contact the police or fire department, they called the nearest station. Another option was to dial ” to reach a telephone operator and then be connected.
The Industry Council on Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT) traces the system’s beginnings back to communication company Ericsson. In the early 1900s, they developed a portable phone complete with a hand crank that could be attached to telephone wires.
“Utilizing an extension wand, two metal hooks were placed over the wires to form a connection and the handbox was cranked to create a signal that would hopefully be answered by someone on the line,” according to a report on the history of 911 published by iCERT. They claim it was successfully used to report a train robbery in 1907.
The National Emergency Number Association (NEMA) said calls for a national emergency number started in 1957. That’s when the National Association of Fire Chiefs thought that a single number would make it easier for people to report fires.
But it would take another 10 years — about three years after Kitty Genovese was killed — before the U.S. would take steps to create the 911 system. President Lyndon Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice issued a report recommending that citizens have the ability to contact police departments utilizing a single telephone number.
(image via Flickr Commons/cathyjonest)
By 1968, AT&T — which at the time operated nearly all telephone connections in the U.S. — established a 911 line. Why that number? They wanted a number that was short, easy to remember, and unique, and 911 had never been used as an area code or service code before. This was also back when rotary dial telephones were still the primary type of phone so the shorter the number the better.
On February 16, 1968, the first call was made out of Haleyville, Alabama, where they are indeed very proud of this fact, and hey why not. One of the people attending the first 911 call in Haleyville was Alabama Public Service Commission director Eugene “Bull” Connor (formerly the Birmingham police chief involved in federal desegregation of the city’s schools).
The initial plan for 911 was organized so that state public utility agencies had control, even though it was a national system. This would allow responses to such calls to be answered at a local level, which makes sense. If people notice a fire in their neighborhood they want the closest station to respond.
“Local control over 911 allows emergency communication as well as emergency response to be customized in ways that best suit the needs of the community being served,” according to the iCERT report.
As more people got used to the idea of using the single number, it became clear that dispatchers could benefit from automation. Rather than have callers provide their name and location, the system was adapted so that information was automatically transmitted to the dispatcher.
For years the system worked well.
The Rise of Cellphones
But when cellular phone use started to rise, 911 ran into trouble. Cellphones presented an entirely new set of transmission parameters compared to landlines. In short, the 911 system wasn’t built to communicate with mobile phones in the same way it talked to landlines.
In 2015, USA Today published a report that found most 911 systems throughout the U.S. had dismal location detections capabilities when cell phones were used.
“In an era when your mobile phone can tell Facebook, Uber or even video games where you’re located – with amazing accuracy – 911 operators are often left in the dark,” the report stated.
In California, more than half of cell phone calls didn’t transmit locations to 911 from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, alone 12.4 million, or 63%, of California’s cell phone calls to 911 didn’t share location. That same year in Colorado, close to 40 percent of the 5.8 million cellphone-to-911 calls didn’t transmit coordinates (via the Colorado 911 Resource Center).
In the Virginia suburbs outside of Washington D.C., Fairfax County reported 25 percent of cellphone calls included precise location data, while Loudoun County said only 29 percent of cell calls did transmit their location over the last six months of 2014.
“It is now easier than ever for victims to reach 911, but harder than ever for responders to reach them,” David Shoar, the sheriff in St. John’s County, Fla, wrote to the FCC when he was president of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
The top of a cell tower (via Wikimedia Commons)
A 911 called made on a cell phone is transmitted through the nearest cell phone tower. Depending on your specific location, this tower could be in another town altogether, which means so could the dispatcher who picks up the call.
Using a computer the dispatcher must ask the network to find your location, and the tower is supposed to transmit back the information. But as the USA Today reported, more often than not, the location isn’t sent back to the dispatcher.
The move to make cell phone calls more 911 friendly and automatically transmit location gained traction 1990s. The FCC set a deadline for “two-thirds of all cellphone calls to be transmitted to 9-1-1 dispatchers by 2002,” according to that same report.
But as more Americans started to jump on the cell bandwagon — today 70 percent of all 911 calls are made from a cell phone — the deadline was pushed back again and again.
“By 2002, the shortcomings of the legacy 911 system were too significant to ignore,” according to the iCERT report. Then U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, brought together telecommunications researchers, and public safety and transportation representatives, to devise a solution.
That eventually produced the NextGen 911 System Initiative that enables “the general public to access 911 services through virtually any communications device” and provide a “more direct ability to request help or share critical data with emergency services providers from any location.”
This process involves a series of complicated technological and infrastructure upgrades as well as buy-in from wireless carriers, government agencies, and state and local authorities, not to mention a cacophony of telecommunication regulatory questions that are still being sorted out.
And then there’s the cost to fund it all.
Despite the numerous hurdles, rules crafted by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and by wireless carriers call for delivery of location data for 40 percent of cellphone calls by 2017 and 80 percent by 2021.
Whether that transpires remains to be seen, as John Oliver so eloquently pointed out when he gave the 911 system the once-over on his HBO show Last Week Tonight , in May 2016:
911 Cell Tips
In the interim, the FCC created a list of tips for people to remember when calling 911 on their cell phones, which include:
▪ Tell the emergency operator the location of the emergency right away.
▪ Provide the emergency operator with your wireless phone number, so if the call gets disconnected, the emergency operator can call you back.
▪ Refrain from programming your phone to automatically dial 911 when one button, su ch as the ” key, is pressed.
▪ If your wireless phone came pre-programmed with the auto-dial 911 feature already turned on, turn this feature off (consult your user manual for instructions).
▪ Consider creating a contact in your wireless phone’s memory with the name “ICE” (In Case of Emergency), which lists the phone numbers of people you want to have notified in an emergency.
Final Food for Thought
How would things have been different if Kitty had a cell phone? Would she have received help if 911 existed in its present-day form in 1964? Even if it did exist, would people have been more likely to call after hearing her screams for help? The emergency phone system has changed since then but has our pattern of apathy changed along with it? We leave these questions for you to ponder.
Where the 9-11 Commission Went Wrong
Almost three years after the attacks on September 11, 2001, the 9/11 Commission Report (The Report) has finally provided the nation with both a comprehensive account of the attacks and some new insights on security recommendations. No doubt about it: the Commission and its staff obviously did their homework on the September 11th attacks and the Islamic jihadists behind it. And there is a bonus: it reads almost like a well-written novel rather than the final report from a high-level government commission.
The quality and depth of the Report certainly reinforces our own take from the discussions we had with several of the Commission members during the past year. This was a deeply dedicated group, devoted to finding explanations for the September 11th attacks and to identifying security recommendations that could make a real difference in the future. As with the results of the various Pearl Harbor Commissions during WWII, The Report is not the proverbial whitewash job or simple finger-pointing exercise that many feared. And, as The Report so accurately demonstrates, there's certainly more than enough blame to fill both sides of the aisle.
Taken on its own terms, The Report does make a great deal of sense and it is generally insightful. And yet, given what seems to be a broad national movement aimed at simply adopting The Report's recommendations whole cloth, we believe that there needs to be a few words about its limitations and shortcomings. It is important to keep in mind, however, that our observations on The Report's shortcomings are directed less at the content of The Report than at Congress' mandate in forming the Commission. There is no question that the Commission fulfilled the mission it received. But the mandate itself was arguably a weak foundation for the recommendations that the Commission recognized as being required to prevent future acts of terrorism against the US.
The Report focuses primarily on "what went wrong" prior to September 11th -- the so-called failures in intelligence, communications, and domestic security operations. Rather than concentrating on identifying and explaining the broader long-term goals of the now worldwide Islamic jihadist movement, the on-going shifts in the Islamists' immediate objectives, and their tactical and strategic options in the future, the bulk of Commission's work is best seen as the rough equivalent of the process of judicial discovery -- gathering and analyzing the concrete evidence about the attacks on September 11th. Who was directly involved in the actions? What were their relationships to one another and to their leadership? How did they obtain information about the targets? Who provided the financing for their training and for the action itself? What were the gaps in security that allowed for the detailed planning required for the execution of the attacks?
As useful as it may be in the courtroom, however, the discovery process is limited both in scope and (more importantly) with respect to the types of issues that it is designed to address. Even where there is sufficient information to answer all those very pointed questions about who, when, how, and so on, the discovery process is about ensuring that the information stays (with all due apologies for the metaphor) "on target," that the focus is on the events that occurred and not, say, on events that could have occurred, or on tactical options, or on hypothetical conditional speculations about the jihadists support network within the US. In effect, the use of the discovery process allowed the Commission to concentrate on "one case alone" and, therefore, to assume that future terrorist actions could be best be understood and anticipated solely by reference to the lessons from the attacks on September 11th. Unfortunately, as our "failure of imagination" prior to September 11th illustrates, policies and procedures based solely on prior circumstances (e.g., the pre-September 11th procedures for responding to airliner hijackings and the post-1993 improvements to access control for the World Trade Center buildings) are often inapplicable in novel situations.
As we see it, the model for The Report was to provide an account of a specific "battle" using analyses of the (understandably very partial) information "discovered" in the process of determining the accountability for and the causes of the actions on September 11th: the motivations, recruitment, training, and logistical and financial support of the nineteen "actors" al Qaeda's pre-September 11th structure, organization, and modus operandi the status of our intelligence concerning the "actors," their support network, and al Qaeda prior to September 11th and the structure and operation of the then current crisis management procedures in New York and Washington, DC. But, as they say, one battle does not make a war and The Report does not offer much in the way of a clear presentation of what the September 11th attacks mean in terms of the longer campaign: an explication of al Qaeda's goals, strategy, and tactics together with a parallel assessment of the goals, strategy, and tactics of U.S. counter-terrorism and homeland security operations.
In the final analysis, the Commission's work on identifying and explaining the causes for the events of September 11th and its efforts at tracing the specific motivations and backgrounds of the attackers may help to set the framework for the on-going litigation related to the losses resulting from the attacks. Unfortunately, it is less likely to provide the basis for improving either the intelligence required to anticipate future actions or the methods needed to guide effective future investments in the nation's security.
Paradoxically, the solidly America-centric focus of The Report resulted in what we see as its second major shortcoming. Faced with the prospect of coming to terms with the actions of the dedicated Islamist groups now operating throughout the world -- of reading and interpreting testimony and documents in Arabic, Pashto, Farsi, Urdu, and all the rest of the linguistic soup that makes up Muslim society (the "Ummah"), of distinguishing among crime, terrorism, and war, of coming to terms with the outcomes of "red team" exercises -- the membership of the Commission appears to have been primarily drawn to ensure domestic political balance (and to provide a more than liberal dose of attorneys). Taken together with the Congressional mandate, the Commission's role and methods thus seem to have been predetermined by its makeup. Admittedly, employing this kind of "forced deck method" has become rather common in assembling the membership of government commissions but, as the argument goes, the required "technical expertise" was supposed to be provided by the Commission's staff.
From its mandate and membership it is not surprising, therefore, that both the hearings and The Report focused on the US -- American culture, American institutions, American lives -- and concluded that America and Americans are the focus of al Qaeda's actions. One almost gets the feeling, from the testimony presented as well as The Report itself, that al Qaeda's objectives in its actions on September 11th were simply "to kill Americans indiscriminately and in large numbers," "to undermine America's freedoms," and "to demonstrate that a small number of 'true believers' could bring about an all-pervasive fear in all-powerful America." The Report, in fact, lacks any sense that al Qaeda has objectives beyond attacking America and the West. Nothing could be further from the truth and nothing could be more misleading as a guide to the future security of the nation. And therein lies the second major shortcoming of The Report: killing and displays of power are almost always a means to an end and the ends (the goals), in the case of what is now a worldwide movement, are directly related to the Islamists' vision of the future of Islam.
In the past, we have written about al Qaeda and fundamentalist Islam and have tried to place the history of the jihadist attacks of the past decade or so -- including the ones on September 11th --within the framework of the Islamist goals, namely a reorganized and purified Islam. (Note that this goal is promoted not only by al Qaeda, but also by a wide range of groups and actors that are only loosely affiliated with -- and in no sense controlled by -- the leadership of al Qaeda.) In the absence of a perspective that speaks directly to goals of al Qaeda and the variety of Islamist groups throughout the world, The Report ultimately offers insight only into one event and, thereby, sidesteps our critical need to understand the global jihadist forces that are the real targets of any proposed reorganization of US security resources.
Al Qaeda, in short, was not established solely to create terror. Rather, as the various fatwahs and communiques demonstrate, al Qaeda was created to save Islam from the West and to open the way for a political and religious restructuring -- and purification -- of Islam. The language of al Qaeda has been consistent and clear on at least one point (at least to the extent that the translations have been on the mark): the apostate "puppet regimes" of dar al Islam must be eliminated and replaced with a unified pan- Islamic society that follows in all respects the word of the Prophet. In effect, the goal of al Qaeda is to re-create Islam, to fashion Islamic society in terms of what they see as the will of God, not simply to cause the destruction of the enemy. Al Qaeda is at war with the West -- and with the U.S. in particular -- and its goal is the defeat of the West in order to allow dar al Islam to re-emerge, purified and powerful.
For all its clarity and insight with respect to the causes of the attacks on September 11th, The Report is thus never really clear about why al Qaeda is at war. The Commission's discussion of war (for example, in Chapter 10) is, in fact, very brief and America-centric in that speaks only to the problems of the use of a US military, designed as it was for the Cold War, in the context of the War on Terror. The result is that The Report's picture of al Qaeda's struggle with the West is a picture distorted by assuming that al Qaeda's tactics are its objectives and, therefore, that US security should be designed to focus on the prospects for thwarting only very specific types of attacks.
The America-centric interpretation of al Qaeda's goals -- seeing American deaths and the destruction of American icons as the jidadists objectives -- may not have been of much of a limitation in the Commission's determination of the causes of the September 11th attacks, but this perspective could easily turn out to be a critical problem if it is used as the sole basis for security recommendations in the future. Implementing extensive security measures to protect what we, as Americans, see as our national treasures -- Washington, D.C.'s myriad monuments and government buildings, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and so on-may give us comfort, but that comfort could come at the expense of neglecting targets that are far more critical to al Qaeda (for example, the on-going operations of such critical areas of the US economy as the transportation, communications, financial services, and manufacturing sectors). Resources are always limited and misperceptions of al Qaeda's past and future goals, its strategy, and its tactics may thus prove to be disastrous. After all, the security recommendations implemented in the aftermath of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center that focused on garage and building access controls were not particularly effective in preventing the attacks on the same facilities in 2001. And while the Commission did recognize this problem when they wrote of a general "failure of imagination," with the germ of a misinterpretation of al Qaeda's goals embedded in both the content and recommendations of The Report, we believe that a reconsideration of the recommendations will be needed lest the "failure of imagination" turn into a "crisis of imagination" and a "weakness of conviction" turn into an "absence of conviction."
As we have noted, aside from its genuinely important observations about the causes of the September 11th attacks, we believe that The Report's overall recommendations are based on weak assumptions about the import of this one case and the predictive value of the analysis methods the Commission employed. Judicial discovery standards and America-centric interpretations of al Qaeda's goals, strategy, and tactics are simply not likely to yield great insights when evaluating the effectiveness of future US intelligence and homeland security strategies and tactics in the War on Terror. (Note that even the phrase "war on terror" is, itself, an oxymoron if nothing else, it is a good indicator of the nation's misperception of the very identity of the enemy.) The Report's assumptions about the generally fixed character of American government is, if anything, even weaker -- but the results of this error can be far more pervasive and, therefore, lead to potentially far more damaging longer-term consequences.
Government, in our society, is the basis for the legal system it regulates and sets standards for virtually every aspect of American life -- especially the economy and, most importantly, it is the mechanism through which the people exercise their mandate as citizens. Government, moreover, is, in reality, multiple governments -- federal, state, county, and municipal governments all more-or-less coordinated through the auspices of the federal government. And even more significantly, in a war in which the "front" can be anywhere and everywhere, government is the means for organizing and coordinating public and private sector efforts at every level and location.
Even a quick scan of the changes instituted in and by the federal government during World Wars I and II -- not to say the Civil War -- indicate that, in the past, questions about the effectiveness of the "business as usual/government as usual" model were taken very seriously. Each of these past crises led to significant changes in both government and private sector operations --particularly with respect to government-private sector cooperation. Some of the changes were modest others were more fundamental. (It is fascinating, for example, to read that, in many circles, Honest Abe was referred to as "King Lincoln, the man who destroyed our constitutional republic." And many of us, now advanced in years, can still vividly recall the endless criticisms of F.D.R. by the America First crowd.) On the whole, during these past crises American principles of government and governance were changed judiciously -- but they were changed and changed in ways that were determined first and foremost by what was important in meeting the demands of the crisis.
In a sense, The Report does advance two approaches that, in terms of current government operations, might be regarded as just this side of revolutionary. First, the Commission suggested (in about the strongest terms imaginable) a reversal of the twenty-five year old Congressional trend toward more committees, subcommittees, and a dilution of authority with respect to intelligence oversight by proposing a return to a single, unified Joint Intelligence Committee. Second, the Commission proposed a means to rectify perhaps the most glaring defect in the National Security Act of 1947, whereby the Director of Central Intelligence assumes full responsibility for coordinating intelligence, but lacks the authority over budgets and personnel - arguably, the only criteria that matter in 21st century Washington. The new post proposed by the Commission -- a National Intelligence Director -- is thus probably what was intended in the1947 legislation, but subsequently derailed by DoD and the other agencies that imagined that they would lose control over resources.
Viewed from the perspective of the nation's needs in the War on Terror, however, the Commission's approach to reform appears to us to be locked into proposing what may turn out to be only minor variations on the "government as usual" approach. In fact, The Report not only takes today's governmental structure as pretty much a given, it neglects to provide a new role for what is perhaps the one really critical -- and novel -- feature of today's counter- terrorism and homeland security pictures: the private sector. Most (if not all) of the operation of the US economy (and even much of government) is not under direct federal control and, in lieu of a strategy aimed at destroying the various government icons, al Qaeda and the other related jihadists groups have spoken repeatedly of the importance of targeting these "joints of the American economy" - the private sector operations that are the real heart of America and the American way of life. As valuable as the Commission's "revolutionary" recommendations may be with respect to changes in federal policies and practices, they simply fall short of providing the needed guidelines for parallel changes in either the private sector or in public-private sector relations. The Commission's proposals for an integrated approach to intelligence are clearly warranted -- and would undoubtedly have been an improvement even during the Cold War in the War on Terror - as in the wars of the past - it is likely that far more attention to public and private sector cooperation - and, probably, integration -- will also be required.
The three areas of concern with The Report that we have outlined are, we believe, examples of more than simple omissions in the Congressional mandate that motivated the Commission's work. As we see it, they are indicators of several bedrock problems that directly affect America's current efforts to make intelligent, well-informed decisions about future investments in the nation's security. The Report provides a vital first step in the process of developing the foundations for security in a world where terrorism is fast becoming the preferred method of battle. We believe that the nation must now expand the Commission's mandate into a continuing analysis and evaluation process that is designed to improve our understanding of the Islamic jihadists' goals, strategies, and tactics as well as the types of goals, strategies, and tactics that the US will require for its security in the future. Broader scope and vision are one important result of The Report and the Commission's excellent work. It is now up to the US, as a nation, to insure that this first step is not the last step. Otherwise, we may simply be tempted to "paste new labels on old bottles" and return to government and business as usual -- at least until after the next attack.
 According to Public Law 107-306, Title VI, 602, "The purposes of the Commission are to -
(1) examine and report upon the facts and causes relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, occurring at the World Trade Center in New York, New York, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon in Virginia
(2) ascertain, evaluate, and report on the evidence developed by all relevant governmental agencies regarding the facts and circumstances surrounding the attacks
(3) build upon the investigations of other entities, and avoid unnecessary duplication, by reviewing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of --
(A) the Joint Inquiry of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives regarding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, (hereinafter in this title referred to as the "Joint Inquiry") and
(B) other executive branch, congressional, or independent commission investigations into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, other terrorist attacks, and terrorism generally
(4) make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the attacks, and the extent of the United States' preparedness for, and immediate response to, the attacks and
(5) investigate and report to the President and Congress on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures that can be taken to prevent acts of terrorism."
 Public Law 107-306, Title VI, 603(b)(3) states that "It is the sense of Congress that individuals appointed to the Commission should be prominent United States citizens, with national recognition and significant depth of experience in such professions as governmental service, law enforcement, the armed services, law, public administration, intelligence gathering, commerce (including aviation matters), and foreign affairs."
Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations
The United States has made significant progress in securing the nation from terrorism since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Nevertheless, work remains as the terrorist threats facing the country have evolved in the last ten years, and continue to change.
Following 9/11, the federal government moved quickly to develop a security framework to protect our country from large-scale attacks directed from abroad, while enhancing federal, state, and local capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from threats and disasters at home. A key element of this framework included the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in March, 2003, bringing together 22 separate agencies and offices into a single, Cabinet-level department.
Created with the founding principle of protecting the American people from terrorist and other threats, DHS and its many partners across the federal government, public and private sectors, and communities throughout the country have strengthened the homeland security enterprise to better mitigate and defend against dynamic threats.
Many of the features of this new, more robust enterprise align with – and respond to – recommendations contained in the 9/11 Commission Report, released in July 2004 to assess the circumstances surrounding 9/11 and to identify ways to guard against future terrorist attacks. Read the September 11 Chronology.
Thanks for posting my Community Writer's opinion piece from the Oregonian on-line about the US press failures on the Sibel Edmonds story.
I was contacted by an Oregonian editor to check out the six comments I got to it. I cannot access the comments and you can't even get the entire article anymore. Someone seems to be unhappy with the exposure. I told the editor about it and asked their IT people to look into it.
I was pleasantly surprised when the editor told me that they are going to publish the article in the Sunday Oregonian Opinion section. The Oregonian is a Newhouse paper and not GE or Disney etc. I think they have a bit more independence. The Oregonian does have some Pulitzer Prize winners on staff. Who knows, maybe one of them will do something with it. Think positive.