Friday, June 10, 2005

NYT: "Report Details F.B.I.'s Failure on 2 Hijackers" (Eric Lichtblau)

The F.B.I. missed at least five chances in the months before Sept. 11, 2001, to find two hijackers as they prepared for the attacks and settled in San Diego, the Justice Department inspector general said in a report made public on Thursday after being kept secret for a year. Investigators were stymied by bureaucratic obstacles, communication breakdowns and a lack of urgency, the report said.
The blistering findings mirror those of the independent Sept. 11 commission last summer and a joint Congressional inquiry in 2002 but they also provide significant new details about the many bureaucratic breakdowns that plagued the Federal Bureau of Investigation before the attacks and are likely to fuel questions about the bureau's efforts to remake itself. The Sept. 11 commission had access to an earlier version of the inspector general's study and incorporated parts of those findings in its final report.
[. . .]
Kristen Breitweiser, a leader of a Sept. 11 survivors' group whose husband died in the attacks, called the report "a long time coming."
She said it was "wholly unacceptable that more than three years after 9/11, the F.B.I. still doesn't have a useable computer system, and we're still dealing with the same problems we were before. How much ineptitude are we going to tolerate?"

The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Report Details F.B.I.'s Failure on 2 Hijackers" in this morning's New York Times. It's the single entry spotlight for this morning. Chuck Hagel, senator from Nebraska, is quoted in the story which I mention because so is Breitweiser. Breitweiser, obviously, is nationally known. But Lichtblau included a citizen (Breitweiser) who was effected directly by the events along with the Times' usual "official sources" so I'll give him credit for that. Lichtblau's focus is prior to September 11th which does allow him to justify overlooking the remarks of Sibel Edmonds but at what point will the Times offer a story on failures in the translation department of the FBI that pieces together pre-Sept. 11th and post Sept. 11th failures? Again, Lichtblau's story is structered and worded in such a way that Edmonds doesn't have to be included. (I obviously feel her statements, public record, should have been.) But where's the big, brave piece in the paper that attempts to pull it all together?

Regardless, Lichtblau's story is worth reading and worthy of a single entry. (I'm about to fall over right now, if you can't follow my comments, it's not you, it's me. Within the framework Licthblau creates, it's a strong article.)

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