The Family Steering Committee Statement and Questions Regarding the 9/11 Commission Interview with President George W. Bush. Statement and Questions 1-23 submitted February 16, 2004. Questions 24-39 submitted March 18, 2004
The Family Steering Committee believes that President Bush should provide sworn public testimony to the full ten-member panel of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States . Collectively, the Commissioners are responsible for fulfilling the Congressional mandate. Therefore, each Commissioner must have full access to the testimony of all individuals and the critical information that will enable informed decisions and recommendations.
Before an audience of the American people, the Commission must ask President Bush in sworn testimony, the following questions:
1. As Commander-in-Chief on the morning of 9/11, why didn’t you return immediately to Washington, D.C. or the National Military Command Center once you became aware that America was under attack? At specifically what time did you become aware that America was under attack? Who informed you of this fact?
2. On the morning of 9/11, who was in charge of our country while you were away from the National Military Command Center? Were you informed or consulted about all decisions made in your absence?
3. What defensive action did you personally order to protect our nation during the crisis on September 11th? What time were these orders given, and to whom? What orders were carried out? What was the result of such orders? Were any such orders not carried out?
4. In your opinion, why was our nation so utterly unprepared for an attack on our own soil?
5. U.S. Navy Captain Deborah Loewer, the Director of the White House Situation Room, informed you of the first airliner hitting Tower One of the World Trade Center before you entered the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Please explain the reason why you decided to continue with the scheduled classroom visit, fifteen minutes after learning the first hijacked airliner had hit the World Trade Center.
6. Is it normal procedure for the Director of the White House Situation Room to travel with you? If so, please cite any prior examples of when this occurred. If not normal procedure, please explain the circumstances that led to the Director of the White House Situation Room being asked to accompany you to Florida during the week of September 11th.
7. What plan of action caused you to remain seated after Andrew Card informed you that a second airliner had hit the second tower of the World Trade Center and America was clearly under attack? Approximately how long did you remain in the classroom after Card’s message?
8. At what time were you made aware that other planes were hijacked in addition to Flight 11 and Flight 175? Who notified you? What was your course of action as Commander-in-Chief of the United States?
9. Beginning with the transition period between the Clinton administration and your own, and ending on 9/11/01, specifically what information (either verbal or written) about terrorists, possible attacks and targets, did you receive from any source?
This would include briefings or communications from
• Out-going Clinton officials
• CIA, FBI, NSA, DoD and other intelligence agencies
• Foreign intelligence, governments, dignitaries or envoys
• National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
• Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar
10. Specifically, what did you learn from the August 6, 2001, PDB about the terrorist threat that was facing our nation? Did you request any follow-up action to take place? Did you request any further report be developed and/or prepared?
11. As Commander-in-Chief, from May 1, 2001 until September 11, 2001, did you receive any information from any intelligence agency official or agent that UBL was planning to attack this nation on its own soil using airplanes as weapons, targeting New York City landmarks during the week of September 11, 2001 or on the actual day of September 11, 2001?
12. What defensive measures did you take in response to pre-9/11 warnings from eleven nations about a terrorist attack, many of which cited an attack in the continental United States? Did you prepare any directives in response to these actions? If so, with what results?
13. As Commander-in-Chief from May 1, 2001 until September 11, 2001, did you or any agent of the United States government carry out any negotiations or talks with UBL, an agent of UBL, or al-Qaeda? During that same period, did you or any agent of the United States government carry out any negotiations or talks with any foreign government, its agents, or officials regarding UBL? If so, what resulted?
14. Your schedule for September 11, 2001 was in the public domain since September 7, 2001. The Emma E. Booker School is only five miles from the Bradenton Airport, so you, and therefore the children in the classroom, might have been a target for the terrorists on 9/11. What was the intention of the Secret Service in allowing you to remain in the Emma E. Booker Elementary School, even though they were aware America was under attack?
15. Please explain why you remained at the Sarasota, Florida, Elementary School for a press conference after you had finished listening to the children read, when as a terrorist target, your presence potentially jeopardized the lives of the children?
16. What was the purpose of the several stops of Air Force One on September 11th? Was Air Force One at any time during the day of September 11th a target of the terrorists? Was Air Force One’s code ever breached on September 11th?
17. Was there a reason for Air Force One lifting off without a military escort, even after ample time had elapsed to allow military jets to arrive?
18. What prompted your refusal to release the information regarding foreign sponsorship of the terrorists, as illustrated in the inaccessible 28 redacted pages in the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry Report? What actions have you personally taken since 9/11 to thwart foreign sponsorship of terrorism?
19. Who approved the flight of the bin Laden family out of the United States when all commercial flights were grounded, when there was time for only minimal questioning by the FBI, and especially, when two of those same individuals had links to WAMY, a charity suspected of funding terrorism? Why were bin Laden family members granted that special privilege—a privilege not available to American families whose loved ones were killed on 9/11?
20. Please explain why no one in any level of our government has yet been held accountable for the countless failures leading up to and on 9/11?
21. Please comment on the fact that UBL’s profile on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives poster does not include the 9/11 attacks. To your knowledge, when was the last time any agent of our government had contact with UBL? If prior to 9/11, specifically what was the date of that contact and what was the context of said meeting.
22. Do you continue to maintain that Saddam Hussein was linked to al Qaeda? What proof do you have of any connection between al-Qaeda and the Hussein regime?
23. Which individuals, governments, agencies, institutions, or groups may have benefited from the attacks of 9/11? Please state specifically how you think they have benefited.
24. After the first WTC building was struck, did you receive any information directly or indirectly from the Secret Service agents located in WTC 7?
• If so, what information did you receive?
• Did the Secret Service agents or anyone else accompanying you attempt to call the New York City Secret Service office for information?
• Did the Secret Service agents or anyone else accompanying you attempt to call the Washington Secret Service office?
• Who provided you information, directly or indirectly, and what exactly was that information?
25. Please describe the role and influence of the President’s Foreign Advisory Council in establishing the administration’s counterterrorism policies.
26. In Feb 28, 2001, you released your economic blueprint and stated "to improve INS' focus on service and to reduce the delays in INS processing of immigration applications, the administration proposes a universal 6-month standard for processing all immigration applications." Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, did you or anyone else implement this processing goal in any way? Were any directives, orders or policy guidelines given to INS personnel relating to this issue by anyone?
27. During the second presidential debate on Oct. 11, 2000, as a Presidential candidate you responded to a question about racial discrimination and said that " ...there is other forms of racial profiling that goes on in America. Arab Americans are racially profiled in what's called "secret evidence".
28. On Feb 28, 2001, you issued a memorandum on racial profiling to Attorney General Ashcroft, stating; "I hereby direct you to review the use by Federal law enforcement authorities of race as a factor in conducting stops, searches, and other investigative procedures."
To your knowledge, were directives or communications issued, through Attorney General Ashcroft or anyone else, to any federal agencies, or to any individuals or offices of any agencies, that concerned the racial profiling Arabs or Muslims? • Could prohibition of racial profiling have been a factor in the FBI Headquarters personnel continually and “inexplicably” throwing up “roadblocks” and even undermining the field agents’ “desperate efforts to obtain a FISA search warrant in the Moussaoui investigation.”
29. In the first few weeks of the Bush administration it has been reported that Andrew Card, Chief of Staff required that all regulations (passed down by the Clinton administration) that had not yet been issued had to be reviewed anew by an official appointed by the new administration, generally, the department secretary.
• Before adopting this blanket policy that delayed the implementation of regulations, did anyone in your administration have any concerns about delaying those that related to security issues, such as National Security or aircraft/airport security?
• Was any special course of action taken regarding these regulations?
30. In July, 2001, an executive order was issued which “blocks all property and interests in property of the Taliban and prohibits trade-related transactions by United States persons involving the territory of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban.”
Please discuss the American government’s role and position, either officially or unofficially in discussions/negotiations with the Taliban in 2001 and their timing and appropriateness with respect to the executive order of July 2, 2001 mentioned above. According to an article in Salon, 6-05-02:
“The Bush White House stepped up negotiations with the Taliban in 2001. When those talks stalled in July, a Bush administration representative threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the government did not go along with American demands.”
• Who else was involved in those discussions/negotiations?
• What was the outcome?
• What promises or threats were made?
31. Please discuss the National Security Presidential Directive presented for your approval on September 9, 2001, which outlined plans for attacking al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
"[Plans had been drawn up by the] Clinton administration to launch an attack on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Those plans were shelved when Bush took office, but were revived and accelerated in August 2001, following the breakdown of the pipeline negotiations. By the beginning of September 2001, the war plans had been approved by the Pentagon. On September 9 a National Security Presidential Directive outlining plans for an attack the following month, was presented to President Bush for approval."
• Who else was involved in those discussions/negotiations?
• What was the outcome?
• What promises or threats were made?
32. Please explain your 14 month opposition to the creation of an independent commission to investigate 9/11 and your request to Senator Daschle to quash such an investigation.
33. Please explain the reasoning which prompted the Executive Order governing the release of Presidential Records, including those of previous administrations, which could conceivably include historically important documents pertinent to the September 11th investigation. http://www.house.gov/reform/min/pdfs/pdf_inves/pdf_admin_records_let.pdf
34. When did you first become aware of “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”( RAD) proposed by the New American Century’s (PNAC)? Who introduced it to you?
35. After September 11th, you seemed to have fully embraced the RAD plan. Please comment on these observations:
"Bush has virtually used, word for word, the written statements by PNAC members when he speaks publicly about Iraq crisis”
“Already we are seeing evidence of PNAC influence on U.S. policy. For instance, the concept of "Homeland Defense" comes straight from "RAD." Iran, Iraq and North Korea, nations that George Bush calls the "Axis of Evil", are listed together in "RAD" several times as possible military threats to the U.S. There is a suggestion that military spending be increased to 3.8 percent of the GDP, exactly the amount (over and above present expenses for the Iraqi campaign) Bush has proposed for next year's budget. Its basic statement of policy bespeaks and advocates the very essence of the idea of preemptive engagement… Bush's National Security Strategy of September 20, 2002, adopted PNAC ideas and emphasized a broadened definition of preemption… There is even assertion of the necessity of American political leadership overriding that of the U.N. (p. 11), a policy that was sadly played out when the U.S. invaded Iraq without the approval of either the U.N. or the international community.” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3249.htm
36. On February 29, 2004, the Seattle Times ran this headline “U.S. changes tactics, adds forces in hunt for bin Laden” and went on to say, “President Bush has approved a plan to intensify the effort to capture or kill Osama bin Laden…” Please explain why there has not been a consistently intense push since September 11th to capture or kill bin Laden.
37. Why was author, Bob Woodward, author of Bush at War permitted access to confidential PDBs while the Joint Inquiry, and subsequently, the Commission, was not?
38. Please explain why the White House has not demanded that the 19 recommendations made by the Joint Inquiry either be fully enacted or discussed via hearings?
39. What type of federal rescue measures are in place in the event of an attack on our nation, in terms of personnel and equipment?
NOTE: We're still waiting for answers.