Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9 11 Commission by Thomas H. Kean

By Thomas H. Kean

The untold tale of the way the September 11 fee overcame partisanship and forms to provide its acclaimed report.From the start, the 9-11 fee came upon itself dealing with hindrances — the Bush management blocked its life for months, the 1st co-chairs resigned immediately, the finances used to be constrained, and a polarized Washington was once suspicious of its each request. but regardless of those lengthy odds, the fee produced a bestselling file unanimously hailed for its objectivity, besides a collection of strategies that ended in the main major reform of America’s nationwide safety enterprises in many years. this can be a riveting insider’s account of Washington at its worst — and its top.

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Even so, we were still negotiating for access to the supporting materials, which included transcripts of the Joint Inquiry’s twenty-two hearings, nine of which had been public and televised. The issue became a flash point within the commission on April 25, when Tim Roemer went to the Ford Building to review transcripts of closed Joint Inquiry hearings. Roemer, who had served as a member of the Joint Inquiry before being appointed to the 9/11 Commission, was denied access to the transcripts and was told that possible executive privilege questions relating to the transcripts were still being worked out between Adam Ciongoli and the Joint Inquiry.

In fact, the hearing—which was held in New York in part to facilitate family member attendance and testimony—may have caused us problems with the 9/11 families rather than engendering goodwill. There was anger and frustration over our stated approach to accountability, and our reluctance to haul government witnesses before us right off the bat to testify about their failures. After a month of lobbying Congress on behalf of our budget request, the families now shifted to prodding us to be more aggressive.

The question was how to achieve that access, and within the commission this question usually boiled down to whether or not to use our power of subpoena. The issue of the commission and subpoena power was controversial even before we came into existence. The 9/11 families fought hard for it, but they and some congressional Democrats were disappointed that the law required six votes within the commission to issue a subpoena, rather than five. Time and again, the families reminded us that they wanted to see lots of subpoenas.

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