Many people have written on the 9/11 Commission’s budgetary constraints. See this.
Want to Know has a great new summary of the Commission’s scandalously inadequate budget:
The 9/11 commission was originally allotted only $3 million. Eventually, after much begging and haggling, the commission was given $15 million. Yet a CNN article lists the cost of the Lewinsky investigation at $30 million. A Los Angeles Times article states the cost of the Columbia space shuttle disaster investigation was $175 million.
How could 9/11 – the greatest disaster in American history – be given such a small budget for investigation?
Remember, the Commissioners stated that government did everything it could to cover up and obstruct their investigation:
- The Commission’s co-chairs said that the CIA (and likely the White House) “obstructed our investigation”
- Indeed, they said that the 9/11 Commissioners knew that military officials misrepresented the facts to the Commission, and the Commission considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements (free subscription required)
- 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey said that “There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version . . . We didn’t have access . . . .”
- 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer said “We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting”
- 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: “It is a national scandal”; “This investigation is now compromised”; and “One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up”
- The Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) – who led the 9/11 staff’s inquiry – said “At some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened”. He also said “I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described …. The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years…. This is not spin. This is not true.”
Given such a lack of cooperation, $15 million wasn’t enough to even start getting to the bottom of what happened. $15 million didn’t pay for much other than some press releases and the costs of printing reports. It certainly wasn’t enough to pay for real investigation or legal struggles to discover information which the government was stonewalling.
Indeed, well after the Commission issued its final report, Commissioner Bob Kerrey said it might take “a permanent 9/11 Commission” to end the remaining mysteries of September 11.
Afterword: In response to a commenter who wrote “But everybody already knew it was the terrorists”, I responded:
Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that the government knew before starting the investigation that terrorists did it by flying planes into buildings, how come they weren’t stopped before hand, and why didn’t the military stop them in the air, pursuant to standard operating procedures? Wouldn’t that have been gross negligence?
Even investigating who screwed up would cost a lot more than $15 million.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Source: George Washington’s Blog