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Without Precedent: The inside Story of the 9/11 Commissionby Thomas H. Kean
Synopses & Reviews
In the words of the commission’s co-chairmen, this is the compelling inside story of how the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States—more commonly known as the 9/11 Commission—managed to succeed against all odds in producing a report that made clear what went wrong and why.
The mandate of the 9/11 Commission was daunting and all-encompassing. In its investigation of the events leading up to and including September 11, 2001, the commission had to examine U.S. diplomacy, military policy, intelligence agencies, law enforcement, border and aviation security, and congressional oversight, as well as the immediate response to the terrorist attacks, while also investigating the lethal enemy al Qaeda.
The creation of the 9/11 Commission was blocked for months by the Bush administration, and after its inception in December 2002 the commission spent months mired in a series of controversies—the resignation of its first chairman, Henry Kissinger, and vice-chairman, George Mitchell; an inadequate budget; an extraordinarily polarized atmosphere leading up to the 2004 presidential election; the conflicting demands of various interest groups; the distrust of the victims’ families; difficulties in obtaining access to highly classified documents and to al Qaeda detainees; and a media eager to record stumbles and gaffes. The obstacles were great, and the expectations for a blue-ribbon panel are never high—yet somehow the 9/11 Commission overcame everything that might have thwarted it and succeeded beyond anyone’s greatest expectation, holding a series of hearings that riveted the nation, producing a unanimous and widely heralded report that became a national best seller, and issuing recommendations that led to the most significant reform of America’s national security agencies in decades.
The 9/11 Commission report slaked the national thirst for accountability. Here for the first time is the story of how the commission came together to produce its landmark document.
The chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission describe the committee's work in investigating the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
The untold story of how the 9/11 Commission overcame partisanship and bureaucracy to produce its acclaimed report.
From the beginning, the 9/11 Commission found itself facing obstacles — the Bush administration blocked its existence for months, the first co-chairs resigned right away, the budget was limited, and a polarized Washington was suspicious of its every request. Yet despite these long odds, the Commission produced a bestselling report unanimously hailed for its objectivity, along with a set of recommendations that led to the most significant reform of America’s national security agencies in decades. This is a riveting insider’s account of Washington at its worst — and its best.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Thomas H. Kean was governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990, and from 1990 until 2005 he was the president of Drew University. He has served on numerous national committees and commissions, and has worked tirelessly for over a quarter century on behalf of environmental and educational organizations. He lives in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Lee H. Hamilton is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He was a congressman representing Indiana’s Ninth District from 1965 to 1999, during which time he was chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and chair of the Joint Economic Committee. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Table of Contents
Kean: September 11, 2001 — Hamilton: September 11, 2001 — Set up to fail: approaching an impossible task — A start-up: setting up on a shoestring — Cooperate or confront? : what to ask for and how to get it — Finding the facts: negotiations, subpoenas, and more negotiations — Getting the story: from field officers to cabinet offices, distant lands to detainees — Finding a voice: public hearings and time pressure — The perfect storm: a book, a charge, and an apology — A remarkable day: Condoleeza Rice in public, Bill Clinton in private — Becoming a target: the Commission comes together — The trauma of New York: treading delicately in a wounded city — The enemy: Al Quaeda, the 9/11 plot, and the question of Iraq — The story in the sky: conspiracy theories and correcting a record — Many voices: drafting a report, debating recommendations — Unanimous: rolling out a report — Looking back to look forward — The report card — 9/11 Commission timeline.
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