Ashcroft, FBI Face Questions On Pre-9/11 Probes


The commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks shifts its focus to the FBI this week to ask why 70 field investigations mentioned in an August 2001 memo to President Bush did not uncover the plot. USA Today notes that the previously classified President’s Daily Brief puts in print what had only been hinted at before: that the FBI was aware of suspicious activities “consistent with preparations for hijackings.”

Republican commissioner Slade Gorton said yesterday on Fox News Sunday that “the FBI has more questions to answer than” anyone who has testified before the panel. He said former president Bill Clinton told the panel he was frustrated at “how limited the White House is in dealing with the FBI.”

Democratic commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste vowed similar treatment for Attorney General John Ashcroft and the former and current heads of the FBI. “We’re going to look at how the Justice Department prioritized counterterrorism,” he said on the same program.


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