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9/11 Investigation Commission: Systemetic Failure To Protect The Attack - 2004-03-25


The co-chairmen of the commission investigating the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States have spoken to reporters at the end of two days of public testimony from current and former U.S. officials.

Former Governor Thomas Keane began his statement to the media this way: "We've learned of systematic failure. There was poor communication between law enforcement and intelligence, and there was poor communication within the FBI."

Former Congressman Lee Hamilton says the Departments of State and Defense in the Clinton and current Bush administrations took "many actions" to address terrorism.

However, he says it's clear the focus was not where it should have been: "We're also left with the impression that the national security priorities of both administrations were to a large extent focused elsewhere."

Both commissioners repeated their request that President Bush's national security advisor Condoleeza Rice agree to testify publicly, something she has so far declined to do.

Mr. Keane says he does not believe partisan politics will prevent the commission, which is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, from writing its final report which is expected in July.

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