9/11 Widows Want Rice/Tenet Documents Released
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Wednesday 25 October 2006
A handful of 9/11 widows have started an online petition in hopes of
gathering the public's support to force the White House to declassify
documents related to a July 10, 2001, meeting between Condoleezza Rice
and former CIA director George Tenet in which the two discussed a
pending attack on US soil by al-Qaeda. Details of the meeting were first
disclosed a month ago in the book State of Denial by Washington Post
assistant managing editor and author Bob Woodward.
In a letter posted at
Patty Casazza, Monica Gabrielle, Mindy Kleinberg, and Lorie Van Auken
said that details of the meeting have been confirmed by the State
Department and the White House warrants declassification of documents
related to the meeting. The widows take issue with Woodward's exclusive
access to officials' knowledgeable about the Rice/Tenet meeting and the
possibility that he may have been privy to classified documents and
transcripts in order to craft a narrative for his book.
"If Bob Woodward can have access to this information, why can't we, as
American citizens and victims' family members?" Van Auken wrote in an
email to Truthout, adding that the families of the thousands of people
who perished on 9/11 are entitled to know what Bush administration
officials knew prior to the 9/11 attacks and when they knew it. "Given
that much of the July 10, 2001, meeting has already been made public ...
it is unacceptable to continue to keep these documents and transcripts
hidden from the American public's view."
The widows, in their online petition addressed to the media and members
of Congress, renewed their call for the declassification of the redacted
28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Into the Terrorist Attacks of September
11, 2001, and the CIA Inspector General's Report, "CIA Accountability
With Respect to the 9/11 Attacks."
The disastrous nature of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
warrants the release of all of this information so that the American
public may learn what its government did or did not do to protect them,"
states the letter to Congress and the media. "Had this nation been
properly warned of the looming and imminent terrorist threat,
life-saving choices could have been made that day."
Remarkably, the 9/11 Commission said it was briefed about the Rice/
Tenet meeting during the panel's inquiry into the terrorist attacks a
couple of years ago, but for reasons still unknown the commission did
not include this important detail in its final report to Congress.
Woodward, who has a knack for gaining exclusive access to high-level
political officials and classified documents, wrote in his book that on
July 10, 2001, Tenet briefed Rice about a looming attack against the US
by al-Qaeda - which according to Woodward was the first known instance
that an administration official was provided with specific details about
the terrorist organization's intentions. Woodward wrote that Rice did
not take Tenet's July briefing seriously when Tenet and Cofer Black,
then the CIA's chief of counterterrorism, met with her at the White
In the book, Woodward added that Tenet and Black considered the briefing
the "starkest warning they had given the White House" on the threat
posed by Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. But, Woodward wrote, Tenet
and believed Rice gave them "the brush-off."