NEW YORK, NY– Family members of September 11th victims killed at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and on Flight 93 called on President Bush to demand full cooperation by all federal agencies in the ongoing investigation into the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Their request followed complaints made by leaders of the investigation, former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, and former House member Lee H. Hamilton, that federal agencies under the president’s control “were not cooperating quickly or fully” with their panel, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
In comments recorded in the July 9, 2003 New York Times, the men noted that problems with the Department of Defense were becoming “particularly serious,” and that the Pentagon had not responded to a series of requests for evidence from several Defense Department agencies, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Mr. Kean also asserted that the Justice Department was responsible for a directive barring intelligence officials from being interviewed by the panel without the presence of government “minders,” which he called a form of intimidation.
“Nearly two years after the worst terrorist attacks in the history of the United States, it is an outrage that our nation has yet to complete a full, fair and independent investigation,”said Bob McIlvaine, a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows living in Oreland, Pennsylvania. “Until we learn the reasons for this unprecedented breakdown of our national security, Americans will remain sitting ducks for future terrorist attacks, made all the more likely by rising anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East.” McIlvaine’s son, Bobby, a Merrill Lynch executive, died at the World Trade Center.
“We owe it to our families, and to the families of every American, to see that the pain and losses we experienced on September 11th are never visited upon anyone else,” said Adele Welty, another Peaceful Tomorrows member living in Queens, New York. “How can we possibly hope to avoid future attacks when agencies of own government refuse to cooperate fully with those seeking answers? We demand that the commission be given the full support of all federal agencies in accomplishing its essential mission.” Welty’s son, Timmy, was a firefighter who died at the World Trade Center.
“After I returned from a people-to-people delegation to Iraq earlier this year, friends were disturbed to learn that we were accompanied by government minders,” said Kathleen Tinley, a Peaceful Tomorrows member living in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “They could not imagine such a lack of freedom. To hear that ‘minders’ are now a reality in my own country– that my own government is requiring ‘minders’ to accompany federal employees giving testimony to the commission–is equally disturbing.” Tinley lost her uncle at the World Trade Center.
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows represents 80 family members of September 11th victims. Among the group’s goals are, “to demand a full, fair and open investigation into the September 11th attacks that took the lives of our loved ones.” Its members have traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq to highlight the plight of their civilian counterparts similarly affected by terrorism and war. Their website is www.peacefultomorrows.org.