Sunday, October 09, 2005

9/11 families furious CIA won't review terror foul-ups

WASHINGTON -- CIA Director Porter Goss' decision not to launch disciplinary reviews of current and former officials for their performance before the Sept. 11 attacks drew fire last night from relatives of attack victims.

That's baloney, said Bill Doyle of Annadale, who lost a son during the attacks. Accountability is one thing every 9/11 family member wants. Obviously, there were a lot of failures.

By accountability, I don't mean somebody just quitting his job like Tenet, Doyle said, referring to former CIA director George Tenet.

Joan Molinaro, a former Eltingville resident whose son was among the 342 firefighters killed on Sept. 11, was appalled. No one has been held accountable for anything, she said.

Three thousand people were killed, and everybody is saying -- I'm not pointing fingers? said Bruce DeCell of Great Kills, who lost a son-in-law and a cousin during the attacks.

Frank Siller of Westerleigh, whose brother was another firefighter casualty at the World Trade Center, said his main interest was knowing everything that went wrong before the 2001 attacks so we can correct problems and prevent another 9/11.

Some people were sleeping before 9/11, there is no question about that, he added.

In a statement yesterday, Goss said a report by the agency's Inspector General did not suggest that any one person or group of people could have prevented 9/11.

After great consideration of this report and its conclusion, I will not convene an accountability board to judge the performances of any individual CIA officers, he said.

Completed this summer, the still classified, several-hundred-page report allegedly criticized current and former CIA officials before Sept. 11 and recommended accountability reviews of them.

Half of those named in the report have retired from the agency. Those who are still with us are amongst the finest we have, Goss added.

A joint congressional inquiry investigating Sept. 11 had asked the CIA's inspector general to review whether any agency officials should be held personally accountable and disciplined for failures before the suicide hijackings.

Goss indicated he will make little, if any, of the inspector general document public, saying now is not the time to reveal how intelligence is collected and analyzed.

Family members also expressed outrage at Goss' refusal to declassify the report. They minute they say classified, it's a cover-up, said Mrs. Molinaro. It is their way of avoiding answering questions.

I think everything should be declassified to let the American public know what kind of nonsense is going on in the government, said DeCell.

Goss said that the secret report unveiled no mysteries and that in the four years since Sept. 11 much had been done to improve and reform the way we do business.

Terence J. Kivlan is Washington correspondent for the Advance. He may be reached at terence.kivlan@newhouse.com.

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