6,042. 7/22/2004

The 9/11 Commission’s report on July 22, 2004, gave insights into assigning blame for 9/11: “The story of 9/11 is not a story of how a handful of government employees made mistakes; it is the story of how an entire government–across two administrations [Clinton and Bush] and many bureaucracies–failed to understand and adjust to the growing threat from al Qaeda, and was poorly organized to combat terrorism. We could not draw a straight line of causation from a mistake or decision by one official to the events of 9/11; this event was much too complex for that kind of analysis. In the report, we refer to the problem as ‘systemic’ because it was. Conversely, it is inaccurate to say our report holds nobody accountable, particularly at the senior levels of government. The names of all the top officials involved in counterterrorism are in the report–we make very clear the actions, decisions, and even deliberations of various officials. …The reader is capable of making a judgment about who…performed well, and who could have done better.”

 – Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, Without Precedent, Page 276

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