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Timothy John "Tim" Roemer (born October 30, 1956) is an American political figure currently serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of India . He was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama as the 21st U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of India on May 27, 2009. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 10, 2009, he was sworn-in on July 23, 2009 in the State Department's ceremonial Benjamin Franklin Treaty Room and he presented his credentials to Indian President Pratibha Patil on August 11, 2009.
Roemer served in the United States House of Representatives from 1991–2003 as a Democrat from Indiana's 3rd Congressional district before becoming the president of the Center for National Policy (CNP), a Washington, D.C-based national security think tank. He resigned the position following his appointment as Ambassador to India.
Early life and educationEdit
Tim Roemer was born in 1956 in South Bend, Indiana. His grandfather, William F. Roemer, was a philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame; and his grandmother was an elementary school teacher. Roemer's parents, James and Mary Ann Roemer also worked at Notre Dame as Dean of Students and Coordinator of Volunteer Activities, respectively. Roemer graduated from Penn High School in 1975 and worked at various jobs from the age of 14 to help pay for college.
Tim Roemer graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.A. degree in 1979. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame; his 1985 dissertation was titled "The Senior Executive Service: Retirement and Public Personnel Policy."
He won election to the House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1990, served in the from 1991 to 2003 from Indiana's 3rd congressional district. While in the House, Roemer served on the Intelligence, Education and Workforce, and Science committees. He did not run for reelection in 2002.
Tim Roemer voted in favor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative. He opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), feeling it provided incentives for businesses to move out of the country (as may have happened in his district). Roemer voted against presidential fast-track trade promotion authority, believing that the United States should have been stricter in its enforcement of existing agreements.
Much of Roemer's efforts during his congressional career were related to improving education. He was the principal author of the Ed-Flex bill, which encouraged states to seek innovative approaches to education. Roemer was the chief sponsor of the "Transition to Teaching" bill that helped address teacher shortages by recruiting and training professionals to become teachers. Roemer was also the lead sponsor of the five-year reauthorization of Higher Education Act, which reduced interest rates on student loans, increased Pell Grants, increased funding for teacher training, and expanded aid to families.
Tim Roemer was a principal sponsor of the AmeriCorps national service program, and a co-author of a bill to expand Head Start services to provide childcare coverage for women moving from welfare to work. He co-wrote legislation on reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and wrote an amendment to tax relief legislation for teacher certification of professionals in outside fields. He co-authored "School-to-Work" legislation to help non-college-bound high school students learn skills to prepare them for the workforce.
Roemer was one of the first members of Congress to call for a Cabinet-level federal executive department to oversee national security, and was an original sponsor of the legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security. Eventually he opposed the revisions proposed by the Bush administration, because of concerns about bureaucratic inefficiencies, and voted against the creation of DHS. Roemer advocated a "civilian reserve corps" to train more fluent speakers in foreign languages for the Intelligence Community. Roemer was an original sponsor of bioterrorism legislation and legislation aimed at creating the 9/11 Commission, upon which he later served.
Post-House of RepresentativesEdit
Tim Roemer was a member of the 9/11 Commission. He was a candidate for chair of the Democratic National Committee (gaining the support of Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) but lost to Howard Dean, who had unsuccessfully sought the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.
Roemer was criticized as too conservative for the post, due to his pro-life stance on abortion and his oft-mentioned vote against the Clinton economic plan in 1993. Roemer is a moderate Democrat, voting more liberally on some foreign policy issues and conservatively on social issues.
Roemer endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and campaigned vigorously for him, particularly in his home state of Indiana, where he joined Lee H. Hamilton in support of Obama. Roemer's moderate, bipartisan politics, and national security experience led to speculation (from Chris Cillizza and Ben Smith) that Roemer was considered a possible vice presidential running mate for Obama.  
Roemer served as a distinguished scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He was a partner at Johnston and Associates, a public and legislative affairs consultancy, before he became president of the Center for National Policy.
Roemer serveed on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, a bipartisan commission created by Congress in 2007 as an outgrowth of the reforms put forth by the 9/11 Commission to examine how the United States can best address this threat to our national security.
In addition, Roemer served on the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Presidential Task force on Combating the Ideology of Radical Extremism, and the National Parks Second Century Commission.
Following his May 27, 2009 nomination by U.S. President Barack Obama and his July 10, 2009 Senate confirmation, he was sworn in on July 23, 2009 in the U.S. Department of State ceremonial Benjamin Franklin Treaty Room.
Tim Roemer married the former Sally Johnston in 1989. They have four children: Patrick Hunter Roemer, Matthew Bennett Roemer, Sarah Kathryn Roemer, and Grace Elizabeth Roemer. Roemer is the son-in-law of Bennett Johnston Jr., Democrat who served as a U.S. Senator from Louisiana from 1972 to 1997.
- Official bio from the Embassy of the United States in New Delhi
- Interview with app2us.com
- Official profile from the Center for National Policy
- Obama pick has ear of White House from The Hindu
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Voting record maintained by The Washington Post
- Congressional profile at GovTrack.us
- Campaign finance reports and data at the Federal Election Commission
- Official bio from the Embassy of the United States in New Delhi
- ↑ "U.S. Ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer:Bio". Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ Former Ind. congressman to be ambassador to India: AP
- ↑ "Roemer, former lawmaker for South Bend area, confirmed as ambassador to India". Retrieved July 11, 2009.
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March-May 2001: FAA Briefs Airports on Security; They Cite, Then Dismiss Possibility of Planes as Weapons A series of top-secret security briefings are given to airport officials at the top 19 airports in the US. The airports warned include those at Boston, Washington, and Newark, which are eventually used by the hijackers. A 9/11 Commission Report on this later notes, “The briefings highlight the threat posed by terrorists in general and bin Laden in particular, including his threats against aviation. The renewed interest in hijacking by terrorist groups [is] also covered.” The briefings note that if “the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable.” But they also note that such a hijacking would be harder to carry out. Around the same time, the FAA distributes an unclassified CD-ROM presentation to airlines and airports. “The presentation cite[s] the possibility that terrorists might conduct suicide hijackings but state[s]: ‘Fortunately, we have no indication that any group is currently thinking in that direction.’” This briefing and presentation doesn’t lead to any upgrade in security or improved passenger screening at the airports. Apparently, the information isn’t widely shared with pilots, flight attendants, passenger screeners, and the like, and it doesn’t lead to any specific FAA advisories or actions. [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/10/2005; NEWSDAY, 2/11/2005; NEW JERSEY STAR-LEDGER, 2/11/2005] For instance, Dave Machett, a pilot who is president of the grassroots organization Airline Pilots Security Alliance, says that “Not one word” reached the pilots. “The flight crews were kept completely in the dark about this growing threat.” [NEWSDAY, 2/11/2005] 9/11 Commissioner Tim Roemer comments, “The FAA deserves to be raked over the coals for ignoring the warnings and being more concerned about reducing air traffic congestion than dealing with possible terrorist attacks.” [NEW JERSEY STAR-LEDGER, 2/11/2005] Entity Tags: Osama bin Laden, Federal Aviation Administration, Tim Roemer, Dave Machett Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline
June 11, 2002: Counterterrorism ‘Tsar’ Richard Clarke Briefs Congressional Inquiry, Apparently Holds Back Information Damaging to Bush and Rice Richard Clarke, who was counterterrorism “tsar” in the run-up to 9/11, briefs the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry about counterterrorism before the attacks. Clarke's Status - Normally, a White House official such as Clarke would not be allowed to testify before Congress, but the administration makes an exception for him, although the testimony is behind closed doors and is classified. In addition, Clarke is not placed under oath and is not even considered a witness before the inquiry, just a briefer. Clarke’s boss, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, will not testify before the inquiry, and it is unable to obtain access to National Security Council files, which are privileged as they relate to advice given to the president. Content of Briefing - House Intelligence Committee member Tim Roemer will say that Clarke is riveting during the six-hour briefing. According to author Philip Shenon, Roemer thinks that Clarke is “intelligent, articulate, seemingly candid in discussing his own failings as White House counterterrorism [‘tsar’].” Clarke will later be extremely critical of President George Bush and Rice (see March 21, 2004 and March 24, 2004), but now he is “coy about certain questions—especially about President Bush and Condoleezza Rice.” Shenon will add: “[I]f anyone knew whether Bush and Rice had reacted appropriately to the threats reaching the Oval office before 9/11, it was Clarke. Yet in front of these lawmakers, Clarke seemed unwilling to make any judgments about the president and Rice. He was certainly volunteering little about his bosses. He was still on the [National Security Council’s] payroll. Perhaps it was understandable that Clarke would want to hold his tongue for now.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 195-196] Later Positive Briefing about Administration's Record - Two months later, Clarke will give journalists a positive briefing about the Bush administration’s record on terrorism (see August 22, 2002). Entity Tags: Richard A. Clarke, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Philip Shenon, Tim Roemer Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline
December 16, 2002: Members of 9/11 Commission Have Potential Conflicts of Interest
Richard Ben-Veniste. [Source: C-SPAN] The 10 members of the new 9/11 Commission are appointed by this date, and are: Republicans Thomas Kean (chairman), Slade Gorton, James Thompson, Fred Fielding, and John Lehman, and Democrats Lee Hamilton (vice chairman), Max Cleland, Tim Roemer, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Jamie Gorelick. [CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/12/2002; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/16/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 12/17/2002] Senators Richard Shelby (R) and John McCain (R) had a say in the choice of one of the Republican positions. They and many 9/11 victims’ relatives wanted former Senator Warren Rudman (R), who co-wrote an acclaimed report about terrorism before 9/11 (see January 31, 2001). But, possibly under pressure from the White House, Senate Republican leader Trent Lott (R) blocked Rudman’s appointment and chose John Lehman instead. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/12/2002; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/13/2002; REUTERS, 12/16/2002; SHENON, 2008, PP. 55-56] It will slowly emerge over the next several months that at least six of the 10 commissioners have ties to the airline industry. [CBS NEWS, 3/5/2003] Henry Kissinger (see December 13, 2002) and his replacement Thomas Kean (see December 16, 2002) both caused controversy when they were named. In addition, the other nine members of the Commission are later shown to all have potential conflicts of interest. Republican commissioners:
Fred Fielding also works for a law firm lobbying for Spirit Airlines and United Airlines. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/14/2003; CBS NEWS, 3/5/2003] Slade Gorton has close ties to Boeing, which built all the planes destroyed on 9/11, and his law firm represents several major airlines, including Delta Air Lines. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/12/2002; CBS NEWS, 3/5/2003] John Lehman, former secretary of the Navy, has large investments in Ball Corp., which has many US military contracts. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/27/2003] James Thompson, former Illinois governor, is the head of a law firm that lobbies for American Airlines and has previously represented United Airlines. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1/31/2003; CBS NEWS, 3/5/2003] Democratic commissioners: Richard Ben-Veniste represents Boeing and United Airlines. [CBS NEWS, 3/5/2003] He also has other curious connections, according to a 2001 book on CIA ties to drug running written by Daniel Hopsicker, which has an entire chapter called “Who is Richard Ben-Veniste?” Lawyer Ben-Veniste, Hopsicker says, “has made a career of defending political crooks, specializing in cases that involve drugs and politics.” He has been referred to in print as a “Mob lawyer,” and was a long-time lawyer for Barry Seal, one of the most famous drug dealers in US history who is also alleged to have had CIA connections. [HOPSICKER, 2001, PP. 325-30] Max Cleland, former US senator, has received $300,000 from the airline industry. [CBS NEWS, 3/5/2003] James Gorelick is a director of United Technologies, one of the Pentagon’s biggest defense contractors and a supplier of engines to airline manufacturers. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/27/2003] Lee Hamilton sits on many advisory boards, including those to the CIA, the president’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, and the US Army. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 3/27/2003] Tim Roemer represents Boeing and Lockheed Martin. [CBS NEWS, 3/5/2003]
Entity Tags: 9/11 Commission, Trent Lott, Fred Fielding, James Thompson, Jamie Gorelick, American Airlines, Lee Hamilton, Richard Ben-Veniste, John Lehman, Warren Rudman, Max Cleland, United Airlines, Slade Gorton, Tim Roemer, John McCain, Richard Shelby Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline
February 2003 or After: 9/11 Commission Staff Set up ‘Back-Channel Network’ to Report on Executive Director Zelikow’s Behavior Members of the 9/11 Commission’s staff who are suspicious of the partisanship of the Commission’s executive director, Philip Zelikow, establish what author Philip Shenon calls a “back-channel network” through which reports of Zelikow’s behavior can be passed. The staff members are suspicious of Zelikow because they think he is close to the Bush administration, in particular National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (see January 3, 2001), whose interests he defends on the Commission (see May-June 2004). The network’s aim is to “alert the Democratic commissioners when [staff] thought Zelikow was up to no good.” Commissioner Tim Roemer will say that he often gets phone calls late at night or on weekends at home from staffers who want to talk about Zelikow. “It was like Deep Throat,” he will later say (see May 31, 2005). Richard Ben-Veniste is another one of the Democratic commissioners involved in the network. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 375] Entity Tags: Richard Ben-Veniste, 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, Tim Roemer Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline
Before April 24, 2003: 9/11 Commission Executive Director Zelikow Cuts off Commissioners’ Access to Congressional Inquiry Files
Tim Roemer. [Source: US Congress] 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow strikes a deal with the Justice Department to cut the 9/11 Commission’s access to files compiled by the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry (see July 24, 2003) until the White House is able to review them. However, he keeps the agreement secret from the commissioners and, when Commissioner Tim Roemer, who had actually sat on the Congressional Inquiry and already seen the material, goes to Capitol Hill to read the files on April 24, he is turned away. Roemer is furious and asks: “Why is our executive director making secret deals with the Justice Department and the White House? He is supposed to be working for us.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/26/2003; SHENON, 2008, PP. 90] He adds, “No entity, individual, or organization should sift through or filter our access to material.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/30/2003] Author Philip Shenon will comment, “Roemer believed, correctly, that it was a sign of much larger struggles to come with Zelikow.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 90] Entity Tags: Philip Zelikow, 9/11 Commission, Tim Roemer, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, Philip Shenon Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline
July 7, 2003: 9/11 Commission Denounces Lack of Cooperation, Chairman Complains about Government ‘Minders’ The 9/11 Commission releases a status report showing that various government agencies are not cooperating fully with its investigation. Neither the CIA nor the Justice Department have provided all requested documents. Lack of cooperation on the part of the Department of Defense “[is] becoming particularly serious,” and the Commission has received no responses whatsoever to requests related to national air defenses. The FBI, State Department, and Transportation Department receive generally positive reviews. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 7/9/2003] Commissioner Tim Roemer complains: “We’re not getting the kind of cooperation that we should be. We need a steady stream of information coming to us.… Instead, We’re getting a trickle.” [GUARDIAN, 7/10/2003] The Commission is eventually forced to subpoena documents from the Defense Department and FAA (see November 6, 2003). Commission Chairman Tom Kean also highlights the presence of government “minders” at Commission interviews. The minders accompany witnesses the Commission is interviewing and come from the witnesses’ parent agencies. Kean says: “I think the Commission feels unanimously that it’s some intimidation to have somebody sitting behind you all the time who you either work for or works for your agency. You might get less testimony than you would.” He adds, “We would rather interview these people without minders or without agency people there.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/8/2003; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 7/9/2003] However, Kean will later play down the effect minders are having on witnesses (see September 23, 2003), the full scope of which will be revealed in an internal Commission memo (see October 2, 2003). Entity Tags: US Department of Transportation, US Department of Justice, US Department of Defense, US Department of State, Tim Roemer, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/11 Commission, Bush administration, Central Intelligence Agency, Thomas Kean Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline
July 27, 2003: Still Many 9/11 Mysteries after 9/11 Congressional Inquiry’s Report Shortly after the public release of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry’s final report (see July 24, 2003), the Los Angeles Times claims that “for all that it answers about the attacks, the nearly 900-page report is stocked with reminders of the many questions that remain—about other puzzling aspects of the [9/11] plot, the possible role of foreign governments, and even such politically charged matters as what Presidents Clinton and Bush had been told about al-Qaeda.… [E]ven lawmakers privy to the fuller, classified version of the report… acknowledge that the picture is incomplete.” Representative Porter Goss (R-FL), co-chairman of the Congressional Inquiry, says, “I can tell you right now that I don’t know exactly how the plot was hatched. I don’t know the where, the when and the why and the who in every instance. That’s after two years of trying. And we will someday have the documents to exploit, we will have the people to interrogate, we will have ways to get more information to put the rest of the pieces of this puzzle on the table. But right now, we don’t have it.” Congressman Tim Roemer (D-IN), also part of the Congressional Inquiry, says, “I still don’t think we know about the 19 hijackers—where they were, why they did certain things.” [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 7/27/2003] Entity Tags: Porter J. Goss, Tim Roemer, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline
November 7, 2003: 9/11 Commission, White House Strike Deal on Access to Presidential Daily Briefs: Only One Commissioner and One Staffer Will See All of Them The 9/11 Commission and the White House come to a deal on the Commission’s access to Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs) relevant to its work. The Commission and White House had been in dispute about the issue for nearly a year (see Late January 2003, June 2003, Late Summer 2003, October 16, 2003, Shortly Before October 26, 2003, and November 6, 2003). Arrangement - The deal gives Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, plus two others on the Commission to be designated, access to a group of 20 “core” PDBs clearly relevant to the Commission’s work. In addition, two of these four can read all possibly relevant PDBs and insist on the other two being allowed to see anything they think is important. The deal is struck by Kean and Hamilton for the Commission, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, and White House chief of staff Andy Card. The Commission designates commissioner Jamie Gorelick and its executive director, Philip Zelikow, as the two who will help Kean and Hamilton and also review all the other PDBs. The other seven commissioners and the rest of the staff cannot see the PDBs. Criticism - Two of the commissioners, Democrats Tim Roemer and Max Cleland, are extremely angry with the deal and complain the Commission cannot function properly without all the commissioners seeing all the relevant documents. The victims’ relatives are also extremely unhappy, and the Family Steering Committee releases a statement saying, “A limited number of commissioners will have restricted access to a limited number of PDB documents,” adding, “The Commission has seriously compromised its ability to conduct an independent, full, and unfettered investigation.” They are also unhappy that Zelikow is one of the two handling the main review, because they are concerned about his ties to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, among other issues (see March 21, 2004). One of the victim’s relatives, Kristen Breitweiser, says, “How much more of Zelikow do we have to take?” The Commission’s counsel, Daniel Marcus will agree with the families, saying, “If we were going to have a staff person do this, Philip was not the right person.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 218-219] Entity Tags: Andrew Card, White House, 9/11 Commission, Alberto R. Gonzales, Thomas Kean, Tim Roemer, Max Cleland, Daniel Marcus, Jamie Gorelick, Philip Zelikow, Lee Hamilton, Kristen Breitweiser, 9/11 Family Steering Committee Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline
Mid-December 2003-Mid-January 2004: Political Considerations Determine Length of Extension Requested by 9/11 Commission The 9/11 Commission realizes that it will not meet its reporting deadline of May 2004 and decides it will have to ask for an extension. Any extension would have to be approved by Congressional leaders and the White House. In order to determine how much extra time the commission will need, Chairman Tom Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton poll the other commissioners and staff members to gauge their opinions. Commissioners Slade Gorton and Tim Roemer suggest six months, but this would push the reporting date back after the presidential election in November. Kean and Hamilton are aware that this will probably not be permitted by Republicans, as they will be worried that parts of the report critical of Bush will be leaked to the press. In addition, Kean wants the report out during the presidential campaign, in the hopes that the two candidates will have a “bidding war” over who will implement more of the commission’s recommendations. In the end, the commission decides to ask for a two-month extension, meaning the report will be issued in July. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 226-227] The extension is initially opposed by the White House (see January 19, 2004), but the administration changes its mind (see February 5, 2004), and the extension is finally granted (see March 2, 2004). Entity Tags: Slade Gorton, Lee Hamilton, Thomas Kean, Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commission Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 2004 Presidential Election
April 8, 2004: Condoleezza Rice Testifies before the 9/11 Commission
Condoleezza Rice sworn in before the 9/11 Commission. [Source: Larry Downing/ Reuters] National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice testifies before the 9/11 Commission under oath and with the threat of perjury. The Bush administration originally opposed her appearance, but relented after great public demand (see March 30, 2004). [INDEPENDENT, 4/3/2004] The testimony is a huge media event and major television networks interrupt their programming to carry it live. First, the Commission’s Democratic Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton reads a statement trying to establish a tone of non-confrontation and saying that the Commission’s purpose is “not to put any witness on the spot,” but “to understand and to inform.” Rice Reads Lengthy Statement - Knowing that she has a deal to appear only once and for a limited time, Rice begins by reading a statement much longer than those read by other witnesses testifying before the Commission, a move specifically approved by Hamilton and the Commission’s chairman Tom Kean. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 293, 295] In the statement she repeats her claim that “almost all of the reports [before 9/11] focused on al-Qaeda activities outside the United States.… The information that was specific enough to be actionable referred to terrorists operation overseas.” Moreover, she stresses that the “kind of analysis about the use of airplanes as weapons actually was never briefed to us.” But she concedes: “In fact there were some reports done in ‘98 and ‘99. I think I was—I was certainly not aware of them.” [WASHINGTON POST, 4/8/2004] Heated Questioning from Democrats - The exchanges with the Republican commissioners are polite, but Rice’s interactions with the Democrats on the Commission become heated. According to author Philip Shenon, her strategy is to “try to run out the clock—talk and talk and talk, giving them no chance to ask follow-up questions before the 10 minutes that each of the commissioners had been allotted had run out.” [SHENON, 2008, PP. 295] During questioning several subjects are discussed:
Why didn’t counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke brief President Bush on al-Qaeda before September 11? Clarke says he had wished to do so, but Rice states, “Clarke never asked me to brief the president on counterterrorism.” What was the content of the briefing President Bush received on August 6, 2001 (see August 6, 2001)? While Rice repeatedly underlines that it was “a historical memo… not threat reporting,” commissioners Richard Ben-Veniste and Tim Roemer ask her why it cannot therefore be declassified. [WASHINGTON POST, 4/8/2004] Asked what the PDB item’s still-secret title is, Rice gives it as “Bin Laden Determined to Attack inside the United States,” leading to an audible gasp from the audience. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 298] Two days later, the White House will finally publish it, and it will be shown to contain more than just historical information. Did Rice tell Bush of the existence of al-Qaeda cells in the US before August 6, 2001? Rice says that she does not remember whether she “discussed it with the president.” Were warnings properly passed on? Rice points out: “The FBI issued at least three nationwide warnings to federal, state, and law enforcement agencies, and specifically stated that although the vast majority of the information indicated overseas targets, attacks against the homeland could not be ruled out. The FBI tasked all 56 of its US field offices to increase surveillance of known suspected terrorists and to reach out to known informants who might have information on terrorist activities.” But commissioner Jamie Gorelick remarks: “We have no record of that. The Washington field office international terrorism people say they never heard about the threat, they never heard about the warnings.” [WASHINGTON POST, 4/8/2004] Under questioning from Democratic commissioner Bob Kerrey, she admits that she worked with Philip Zelikow, the Commission’s executive director, during the Bush administration transition, and that they discussed terrorism issues. She claims that a plan Clarke presented to her to roll back al-Qaeda in January 2001 (see January 25, 2001) was not actually a plan, but merely “a set of ideas and a paper” that had not been implemented. [SHENON, 2008, PP. 299-300]
Central Issues Unresolved - Rice does not apologize to the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, as Clarke did weeks earlier. The Associated Press comments, “The blizzard of words in Condoleezza Rice’s testimony Thursday did not resolve central points about what the government knew, should have known, did, and should have done before the September 11 terrorist attacks.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/8/2004] Testimony an 'Ambitious Feat of Jujitsu' - The Washington Post calls her testimony “an ambitious feat of jujitsu: On one hand, she made a case that ‘for more than 20 years, the terrorist threat gathered, and America’s response across several administrations of both parties was insufficient.’ At the same time, she argued that there was nothing in particular the Bush administration itself could have done differently that would have prevented the attacks of September 11, 2001—that there was no absence of vigor in the White House’s response to al-Qaeda during its first 233 days in office. The first thesis is undeniably true; the second both contradictory and implausible.” [WASHINGTON POST, 4/9/2004] 'Cherry-Picking' Rice's Testimony - In 2009, Lawrence Wilkerson, who is chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2004, will recall: “John [Bellinger, the legal adviser to the National Security Council] and I had to work on the 9/11 Commission testimony of Condi. Condi was not gonna do it, not gonna do it, not gonna do it, and then all of a sudden she realized she better do it. That was an appalling enterprise. We would cherry-pick things to make it look like the president had been actually concerned about al-Qaeda. We cherry-picked things to make it look as if the vice president and others, Secretary Rumsfeld and all, had been. They didn’t give a sh_t about al-Qaeda. They had priorities. The priorities were lower taxes, ballistic missiles, and the defense thereof.” [VANITY FAIR, 2/2009] Entity Tags: Jamie Gorelick, Lee Hamilton, Lawrence Wilkerson, George W. Bush, John Bellinger, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bob Kerrey, Bush administration, Tim Roemer, Condoleezza Rice, Thomas Kean, Richard Ben-Veniste, 9/11 Commission, Richard A. Clarke Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline, 2004 Presidential Election
April 14, 2004: CIA Director Tenet Falsely Claims He Did Not Meet President Bush in August 2001 In a public interview with the 9/11 Commission, CIA Director George Tenet falsely claims that he had no communication with President Bush during August 2001, a period when the CIA was aware of increasing signs al-Qaeda would attack the US. Tenet actually met Bush at least twice during this period (see August 17 and 31, 2001). The claim is made in a question and answer session with Commissioner Tim Roemer, who asks Tenet about it because of its links to the mid-August arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui and Tenet’s knowledge of this (see August 17 and 31, 2001, August 23, 2001, and September 1-8, 2001). "I Don't Believe I Do" - When Roemer asks Tenet “when do you see him [Bush] in August?” Tenet replies, “I don’t believe I do.” Roemer asks again and Tenet, who spent days reading documents to be ready for his discussions with the 9/11 Commission (see Before January 22, 2004), says: “He’s in Texas, and I’m either here or on leave for some of that time. So I’m not there.” When asked about whether he spoke to Bush on the phone in August, he says, “we talked to him directly through the spring and early summer almost every day,” but he himself did not speak to Bush in August. Bombshell - Roemer thinks the admission CIA Director Tenet did not talk to the president for a month during a period of increased threat is a “bombshell,” and is aware that others on the commission believe that Tenet has repeatedly lied to them (see January 22, 2004 and July 2, 2004). However, as Tenet denies there were any such meetings or conversations and Roemer does not know otherwise yet, he cannot pursue the topic and moves on to the question. Furious - However, Tenet’s statement is quickly discovered to be untrue, and later that day the CIA’s press office calls round Washington informing reporters that Tenet “momentarily forgot” about the two briefings. Roemer is then “furious” with Tenet. He had wanted to withhold judgment on Tenet despite the criticism from the Commission’s staff, but now decides that he can “assume the worst about Tenet’s veracity—and the worst about what had happened in August between him and the president.” 'Hotter than Hades - Roemer is especially skeptical of Tenet’s claim he does not recall that he flew to Texas in the middle of August: “It’s probably 110 degrees down there, hotter than Hades… You make one trip down there the whole month and you can’t remember what motivates you to go down there to talk to the president?” Roemer’s suspicion that Tenet and Bush talked about domestic terrorism will later be supported by a section in a 2007 book by Tenet, which says, “a few weeks after the Aug. 6 PDB [entitled “Bin laden Determined to Strike in US”] was delivered, I followed it to Crawford to make sure the president stayed current on events.” In the book, Tenet will recall not only flying to Texas, but also being driven around the ranch by Bush and discussing the plants and animals on it with him. [WASHINGTON POST, 4/15/2004; SHENON, 2008, PP. 361-362] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Tim Roemer, George J. Tenet Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline
March 28, 2005: Mueller’s Management of FBI Is Criticized by Insiders US News and World Report publishes a cover story about FBI Director Robert Mueller’s attempts to reform his agency. Insiders say that the senior leadership tends to withhold bad news from Mueller. Says one anonymous FBI official, “[Mueller] is so isolated and shielded.” The article notes that there has been a “head-spinning exodus of top-tier executives - five officials have held the top counterterrorism job since 9/11; five others held the top computer job in 2002-2003 alone.” Mueller has reduced the autonomy of the field offices and centralized all major terrorism investigations at FBI headquarters. The 9/11 Commission in the 2004 final report had few recommendations on how to reform the FBI, largely leaving the issue to Mueller’s discretion. 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer says that in retrospect, “[Mueller] knows how to play the system, how to play Congress, and he certainly worked the 9/11 Commission.” [US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 3/28/2005] Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, 9/11 Commission, Tim Roemer Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline
September 30-October 3, 2006: 9/11 Commissioners Claim to Be Furious They Were Not Told of July 2001 Warning, When In Fact They Were In late September 2006, a new book by Bob Woodward reveals that CIA Director Tenet and CIA counterterrorism chief Cofer Black gave National Security Adviser Rice their most urgent warning about a likely upcoming al-Qaeda attack (see July 10, 2001 and September 29, 2006). Tenet detailed this meeting to the 9/11 Commission in early 2004 (see January 28, 2004), but it was not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission’s final report later that year. According to the Washington Post, “Though the investigators had access to all the paperwork on the meeting, Black felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and things they didn’t want to know about.” [WASHINGTON POST, 10/1/2006] The 9/11 Commissioners initially vigorously deny that they were not told about the meeting. For instance, 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick says she checked with commission staff who told her they were never told about a meeting on that date. She says, “We didn’t know about the meeting itself. I can assure you it would have been in our report if we had known to ask about it.” [WASHINGTON POST, 9/30/2006] Commissioner Tim Roemer says, “None of this was shared with us in hours of private interviews, including interviews under oath, nor do we have any paper on this. I’m deeply disturbed by this. I’m furious.” Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste says the meeting “was never mentioned to us.” Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, says the commissioners and their staff had heard nothing in their private interviews with Tenet and Black to suggest that they made such a dire presentation to Rice. “If we had heard something that drew our attention to this meeting, it would have been a huge thing.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 10/2/2006] However, on October 3, 2006, a transcript of Tenet’s private testimony to the 9/11 Commission is leaked to reporters and clearly shows that Tenet did warn Rice of an imminent al-Qaeda threat on July 10, 2001. Ben-Veniste, who attended the meeting along with Zelikow and other staff members, now confirms the meeting did take place and claims to recall details of it, even though he, Zelikow, and other 9/11 Commissioners had denied the existence of the meeting as recently as the day before. In the transcript, Tenet says “the system was blinking red” at the time. This statement becomes a chapter title in the 9/11 Commission’s final report but the report, which normally has detailed footnotes, does not make it clear when Tenet said it. [WASHINGTON POST, 10/3/2006] Zelikow had close ties to Rice before joining the 9/11 Commission, having co-written a book with her (see March 21, 2004), and became one of her key aides after the commission disbanded (see February 28, 2005). Zelikow does not respond to requests for comments after Tenet’s transcript surfaces. [MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS, 10/2/2006; WASHINGTON POST, 10/3/2006] Entity Tags: Richard Ben-Veniste, Tim Roemer, Jamie Gorelick, George J. Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, Cofer Black Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline