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Public Statements

The 9/11 Commission

Location: Washington DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I wish to make a couple of observations related to the proceedings of the 9/11 Commission, which have been in the news recently.

Specifically, I am troubled by the partisanship that some Commissioners have displayed, such as by cross-examining public officials as if they were common criminals.

I am not the only one who is troubled by the proceedings. Former National Security Adviser under President Clinton, Tony Lake, has said that the hearings are "a sad spectacle that has become so partisan." That is the National Security Adviser under President Clinton.

Max Holland, a former fellow at the University of Virginia who is writing a history of the Warren Commission, notes that, "in some respects," the proceedings of the Commission are "definitely a new low." He added that "this is a commission charged with establishing facts and the truth rather than posturing for political gain. But some of the hearings amounted to lecturing and posturing."

Still others, such as Professor Juliette Kayyem of the Harvard's Kennedy School of Government who served on a congressional terrorism panel to investigate the 1998 African embassy bombings, have questioned why 9/11 Commission members have granted so many interviews. She notes that "they have become too public" and that "tempts Commissioners into making assessments and conclusions prematurely," she suggests.

My understanding of the 9/11 Commission was that it was to impartially determine the facts and make nonpartisan recommendations on how to move forward. I am trying to be fairminded and positive about this, and I hope the Commission holds to its mission. I think it has strayed somewhat off into the political arena. It has received, I think, justified criticism for so doing. They still have an opportunity to move back in the direction they know and we know they should go and produce a report that we will all feel will pass the smell test and stick to the goal we all thought the 9/11 Commission had in the first place.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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