5 Jan


Just leaving the most impressive launch of a political book, I stopped to read the first dozen pages. Hairs on my neck stood on end. Officially, billed as “the authorized edition,” the 9/11 Commission Report, published by WW Norton, $10 in the US and $14.95 in Canada, was released. Unofficially, it is this summer’s greatest read, 570 pages, spellbinding narrative, artfully weaving the last hours of victims on 9-11.  

 Nineteen days of hearings. Public testimony from 160 witnesses, Almost 600 days later, media markets this book, guised as a critical report on homeland security.

DC postal worker Latticia Peters notes page xi, Commission members, Thomas Kean, chair; Lee Hamilton, vice-chair; along with Richard Ben-Veniste, Bob Kerrey, Fred Fielding, John Lehman, Jamie Gorelick, Timothy Roemer, Slade Gorton and James Thompson, hand written scrawls are replicated. “This book going to be distributed around the world, like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, is about homeland security? And the Commissioners agreed their signatures could be printed where anyone, like terrorists, al-queda can scan and copy them?”  She went off, shaking her head.

The book credits cover designer Anna Oler; production staff- Sue Carlson, Andrew Marasia and James L Mairs. Its ISBN number, 0-393-32671-3 hints the book was ready for distribution way before July 2004. The Government Printing Office could have provided answers to America sooner.

The Families were paraded toward seats in the back. Behind media. They sat, listening to Commissioners Kean and Hamilton repeat what has been said before. America was not ready on September 11th, without admitting America can never be prepared against attack, from without or within. Homegrown terrorists like Mcveigh and the Columbine killers can’t be stopped. Neither foreign born terrorists drawn to America’s shores.

When it was time for Q & A, the moustached man from the families waved his hand to be recognized. Thrice, he was passed over for media. I left after the USA today correspondent was picked. Press was more important to the Commission. 

I note the Commission staff credit page acknowledges directors, counsel, staff members, information control officers, investigators, editors, family liaisons, communications assistants and others. No clue is given as to who wrote the narrative. DC postal person Gail Kabiaka asks who ghostwrote it. Someone accessing sensitive documents. who signed a confidentiality agreement. Or someone like Berger, assumed loyal to oath, later found to be human.

Kabiaka’s colleague Tony Roots, noting the book is sold domestically and abroad, wants to know if there are percentages from book sales, who receives them? The government, Americans, families of the murdered or the ghost writer.

The conclusion no one appears willing to go out on a limb and state is America is as vulnerable today to attack as it always has been since our first day in 1776.

Along Interstate 10, signs warn of prisons nearby, advising drivers not to pick up hitchhikers because prisoners, in America, escape secured environments. Border patrol officers outside of El Paso approach vehicles in groups of four or more, fearing who may confront them. Commissioner Kean adressing fake passports the hijackers used, makes no mention of how common it is for Americans teens to buy fake ID’s, driver’s licenses, wedding licenses and smog permits. Kean, addressing the TSA failure to stop 911’s hijackers, overlooked the actor who called the Feds the week before 911, scared by odd behaviours of men he flew coast to coast with. Nor did Kean adress TSA staff failing to confiscate, from a passenger flying LA to the UK, industrial sized toe clippers with a swing blade.

There is one thing the book is not. A report. We know how the story ends. It seems no one admits how the story begins. We want to believe the Authorized Edition is the truth. The tough nut to admit, is the price of democracy is eternal vigilance. By citizens. For citizens. 

I replaced my cameras into my bags, walked out into the bright sunlight on Constitution Avenue. I looked down at readied camera crews. The two protesters. Trained to know the reality the Commission refuses to admit, I called my mom to let her know I loved her.

I have seen the enemy. The enemy is us.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: