The Plank

Corruption On The 9/11 Commission?

Looks like NYT writer Philip Shenon has some pretty shocking revelations about the 9/11 Commission in his new book (which is embargoed until its February release, but was leaked today on Max Holland's Washington Decoded). Most of the criticism is pointed at Philip Zelikow, the panel's executive director, for being engaged in “surreptitious” communications with presidential adviser Karl Rove and other Bush officials during the commission's proceedings. Among the spicier concerns highlighted by Holland:

Kean and Hamilton appreciated that Zelikow was a friend and former colleague of then-national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, one of the principal officials whose conduct would be scrutinized ... The commission co-chairmen also knew of Zelikow’s October 2001 appointment to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. According to Shenon, however, Zelikow failed to disclose several additional and egregious conflicts-of-interest, among them, the fact that he had been a member of Rice’s NSC transition team in 2000-01. In that capacity, Zelikow had been the “architect” responsible for demoting Richard Clarke and his counter-terrorism team within the NSC. As Shenon puts it, Zelikow “had laid the groundwork for much of went wrong at the White House in the weeks and months before September 11. Would he want people to know that?”

Zelikow continued to insert himself into the work of “Team 3,” the task force responsible for the most politically-sensitive part of the investigation, counter-terrorism policy. This brief encompassed the White House, which meant investigating the conduct of Condoleeza Rice and Richard Clarke during the months prior to 9/11. Team 3 staffers would come to believe that Zelikow prevented them from submitting a report that would have depicted Rice’s performance as “amount[ing] to incompetence, or something not far from it.”

According to Holland, Shenon also provides details of destroyed phone records, secret communiqu

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