William Safire sorts out the travesty of the much discussed staff report in this New York Times piece.
"The basis for the hoo-ha," Safire writes, "was not a judgment of the panel of commissioners appointed to investigate the 9/11 attacks. As reporters noted below the headlines, it was an interim report of the commission's runaway staff, headed by the ex-N.S.C. aide Philip Zelikow. After Vice President Dick Cheney's outraged objection, the staff's sweeping conclusion was soon disavowed by both commission chairman Tom Kean and vice chairman Lee Hamilton."
There were two major and egregious mistakes here:
1. The Commission has never said there was no connection or relationship between al-Quaeda and the former "government" of Iraq. In fact, the Commission's leaders freely acknowledge that there was such a connection. There's just no doubt about it.
2. The conclusion that there was no evidence of cooperation in 9/11 was not the brainchild of the Commission itself, but was contained in an interim staff report.
We ask: Did the press reports you read about this ever give you the slightest impression that an interim staff report was involved here at all? Didn't you think that the Commission itself had issued the report that news media everywhere were reporting (and misinterpreting)?
The press laziness on this issue is astounding.