Presumption of a Cover-Up …
Judges and lawyers know that – if someone intentionally destroys evidence – he’s probably trying to hide his crime. American law has long recognized that destruction of evidence raises a presumption of guilt for the person who destroyed the evidence.
So what does it mean when the US government intentionally destroyed massive amounts of evidence related to 9/11?
Judge and Prosecutor Destroy Evidence
For example, it was revealed last week that the judge overseeing the trial of surviving 9/11 suspects conspired with the prosecution to destroy evidence relevant to a key suspect’s defense. And see this.
(The Defense Department has also farmed out most of the work of both prosecuting and defending the surviving 9/11 suspects to the same private company. And the heads of the military tribunal prosecuting the 9/11 suspects said that the trials must be rigged so that there are no acquittals.)
Destruction of Videotapes
The CIA videotaped the interrogation of 9/11 suspects, falsely told the 9/11 Commission that there were no videotapes or other records of the interrogations, and then illegally destroyed all of the tapes and transcripts of the interrogations.
9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:
Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.
Daniel Marcus, a law professor at American University who served as general counsel for the Sept. 11 commission and was involved in the discussions about interviews with Al Qaeda leaders, said he had heard nothing about any tapes being destroyed.
If tapes were destroyed, he said, “it’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal,” because it could amount to obstruction of justice to withhold evidence being sought in criminal or fact-finding investigations.
Destruction of Air Traffic Control Tapes
The tape of interviews of air traffic controllers on-duty on 9/11 was intentionally destroyed by crushing the cassette by hand, cutting the tape into little pieces, and then dropping the pieces in different trash cans around the building as shown by this NY Times article (summary version is free; full version is pay-per-view) and by this article from the Chicago Sun-Times.
The 9/11 Commissioners concluded that officials from the Pentagon lied to the Commission, and considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements.
The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Official Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 said that Soviet-style government “minders” obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses (and see this).
In other words, the minders obstructed witnesses from openly and candidly talking about what they knew.
President Bush and Vice-President Cheney took the rare step of personally requesting that congress limit all 9/11 investigation solely to “intelligence failures.”
The administration also opposed the creation of a 9/11 commission. Once it was forced (by pressure from widows of 9-11 victims) to allow a commission to be formed, the administration appointed as executive director an administration insider, whose area of expertise is the creation and maintenance of “public myths” thought to be true, even if not actually true, who was involved in pre-9/11 intelligence briefings, and who was one of the key architects of the “pre-emptive war” doctrine. This executive director, who controlled what the Commission did and did not analyze, then limited the scope of the Commission’s inquiry so that the overwhelming majority of questions about 9/11 remained unasked (see this and this).
The administration then starved the commission of funds. The government spent $175 million – over $300 million in today’s dollars – investigating the Challenger space shuttle disaster. It spent $152 million on the the Columbia disaster investigation. It spent $30 million investigating the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But the government only authorized $15 million for the 9/11 Commission.
The government refused to share much information with the Commission, refused to force high-level officials to testify under oath, and allowed Bush and Cheney to be questioned jointly.
Moreover, as reported by ACLU, FireDogLake, RawStory and many others, declassified documents shows that Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The 9-11 Commission took this warning to heart, and refused to examine virtually any evidence which contradicted the administration’s official version of events. As stated by the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism – who was the point man for the U.S. government’s international counterterrorism policy in the first term of the Bush administration – “there were things the [9/11] commissions wanted to know about and things they didn’t want to know about.“
Investigation into Saudi government aid to 9/11 conspirators was also obstructed.
For example, Philip Shenon – the 20-year New York Times reporter who wrote a book on the 9/11 Commission – reports:
The  commissioner said the renewed public debate could force a spotlight on a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials – especially at lower levels of the government – were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the US. In fact, there were repeated showdowns, especially over the Saudis, between the staff and the commission’s hard-charging executive director, University of Virginia historian Philip Zelikow, who joined the Bush administration as a senior adviser to the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, after leaving the commission. The staff included experienced investigators from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the CIA, as well as the congressional staffer who was the principal author of the 28 pages.
Zelikow fired a staffer, who had repeatedly protested over limitations on the Saudi investigation, after she obtained a copy of the 28 pages outside of official channels. Other staffers described an angry scene late one night, near the end of the investigation, when two investigators who focused on the Saudi allegations were forced to rush back to the commission’s offices after midnight after learning to their astonishment that some of the most compelling evidence about a Saudi tie to 9/11 was being edited out of the report or was being pushed to tiny, barely readable footnotes and endnotes. The staff protests were mostly overruled.
But Kean, Hamilton and Zelikow clearly do not speak for a number of the other commissioners, who have repeatedly suggested they are uncomfortable with the perception that the commission exonerated Saudi Arabia and who have joined in calling for public release of the 28 pages.
GOD DAMN OUR GOVERNMENT!