• U.S.

Who’s To Blame? Take Your Pick

2 minute read
Michael Duffy and Michael Weisskopf

The Bush Administration worked for nearly a year to prevent bipartisan congressional investigators from probing the causes of the Sept. 11 attacks. But almost two years after the tragedy, the investigators’ heavily sanitized declassified report will be released this week. Many of the panel’s findings will remain secret; Administration officials refused to declassify large portions of the 900-page report. The public version will conclude that U.S. officials could not have prevented the tragedy, but it will criticize government agencies for being asleep at the switch during the two years before the attacks. The FBI failed to notice that terrorists were taking flying lessons and English classes in the U.S. and to deduce their intent; overseas, the CIA failed to penetrate a secret army, numbering in the thousands, that was silently massing in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

But while U.S. agencies are singled out for criticism, some foreign governments get a day pass. A hefty 28-page chunk critical of the Saudi Arabian government will be blacked out, say U.S. officials who have seen advance copies. The officials tell TIME that congressional investigators have compiled what they consider compelling evidence of Saudi indifference to the violent jihad movement, which includes many Saudi nationals. White House national-security officials and the CIA argued against releasing the findings on the ground that they would damage relations with a key ally in the Middle East. –By Michael Duffy and Michael Weisskopf

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