The 9/11 Commission Report is an example of concerted cover-up, partly by omissions, and just as importantly by its cherry-picking of evidence to create impressions that are in fact authoritatively disputed, and in some cases probably not true. There are many examples of cherry-picking and contrived simulations of fact. More importantly, there is a consistent pattern in this: to minimize Cheney’s responsibility for what happened that day.
The Issue of Who Was in Charge on 9/11
Central to the Report’s analysis of the U.S. failure to stop the 9/11 attacks was the claim that crisis management on that day was decentralized among three independent teleconferences, in the FAA, White House, and National Military Command Center or NMCC; for this reason the government failed to generate a timely and coordinated response to the hijackings.
However it is pretty clear that the two most important orders of that day, an order grounding planes, and a later shoot-down order, were both issued to all three teleconferences from a single source. The source was the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, or PEOC, in the bunker underneath the White House, where Dick Cheney was presiding.
Cheney himself told Tim Russert of NBC on September 16, 2001, only five days later, that from the PEOC “I was in a position to be able to see all the stuff coming in, receive reports and then make decisions in terms of acting with it.” I shall argue that this early account by Cheney of his central role is far more accurate than his later account, in which he claimed to have arrived in the PEOC after most of the important decisions had already been made.