In their new book “Without Precedent,” 9/11 Commission Chairmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton discuss their frustration with the Pentagon and FAA, whose misstatements almost led to an investigation into possible deception. The authors also lament the softball questioning of Rudy Giuliani, which they say damaged their report. Additionally, the book suggests that the panel nearly dissolved over whether to examine the alleged connection between the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq.
Kean and Hamilton said the commission found it mind-boggling that authorities had asserted during hearings that their air defenses had reacted quickly and were prepared to shoot down United Airlines Flight 93, which appeared headed toward Washington.
In fact, the commission determined ? after it subpoenaed audiotapes and e-mails of the sequence of events ? that the shootdown order did not reach North American Aerospace Command pilots until after all of the hijacked planes had crashed.
The book states that commission staff, “exceedingly frustrated” by what they thought could be deception, proposed a full review into why the FAA and the Pentagon’s NORAD had presented inaccurate information. That ultimately could have led to sanctions.