Executives Failed to Correct Errors
conducted by the Transportation Department's acting Inspector
General (IG) found that three FAA executives (one now retired) knew
after the fact that testimony presented to the 9/11 Commission in
2003 was, in fact, false, but they made no effort to correct
Acting on complaints from the independent 9/11 Commission,
acting IG Todd Zinser conducted a two-year investigation,
publishing his findings in a report released Friday, 1 Sep 2006. As
reported by the New York Times, Zinser noted -- in direct
contradiction to 9/11 commission testimony given -- the FAA and the
USAF were not in immediate communication after the first of two
aircraft struck the World Trade Center. In fact, they weren't in
contact for over 50 minutes.
The FAA testimony in question, given before the 9/11 commission
in 2003, claimed the FAA had immediately contacted the USAF. In
fact, NORAD even went so far as to claim they were in a position to
shoot down Flight 93, which crashed in rural PA after passengers
took steps to wrest control of the aircraft from the terrorist
While the report urges disciplinary action for the two
executives still actively serving, no evidence was found to prove
any of the executives acted to knowingly mislead the 9/11
Commission. This mirrors a report made last month by the USAF IG
claiming similar errors in testimony provided by military officers
could be attributed to poor record-keeping.
The FAA has declined to identify the three executives or what,
if any, disciplinary action is to be taken.
Commission members expressed concern the investigation had taken
so long. Richard Ben Veniste, a commission member, said the IG's
investigation had taken “more time than it took the 9/11
commission to complete all of its work." He also questioned the
decision to release the report on the Friday before Labor Day.
The 9/11 Commission was highly critical of the government's
immediate repsonse to the hijackings finding "widespread confusion"
within the FAA and the military.