Secrecy Surrounds 9/11 Investigation

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A member of the commission investigating the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington said he will push for “a wide-ranging, aggressive” probe that includes interviews with a less-than-cooperative White House. But how forthcoming will the Bush administration be when the president’s own brother’s name comes up in conversation.

The panelist, retired Democratic Congressman Tim Roemer, told Time.com that the investigation must go beyond the House-Senate inquiry that was chiefly notable for its inability to interview top-level members of the Bush administration. Officials such as Donald Rumsfelt, John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice “were not questioned directly about issues related to the Setpember 11 attacks,” an oversight Roemer said needs to be corrected.

But getting White House cooperation will not be easy, said Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), who sponsored legislation creating the commission. The Bush administration, he said, “slow-walked and stonewalled” the congressional inquiry. “I don’t see how you can have a thorough investigation without talking to the people who were in charge throughout the time period prior to 9/11,” he said.

Such an investigation could reveal some embarrassing Bush family connections with a company “that intersected the weapons and targets on a day of national tragedy.” As Margie Burns reports in The American Reporter, an electronic daily newspaper, Marvin P. Bush, the president’s younger brother, was a principal in a company called Securacom that provided security for the World Trade Center, United Airlines, and Dulles International Airport. The company, Burns noted, was backed by KuwAm, a Kuwaiti-American investment firm on whose board Marvin Burns also served.

Securacom has since changed its name to Stratesec, but is still backed by KuwAm. Marvin Bush, who did not respond to repeated interview requests from The American Reporter, is no longer on the board of either company and has not been linked with any terrorist activities.

According to Wayne Black, head of a Florida-based security firm, it is somewhat unusual for a single firm to handle security for both an airline and a airport. It’s also unusual for a firm linked so closely with a foreign-owned company to handle security on such a “sensitive” international airport as Dulles. “When you have a security contract, you know the inner workings of everything,” he said. “Somebody knew somebody,” he added, or the contract would have been scrutinized more carefully.

Marvin Bush’s alleged connections to these companies may shed new light on the Bush administration’s determination in the days after 9/11 to push legislation protecting foreign-owned security companies in the Homeland Security bill. These and other issues will be taken up this week, when Roemer and his colleagues convene the commission’s first meeting.