Plagued by miscommunication and confusion, US aviation and military officials were entirely unprepared for the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the 9/11 Commission reported yesterday.
In its final public hearing, the commission detailed a series of communications breakdowns at the White House, Pentagon and Federal Aviation Administration so severe that jet fighters were sent to chase phantom aircraft while real airliners crashed undisturbed into their targets, killing nearly 3,000 people.
The top commander at NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command told the commission that the military could have shot down the hijacked planes that subsequently hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon if it had received more timely information from the FAA.
We’ll have more on this in a few minutes.
The newly appointed Iraqi Defense Minister said Iraq is considering declaring martial law in response to a pair of car bombings on Thursday that killed 41 and injured 150. House-to-house searches may also take place to look for the killers.
The Minister Hazem al-Shalan said, “We will cut off the hands of those people, we will slit their throats if it is necessary to do so”
A federal grand jury has indicted a private contractor working for the CIA for beating to death a detainee in Afghanistan. This marks the first time a civilian has faced criminal charges related to the detainee torture scandal.
Meanwhile in Iraq, the US military has charged an army officer with the murder of a follower of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to stop exempting the U.S. from international prosecution for war crimes in part because of the abuses carried out by US forces in Iraq.
Annan said on Thursday “It would be unfortunate for one to press for such an exemption, given the prisoner abuse in Iraq. It would be even more unwise on the part of the Security Council to grant it. It would discredit the council and the United Nations that stands for rule of law and the primacy of rule of law.” The current exemption for the U.S. ends on June 30.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting the Republican-led Senate has voted down an amendment by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy that would have made war profiteering a crime. The Senate also rejected a proposal to prohibit private contractors from interrogating detainees.
A new poll commissioned by Mother Jones magazine has found that 95 percent of African-Americans feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. The poll found the overall percentage of Americans who felt that way was 62 percent.
On the campaign front, 22 Democratic members of Congress have co-signed a letter to John Kerry urging him to select Senator John Edwards as his running mate over former House minority leader Richard Gephardt. This according to a report in The Hill.
In New Hampshire, 94-year-old Doris Haddock, better known as Granny D, has announced she will challenge Republican Judd Gregg for his Senate seat.