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Sept. 11 commission seeks classified papers from intelligence committees

The independent commission on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is trying to get a half-million pages of documents compiled by the House and Senate intelligence committees. The commission’s vice chairman, former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, said Friday he is working with the Justice Department and the FBI to obtain or examine the documents, many of which are classified. The law creating the commission requires it to begin by reviewing the work of the joint congressional inquiry, which held five weeks of public hearings last year. That panel found that organizational problems and human failings prevented intelligence agencies from unraveling the Sept. 11 terrorist plot. Hamilton said three members of his commission have obtained security clearances so far, and the White House is working to expedite the others. But even for people with such clearances, he said, “it’s no easy task” to gain access to classified information compiled by the intelligence committees. The commission’s chairman, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, said law enforcement agencies want assurances that no information that could compromise investigations will be released. Full Story

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