9/11 Panel Looks at Military
While missteps by the CIA and FBI have come under harsh public scrutiny by a commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, the independent panel is quietly amassing evidence of a decade of failures by a third institution: the Pentagon. The nation’s military has so far largely escaped criticism for its counter-terrorism performance in the years leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. But sources familiar with the commission’s inner workings said the panel increasingly believes the Pentagon failed to adequately respond to the growing military threat of Al Qaeda. They said Pentagon ineffectiveness in both the Clinton administration and the current Bush administration was as much to blame for permitting the Sept. 11 attacks as inept law enforcement and intelligence efforts, a conclusion shared by many current and former U.S. officials and counter-terrorism experts.