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Sept. 11 Panel Holding Final Hearings

The commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks holds its final hearings Wednesday and Thursday, with plans to cover the plot carried out by the 19 hijackers and the emergency response by the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. air defenses. Panel members say they will delve into the actions of the nation’s top leaders during critical moments of the attacks. Among the expected findings: The nation’s air defense was woefully outdated, focused more on intercepting Soviet bombers than hijacked airliners. The hijackers might have planned a strike date for months earlier but delayed it, giving U.S. authorities a last chance to detect the plot. Confusion and miscommunication among agencies reigned during the attacks, hindering a response. “We’re going to talk about the evolution of al-Qaida and how they moved from one type of organization in the late 1980s to a more fast-acting, poisonous organization in the 1990s, more spread out and dispersed,” said Timothy Roemer, a Democratic commissioner and former representative from Indiana. Full Story

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