9/11 Commission mission failure; withheld key documents are owed to the American people

Update, October 5, 2019:

While nearly all of the more than 1200 memorandums for record summarizing the interviews conducted by the 9/11 Commission have been reviewed for classification, unfortunately three other key documents remain hidden — perhaps deliberately so as to avoid embarrassing officials — from the American people.

They are the 9/11 Commission’s: transcription of the ten Commissioners interviewing then President Bush and VP Cheney in the Oval Office in April 2004; 7000-word summary of a review of more than 300 related Presidential Daily Briefs to Presidents Clinton and Bush (43); and 78-page staff monograph on National Security Council work on counter-terrorism 1998 to 9/11.

Multiple FOIAs, declassification review requests, and appeals have been filed for them to no effect. We will keep trying.

— July 28, 2014 original post follows —

By January 14, 2009, only 35% of the 9/11 Commission’s staff documents had been processed by the National Archives. They are Congressional records not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. There are nearly 2,000 memorandums for record (MFRs) of the summaries and transcripts of interviews conducted by 9/11 Commissioners and staff, as well as the briefings they received.

117 MFRs are still pending declassification review. Key interviews among them illustrate the 9/11 Commissioners’ lip service last week to transparency. They briefly called for declassification on page 39 of their 49-page “update” to their original 2004 recommendations:

“The job of fully informing the American people is incomplete, however. The commission’s records, including summaries of our interviews and important intelligence and policy documents, are held by the National Archives. Some of those documents and records remain classified and are thus unavailable to the public. Authority to declassify those documents rests with the agencies that created them.”

On July 21, 2004, 9/11 Commissioners met to decide when to release this body of work. Richard Ben-Veniste asked: “Is the theory here the great cover-up of partisan differences?” The notes of the meeting do not show he received an answer. Regardless, the vote was 6 to 3 to kick the responsibility 4 1/2 years down the road. [1]

What motivated Samuel “Sandy” Berger in 2004 to steal classified documents from the National Archives while he acted as former President Bill Clinton’s designated representative to the 9/11 Commission? The answer may be within the 9/11 Commission interviews of Richard Clarke, George Tenet, and Sandy Berger held by the National Security Counsel. [See correction at Note 4].

Surely the Commission asked former CIA Director Tenet what efforts were made to alert the NSC and President Clinton on the movement of al Qaeda operatives immediately preceding and following the Millennium terrorist attacks plots.

On January 15, 2000, two known al Qaeda operatives, future 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, arrived in Los Angeles. During December 1999, the CIA had tracked their movements in Southeast Asia, observed their meeting with Walid bin Attash (now at Guantanamo awaiting military commission trial alongside Khalid Sheikh Mohammed), and covertly photocopied the open-ended U.S. visas within their passports. Beginning in March 2000 and before September 11, 2001, more than 50 people at the CIA knew they had entered the United States.

The 9/11 Commission staff also prepared a 78-page monograph of NSC counterterrorism efforts from 1998 to 9/11. Yet the 9/11 Commissioners have never publicly spoken of its existence which is not classified. I filed for declassification review of it in 2009.

In addition, there is the still classified (by the FBI) 9/11 Commission interview of former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Subsequent to my April 2009 request, a previously unheard of staff monograph was declassified in June 2009. [2] It was prepared by staffer (and former DOJ IG) Barbara Grewe on the intelligence sharing “Wall.” It concluded: “Simply put, there was no legal reason why the information could not have been shared.” Indeed. A MFR declassified and released on January 15, 2009 of 9/11 Commission staff interviews of former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick states in part:

“Gorelick said she did not know anything about how the wall was structured within the FBI. She did not believe that the FBI was required to erect a wall between intelligence and criminal agents, particularly those on the same squad and working related intelligence and criminal cases. She said she was surprised that the FBI interpreted the provisions that way.”

Strangely, the 9/11 Commissioners reminded no one that Executive Director Philip Zelikow and Commissioner Jamie Gorelick had authored a 7,000-word summary [3] of presidential daily briefs (PDBs). It is in former President George W. Bush’s records. It has been subject to declassification review by the NSC since January 20, 2014 as federal statute mandates a 5-year delay after a President leaves office. And there is the still classified MFR summarizing the President Bush-Vice President Cheney interview conducted by all 10 Commissioners.

Massive finger pointing as the WTC Pile, Pentagon, and a field outside of Shanksville still smoldered would have distracted key government personnel then scrambling to rally our Nation’s defense, and it would not well serve us now. Yet the American people must know the rest of the story. 2,978 names and the face of a 9/11 firefighter on a funeral mass card that I’ve long carried in my wallet haunt me; we owe it to them and future generations.

The 9/11 Commissioners can finally raise their voices and fulfill their charter to provide a “complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness.” I pray they do.

Originally posted on July 28, 2014

Note 1: Also present were “PZ” Philip Zelikow and “GC” General Counsel Daniel Marcus.

Note 2:
Legal Barriers to Information Sharing: The Erection of a Wall Between Intelligence and Law Enforcement Investigations
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
Staff Monograph
Barbara A. Grewe
Senior Counsel for Special Projects
August 20, 2004

Note 3: Zelikow confirmed its existence in a 2011 Reuters report.

Note 4: Tenet’s interview remains pending declassification review by the CIA while Clarke’s and Berger’s interviews are being held back by the NSC.

Ilhan Omar married her brother? The liberal media has shaded this real news story for nearly three years.

Ilhan Omar (center) with then legally married husband Ahmed Elmi (right) in 2016. Click on image to learn why this photograph matters.

There are court documents, photographs, and social media posts with which to credibly allege Ilhan Omar perjured herself in her 2017 divorce’s legal filings. That may not be her only crime. There is much that supports the assertions that in 2009 she married her biological brother with fraudulent intent and later violated federal tax law. If the investigative reporters are correct, Omar and members of her family committed immigration fraud – not once, but twice.

This is America; everyone here is innocent until proven guilty. Yet Congresswoman Omar is being shaded from scrutiny because she is the liberal media’s Muslim of color progressive Democrat poster lady. So, they didn’t report indisputable facts and they misled.

Where are the bastions of America’s free press?

The Washington Post’s motto is ‘Democracy dies in darkness.’ Yet that major newspaper has not reported or fact-checked the allegations against Ilhan Omar. Instead, they went after President Trump under the guise of political news analysis and a liberal columnist there served as her lead cheer leader (See ‘Ilhan Omar, quintessentially American’).

Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (born April 4, 1985) and Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (born October 4, 1982) married on February 12, 2009. (A Christian minister conducted the ceremony.) But the New York Times’ fact-checker failed in her only attempt to debunk the story when she wrote, “… he is also three years younger than Ms. Omar, whose mother died when she was 2 years old.” As you can see, Elmi was born 30 months after Omar while she was 2 years old.

The “fact-checkers” inexplicably did not report that: In 2008, four months before Ilhan Omar married Ahmed Elmi, the State Department stopped taking Refugee Family Reunification (Priority Three) Program applications from a list of countries – including Somalia – because DNA testing showed more than 80% of applications were fraudulent.

What indicates they are related … and about the name Omar.

Scott Johnson at PowerlineBlog.com reported that: Congresswoman Ilhan Abdullahi Omar’s name before applying for asylum was Ilhan Nur Said Elmi; her father’s name before applying for asylum was Nur Said Elmi Mohamed; and when Ahmed Elmi applied for asylum in the U.K., his name was Ahmed Nur Said Elmi. Official records in the U.K. and U.S. and multiple social media posts indicate Ahmed and Ilhan are the son and daughter of the same man: Nur Said Elmi Mohamed.

(See ‘How Somali children are named‘ – St. Cloud Times, February 22, 2016.)

Where did Ilhan get the name ‘Omar’ from? An Omar family sponsored Ilhan when she became a citizen in 2000 at age 17. In addition, the Omar family was granted asylum in the U.S. in 1995 and her father falsely claimed they were members of that family. There exists credible evidence that they gamed our immigration system.

(That alleged immigration fraud was her father’s doing as Ilhan was just a minor child of 12. While I may disagree with Congresswoman Omar’s politics, it would be cruel and inhumane to punish her for the “sins” of her father. Instead, we need to fix our immigration system.)

Minnesota records show Ahmed N. Elmi (born April 4, 1985) attended his senior year of high school there 2002 to 2003 while living with his father Nur Said Elmi Mohamed. Fast forward to 2009: Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (born April 4, 1985) married Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (born October 4, 1982) in Minnesota.

Investigative reporters discovered official records in the U.K. and U.S., that are available to the public, which layout the family relationships; they are listed here. On that same page, there are captured social media posts (since scrubbed by Ilhan et al) which further confirm those family relationships. They indicate Ilhan Omar and Ahmed Elmi are biological sister and brother.

Yet Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has adamantly refused to confirm the names of any of her siblings.

Records, photographs, and social media posts show Ilhan Omar and Ahmed Hirsi remained together continuously (a British tabloid says they split up last week) since marrying in their faith tradition in 2002. For example, on May 21, 2009 – three months after Ahmed Elmi and Omar were married – Hirsi used the same address as the one the other two used on their marriage license in his application for a license to open his ‘One to One Café’ lounge.

Ahmed Elmi attended college in North Dakota from 2009 to 2012. Ilhan Omar and Ahmed Hirsi also moved to Fargo in 2009. She attended the same university and graduated in 2011. A free press might want to determine if Ahmed Elmi applied for tuition assistance, federally backed student loans, and citizenship using his marriage license.

State and federal crimes.

In her 2017 divorce filing – submitted under penalty of perjury – Ilhan Omar claimed to the court that she had no contact with Ahmed Elmi since June 2011; that statement appears to be untrue.

In June, WCCO in Minnesota reported the state election board announced it had found that Ilhan Omar filed state joint tax forms in 2014 and 2015 with an Ahmed Hirsi while she was legally married to another man, Ahmed Elmi. She was ordered to repay the $3500 inappropriately taken from campaign funds and used for personal expenses – including to help pay for her 2017 divorce – and to pay a $500 fine. Omar expressed relief that the matter was closed. Her spokesperson added, “All of Rep. Omar’s tax filings are fully compliant with all applicable tax law.”

They hoped the story would just go away. It did not …

It is reasonable to suspect Omar and Hirsi also filed ‘married filing jointly’ federal 1040 tax forms for those two years; the IRS usually treats such filings as a crime when they are made with fraudulent intent. They might not get prosecuted for what is presumably a difference of a few hundred dollars. But conspiracy to commit benefits fraud to gain an immigration benefit is a serious federal crime (see ‘Marriage Fraud’), and the statute of limitations has not expired. 

What real journalism looks like.

Being a conservative, Republican, or Trump supporter does not make one alt-right, a sexist, or anti-Muslim any more than being a liberal, Democrat, or Muslim makes one un-American, a communist, or a terrorist. A free press would check the extensive investigative reporting done by Scott Johnson, Preya Samsundar, and David Steinberg.  

Mr. Johnson, a Minneapolis attorney, has a long record of credible investigative reporting. His articles have appeared in newspapers including the New York Times, the New York Post, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, as well as magazines including the National Review and Weekly Standard.

In 2004, Johnson was instrumental in discrediting forged documents on George W. Bush’s National Guard service. He first reported ‘The Curious Case of Ilhan Omar‘ in 2016, two years before she was elected to Congress.

Congresswoman Omar is neither above the law nor immune from scrutiny because she is a Democrat or because of her skin color, gender, and religion. Yet the liberal media has shaded the facts in this real news story for nearly three years. They act like a free press only when it suits them, and they’ve revealed their selective disdain for the Rule of Law.


Tim Sumner is retired U.S. Army and also a graduate of the DoD’s prestigious Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Class 87-3. He co-founded 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America in 2004.

Post updated at 11:11 AM, August 2, 2019.