- Congressional leaders have told the White House that
it need fear nothing at least until the new year.
- The reasons are partly procedural, but are mostly to
do with patriotism. It has been deemed a bad idea to start finger-pointing
at the CIA in particular when the country is at a crucial phase of the
war in Afghanistan.
- The hearings, when they get under way, will inevitably
be closely watched and are already being compared to the inquiries held
on Capitol Hill in response to the Pearl Harbor attack 50 years ago.
- At least two sets of hearings are likely on the Hill,
one by the Senate side of the US Congress and one by the House of
- There has also been talk of a separate blue-ribbon
panel being established to run an independent investigation into why the
country was taken so completely by surprise on 11 September.
- Senator Bob Graham, head of the Senate intelligence
told The New York Times: "It is very important that there be a
and thoughtful investigation, looking at a wide range of issues
law enforcement, immigration and domestic preparation. But just a few weeks
after 11 September is not the time to do it."
- The CIA is expected to be especially bruised by the
- Questions are also certain to be asked about the degree
of attention that was paid to the threat from the al-Qa'ida organisation
both by President Bill Clinton, under whose leadership the American
in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked in 1998, and by the Republican
of President Bush.
- Congressional leaders are wary of beginning a process
that may seem to undermine national unity at a time of war.
- Additionally, many of the people who would be required
to appear before the panels are involved in both the war in Afghanistan
and the world-wide hunt for al-Qa'ida operatives, which was launched after
- Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing
for a separate hearing into the aggressive moves by the Attorney General,
John Ashcroft, to broaden the government's powers to fight terrorism, while
sweeping aside some traditional civil rights cherished in the land of the
Site Served by TheHostPros