History Commons Groups

June 26, 2009

How the 9/11 Commission’s Investigation of the EPA Got Started

Filed under: 911 Environmental Impact,Document Collection — kevinfenton @ 9:42 am

A document paxvector found at the National Archives tells us how the 9/11 Commission’s investigation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) got started. The commission’s final report did not mention the EPA in its main text, but included a long endnote about it (No. 13 to Chapter 10). The document paxvector found comprises minutes from a commission meeting in the autumn of 2003, which has been posted to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. They say:

EPA/CEQ Investigation. Commissioner Ben-Veniste inquired about the status of an offer to receive pro-bono work from a private law firm in order to investigate allegations of White House interference with EPA health warnings after the 9-11 attacks. The General Counsel stated that he was reluctant to use private law firms to conduct investigative work for the Commission, and furthermore, that the matter was a relatively small investigative piece that he believed could be handled by Commission staff. The Executive Director and General Counsel agreed to develop a plan on how the investigation would be staffed.

You can find that on page 17 of the .pdf file. The General Counsel was Daniel Marcus, the Executive Director was Philip Zelikow. This indicates that the commission may not have investigated the air quality and controversial statements made by the EPA had it not been for the law firm’s offer. AFAIK the commission’s investigation of this was led by Barbara Grewe of the Special Projects team.

All the documents we find about the EPA angle of the commission’s work are grouped here (not many yet, but I’m sure there must be more).


  1. […] How the 9/11 Commission’s Investigation of the EPA Got Started […]

    Pingback by 9/11 Commission Documents Masterlist (last updated 26 June 2009) « History Commons Groups — June 26, 2009 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  2. “TO: Dan Marcus and Steve Dunne
    From: Kevin Scheid, Col. Larry Fenner, and Gordon Lederman
    Date: October 2, 2003
    RE: Executive Branch Minders’ Intimidation of Witnesses
    During the course of Team 2’s and other teams’ interviews, we have observed three trends concerning the Executive Branch’s representatives (“minders”) at those interviews.
    First, agencies lack a common understanding of the minders’ purpose in our interviews. Agencies’ perspectives include (1) minders as agency representatives, ensuring that Commission staff abide by the agreement between the Executive Branch and the Commission on the substantive scope of the Commission’s inquiry. (2) minders as participants in the interviews, answering questions directed at witnesses; (3) minders as agency monitors, reporting to their respective agencies on Commission staff’s lines of inquiry and witnesses’ verbatim responses.(4) minders as counselors, for witnesses to consult during interviews; and (5) minders as records of action-items generated during interviews, such as transmitting documents offered by witnesses to Commission staff. We suggest that Dan Levin give the agencies a common understanding of the purpose of minders’ presence at interviews.
    Second, minders have on occasion answered questions directed to witnesses. Critical to our investigation is determining not just how the Intelligence Community is supposed to function pursuant to its policies and procedures but also how the Intelligence Community functions in actuality. When we have asked witnesses about certain roles and responsibilities within the Intelligence Community, minders have prompted witnesses’ responses by referencing formal polices and procedures. As a result, witnesses have not responded to our questions and have deprived us from understanding the Intelligence Community’s actual functioning and witnesses view of their roles and responsibilities.
    Third, Minders have positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions. Minders generally have sat next to witnesses at the table and across from Commission staff, conveying to witnesses that minders are participants in interviews and are of equal status to witnesses. Moreover, minders take verbatim notes of witnesses statements, which we believe conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution. We believe that the net effect of minders’ conduct, whether intentionally or not, is to intimidate witnesses and to interfere with witnesses providing full and candid responses. Moreover, the minders’ verbatim note taking facilitates agencies in alerting future witnesses to the Commissions lines of inquiry and permits agencies to prepare future witnesses either explicitly or implicitly.
    We request that you raise the subject of minders’ conduct with the Executive Branch in order to prevent minders from imposing themselves in these ways in the future. Perhaps the attached statement of principles might help define minders roles and conduct. We look forward to your assistance. Thank you.”

    Comment by joe — July 21, 2009 @ 1:57 pm | Reply

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