Part of US September 11 commission report has not been released
NEW YORK (AFP) - The US Justice Department has reportedly not released a final chapter of the September 11 commission's report related to conflicting accounts of efforts to track and chase the jets hijacked that day, and is unlikely to do so before Tuesday's presidential vote.
Meeting a pre-election deadline for release of the full report had been a top commission priority, The New York Times report stressed.
"Drawing from this unpublished part of the inquiry, the commission quietly asked the inspectors general at the Departments of Defense and Transportation to review what it had determined were broadly inaccurate accounts provided by several civil and military officials about efforts to track and chase the hijacked aircraft on September 11," the newspaper said.
"In testimony before the commission, officials had described a quick response to the hijackings that narrowly missed intercepting some of the planes, but the commission's investigators later determined from documentary evidence that none of the military planes were anywhere near the four airliners," the report added.
"Officials at the Federal Aviation Administration testified that they had notified the military within a few minutes of each hijacking, but the investigation found that tape recordings contradicted that assertion," it noted.
The paper quoted David Barnes, a spokesman with the Department of Transportation, as saying that if the reviews found wrongdoing, the inspector general could recommend administrative penalties or ask federal prosecutors to begin a criminal probe.
The newspaper report came as President George W. Bush and rival John Kerry accused each other of playing politics with the war on terror following the airing by the Al-Jazeera television network of a videotape from Osama bin Laden the mastermind behind September 11, 2001 strikes on New York and Washington that left some 3,000 people dead.