CIA ‘impeded 9/11 panel’s inquiry’

The CIA has purposely impeded the Sep. 11 Commission’s inquiry by withholding interrogation videos, say the two chairmen of the panel.

The CIA ‘clearly obstructed’ the Commission’s investigation, said Lee H. Hamilton.

“I don’t know whether that’s illegal or not, but it’s certainly wrong,” said Thomas H. Kean, other Chairman of the Commission.

A CIA spokesman has claimed that the commission staff members never specifically asked for the videos.

A seven-page memorandum prepared by Philip D. Zelicow, the panel’s former executive director, recounts a meeting on December 2003 between Hamilton and George Tenet, then the director of the agency.

In the meeting, Hamilton told Tenet that the CIA should provide all relevant documents even if the Commission had not specifically asked for them.

According to the memorandum, Tenet in response to Hamilton made no mention of the videotapes of interrogations.

The memorandum reiterates that federal law penalizes anyone who knowingly and willfully withholds or covers up a material fact from a federal inquiry or makes any false statement to investigators.