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Profile: Thomas Kean

 
  

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Thomas Kean actively participated in the following events:

 
  

December 16, 2002: Ex-Governor Kean replaces Kissinger as Chairman of New 9/11 Commission      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Thomas Kean.
President Bush names former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean as the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission after his original choice, Henry Kissinger, resigned (see December 13, 2002). [Washington Post, 12/17/02] In an appearance on NBC, Kean promises an aggressive investigation. “It's really a remarkably broad mandate, so I don't think we'll have any problem looking under every rock. I've got no problems in going as far as we have to in finding out the facts.” [Associated Press, 12/17/02] However, Kean plans to remain president of Drew University and devote only one day a week to the commission. He also claims he would have no conflicts of interest, stating: “I have no clients except the university.” [Washington Post, 12/17/02] However, he has a history of such conflicts of interest. Multinational Monitor has previously stated: “Perhaps no individual more clearly illustrates the dangers of university presidents maintaining corporate ties than Thomas Kean,” citing the fact that he is on the Board of Directors of Aramark (which received a large contract with his university after he became president), Bell Atlantic, United Health Care, Beneficial Corporation, Fiduciary Trust Company International, and others. [Multinational Monitor, 11/97]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, George W. Bush
          

March 28, 2003: Independence of 9/11 Commission Called Into Question      Complete 911 Timeline

       An article highlights conflicts of interest amongst the commissioners on the 9/11 Commission. It had been previously reported that many of the commissioners had ties to the airline industry (see December 16, 2002), but a number have other ties. “At least three of the ten commissioners serve as directors of international financial or consulting firms, five work for law firms that represent airlines and three have ties to the US military or defense contractors, according to personal financial disclosures they were required to submit.” Bryan Doyle, project manager for the watchdog group Aviation Integrity Project says, “It is simply a failure on the part of the people making the selections to consider the talented pool of non-conflicted individuals.” Commission chairman Thomas Kean says that members are expected to steer clear of discussions that might present even the appearance of a conflict. [Associated Press, 3/28/03]
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, Bryan Doyle
          

July 8, 2003: 9/11 Commission Denounces Lack of Cooperation      Complete 911 Timeline

       A status report released by the 9/11 Commission shows that various government agencies are not cooperating fully with the investigation. Neither the CIA nor the Justice Department have provided all requested documents. Lack of cooperation on the part of the Department of Defense “[is] becoming particularly serious,” and the commission has received no responses whatsoever to requests related to national air defenses. The FBI, State Department, and Transportation Department receive generally positive reviews. [Associated Press, 7/9/03] Commissioner Tim Roemer complains, “We're not getting the kind of cooperation that we should be. We need a steady stream of information coming to us ... Instead, We're getting a trickle.” [Guardian, 7/10/03] Chairman Thomas Kean is also troubled by the Bush administration's insistence on having a Justice Department official present during interviews with federal officials. [Associated Press, 7/9/03] The 9/11 Commission is eventually forced to subpoena documents from the Defense Department and FAA (see October-November 2003).
People and organizations involved: US Department of Transportation, Bush administration, Thomas Kean, US Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tim Roemer, US Department of Defense, US Department of Justice, Central Intelligence Agency, 9/11 Commission
          

Early 2004: Weldon Fails to Convince 9/11 Commission to Look into Data Mining Programs      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Rep. Curt Weldon.
Rep. Curt Weldon (R) is not yet familiar with Able Danger, though he will help bring information about the program to light in 2005. However, he is familiar with the closely related Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) program, having had dealings with it before 9/11. He says he is frustrated at the apparent lack of understanding about programs like LIWA based on the lines of questioning at public 9/11 Commission hearings in early 2004, so, “On at least four occasions, I personally tried to brief the 9/11 Commissioners on: NOAH [Weldon's pre-9/11 suggestion to have a National Operations and Analysis Hub]; integrative data collaboration capabilities; my frustration with intelligence stovepipes; and al-Qaeda analysis. However, I was never able to achieve more than a five-minute telephone conversation with Commissioner Thomas Kean. On March 24, 2004, I also had my Chief of Staff personally hand deliver a document about LIWA, along [with] questions for George Tenet to the Commission, but neither was ever used.” [Curt Weldon Statement, 9/21/05] He says, “The next week, they sent a staffer over to pick up some additional materials about the NIWA, about the concept, and about information I had briefed them on. They never followed up and invited me to come in and meet with them. So they can't say that I didn't try.” [Curt Weldon Press Conference, 9/17/05]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Kean, George Tenet, 9/11 Commission, Land Information Warfare Activity, Curt Weldon
          

August 11, 2005: 9/11 Commission Admits Being Informed of Intelligence Unit That Identified Mohamed Atta in 2000      Complete 911 Timeline

       In response to new revelations about a military intelligence unit called Able Danger, which allegedly identified Mohamed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers more than a year before the attacks (see August 9, 2005), Al Felzenberg—formerly the chief spokesman for the 9/11 Commission—admits that a uniformed officer, when briefing two of the commission's staff members about the unit in July 2004, had indeed mentioned Mohamed Atta. [New York Times, 8/11/05] Previously, Felzenberg had said that commission staff members briefed about Able Danger in October 2003 by a different officer involved with it were informed of the program, but not told anything about Mohamed Atta or an al-Qaeda cell in the US. [New York Times, 8/9/05; New York Times, 8/11/05] Subsequently, the former leaders of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, release a statement saying that panel staff members have found no documents or other witnesses to back up the claims made by the officer in July 2004. They say, “The interviewee had no documentary evidence” to back up his claims, and that “the Commission staff concluded that the officer's account was not sufficiently reliable to warrant revision of the report or further investigation.” [Washington Post, 8/13/05; Kean-Hamilton statement, 8/12/05] The final report of the 9/11 Commission, released in July 2004, made no mention of Able Danger.
People and organizations involved: 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, Thomas Kean, Al Felzenberg, Mohamed Atta, Able Danger, al-Qaeda
          

September 13, 2005: Revised Version of 9/11's Commission's FAA Report Released; Some Material Still Blacked Out      Complete 911 Timeline

       A new version of a report by the 9/11 Commission on the FAA and 9/11, which was completed in August 2004, is publicly released. A heavily censored version of the same report came out in February 2005 (see February 10, 2005). Commission members complained that the deleted material included information crucial to understanding what went wrong on 9/11. The newly released version restores dozens of portions of the report, but numerous references to shortcomings in aviation security remain blacked out. Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the former heads of the 9/11 Commission, state: “While we still believe that the entire document could be made available to the public without damaging national security, we welcome this step forward.” Commission officials say they were perplexed by the White House's original attempts to black out material that they considered trivial or mundane. [New York Times, 09/14/05; Associated Press, 9/13/05]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Kean, Federal Aviation Administration, Lee Hamilton, 9/11 Commission
          

September 14, 2005: Former 9/11 Commission Members Dismiss Able Danger Evidence      Complete 911 Timeline

       Former members of the 9/11 Commission dismiss recent allegations regarding a secret military intelligence unit called Able Danger, which had been set up in 1999 to bring together information about al-Qaeda. Several former members of the unit have come forward claiming the program identified Mohamed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers more than a year before the attacks (see August 17, 2005; August 22-September 1, 2005). The 9/11 Commission has been criticized for not mentioning Able Danger in its final report. In response, its former chairman, Thomas Kean, claims there is no evidence that anyone in the government knew about Mohamed Atta before 9/11, and there are no documents that verify the claims made by former members of the unit. However, the Pentagon has recently confirmed that documents associated with Able Danger were destroyed in accordance with regulations about gathering intelligence on people inside the US. Another former commissioner, Slade Gorton, says, “Bluntly, it just didn't happen and that's the conclusion of all 10 of us.” But a spokesman for Rep. Curt Weldon (R), who helped bring to light the existence of the program, says that none of the commissioners met with anyone from Able Danger, “yet they choose to speak with some form of certainty without firsthand knowledge.” [Fox News, 9/16/05; Associated Press, 9/15/05] The commission's claim that no one in the US knew about Mohamed Atta before 9/11 is further contradicted by reports stating that the CIA had been tracking him while he was still in Germany, early in 2000 (see January-May 2000). And soon after 9/11, Newsweek reported US officials stating that Atta “had been known as [an associate] of Islamic terrorists” well before 9/11. [Newsweek, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Slade Gorton, Thomas Kean, Able Danger, Mohamed Atta, Curt Weldon, 9/11 Commission
          

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