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9/11 Commission Staff Report on
FAA Failings Published on Web

Document Updates Previous Archive Posting on
Censorship of Aviation Warnings Leading up to 9/11

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 148

Edited by Barbara Elias

February 10, 2005

Related posting

October 14, 2004
Government Censors Aviation Warnings Leading up to 9/11




Washington, D.C., February 10, 2005 - February 10, 2005 - As a result of a Freedom of Information Act appeal filed by the National Security Archive, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) corrected its October 2004 blunder of withholding the names and numbers of aviation warnings known as Information Circulars that were widely cited and quoted in the best-selling 9/11 Commission Report. In spite of this additional material, the released TSA documents continue to withhold details that were declassified in the recently released 9/11 Commission Staff Report on the pre-9/11 failings of the FAA that was the subject of a front page New York Times article by Eric Lichtblau today.

The release of documents on appeal has resulted in the disclosure of only one sentence of substance, a comment in the June 22, 2001 Information Circular, that states, "such an airline hijacking to free terrorists incarcerated in the United States, remains a concern." The sentence was released by TSA on appeal because it can be found in Chapter 8 of the 9/11 Commission Report on page 256.

The TSA continues to affirm its decision to withhold all other material in the Information Circulars as Sensitive Security Information (SSI), despite additional citations of the requested documents in the 9/11 Commission Staff Report, which is highly critical of the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to establish better security practices in response to incoming terrorism warnings.

"These Information Circulars continue to qualify as dubious secrets," said Barbara Elias, the FOIA coordinator at the National Security Archive. "It seems clear that the Transportation Security Administration did not review these documents on the basis of the information they contain, they simply redacted everything they could legally redact."

"The government is still ducking the real question, which is whether the secrecy about these warnings actually makes us safer," said Thomas Blanton, the National Security Archive director.

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