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Graham: 9/11 study hindered

©Associated Press
May 9, 2002

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department and CIA are not being fully cooperative with Congress' investigation into how the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks escaped detection, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.

Some documents are not being turned over and interviews of potential witnesses are taking place in intimidating circumstances, Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., told reporters. He said committee officials intend to present their complaints personally to Attorney General John Ashcroft and CIA director George Tenet.

"We thought we had from those highest levels the kind of assurances we would get cooperation," Graham said.

Justice Department and FBI officials could not be reached late Wednesday to respond to Graham's criticism. Graham acknowledged Justice officials told the committee that disclosing some documents could interfere with criminal investigations, but Graham said the committee regularly deals with classified materials and there's no chance those documents will be made public.

CIA spokesman Bill Harlow described the agency's cooperation with the investigation as "extensive, extraordinary and unprecedented."

"We've given them access to thousands of highly classified documents," he said. "We've given them briefings. We've given them information we have assembled, which, without our efforts, they would be unable to find. We've housed members of their staff in our headquarters. We've done all these things while we're fighting a war."

Graham said the committee may exercise its subpoena power to force cooperation.

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