A published report says the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was tracking two of the hijackers involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks months before the tragedy. But the article in Newsweek magazine also says the CIA never shared this information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation the FBI.
Newsweek says the CIA knew the two men had ties to Osama bin Laden, and tracked them in the United States.
In an issue that appears on news stands Monday, Newsweek details the way the CIA became aware of the two, starting in 2000 and tracked their activities.
But the magazine says the CIA did nothing with the information, neglecting to share it with both the FBI and U.S. immigration officials.
Attorney General John Ashcroft was asked about the report during an appearance on American television. He told the "Fox News Sunday" program that he had just seen the article, and had not read it thoroughly. Nonetheless, he acknowledged better coordination is needed.
"We are at war. We need to seize on every possibility for preventing additional attacks. That is our strategy," he said. "That is our responsibility, and we need to coordinate the activities between our agencies."
The lack of coordination prior to September 11 is one issue that will be investigated in days to come by the congressional intelligence committees. The House and Senate panels open closed-door hearings on Tuesday.