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Congress Probes Pre-Sept. 11 Security Lapses


Congressional hearings into the September 11 attacks resume Wednesday behind closed doors. Lawmakers are expected to focus on more substantive issues, after procedural matters were discussed at the opening session Tuesday.

Congressional staff members are to brief lawmakers on specific issues gleaned from pouring over tens of thousands of documents.

A joint House-Senate Intelligence panel is looking into intelligence lapses prior to September 11 and ways to prevent future attacks. On Tuesday, lawmakers agreed on goals for the hearings, and discussed how to proceed with their investigation.

"We are developing a lot of material," said Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida is Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, "which we are now putting together like a jigsaw puzzle to say what does this all mean, and then come to the really important questions of what lessons are to be learned from this, and how can we apply those lessons to reduce the chances of another September 11th."

The hearings follow news reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency failed to respond adequately to warning signs of possible terrorist activity before September 11.

President Bush acknowledged Tuesday that the two agencies did not share crucial information prior to September 11. But he also said there was no evidence the attacks could have been averted if agencies had worked together better.

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