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Congressional Report on Sept. 11 Attacks Sharply Criticizes Intelligence Agencies - 2003-07-24


The joint congressional committee that investigated the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States is to formally release its report on the probe later Thursday. The document is not expected to identify any leading cause of the attacks, but will likely criticize intelligence agencies for mishandling information.

The report, which was leaked to several news organizations in recent days, is expected to sharply criticize intelligence services for failing to share and act on information in the months prior to the attacks.

But the document, containing some 900 pages, reportedly says that despite the failures, there is no evidence the government could have prevented the attacks.

Some 3,000 people were killed when hijackers flew planes into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside of Washington, and a Pennsylvania field that September day.

Sixteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, but the declassified report is not expected to answer questions about the role of Saudi Arabia in the attacks. The Bush administration has insisted on keeping that portion of the report classified.

Senator Bob Graham, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Democratic presidential candidate, says the administration is using national security to prevent the release of the information so as not to embarrass a key ally.

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