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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Congressional Committee Report on 9/11 Due Out Tomorrow

Aired July 23, 2003 - 19:28   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has learned that the final congressional report on September 11, 2001 will reveal new information about the pre-9/11 activities of two of the hijackers from San Diego.
Now the report also reveals that several men already under investigation by the FBI had dealings with these hijackers. The full report is due out tomorrow. Our congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl, has a preview of it from Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The long-awaited report on the September 11 intelligence failures includes revelations about several missed opportunities one of the report's Democratic co-authors says could have allowed the FBI to uncover the 9/11 plot before it was too late.

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It would have been avoided if our agencies had been less turf protected, if they'd been more communicative, if they'd been more creative in their analysis of intelligence and information that they had, and had had a little bit of luck.

KARL: But Graham's charge appears to be contradicted by the report itself. According to sources who have seen the report, it includes, quote, "This inquiry has uncovered no intelligence information in the possession of the intelligence community prior to the attacks of September 11 that, if fully considered, would have provided specific advance warning of the details of those attacks."

No specific warning, but the nearly 900-page report reveals several blown chances to track the hijackers before they acted. Exhibit A, hijackers al-Midhar and al-Hazmi, although the CIA knew about their ties to al Qaeda, they did not tell the FBI until three weeks before September 11.

And it may have been possible for the FBI to track the hijackers. They came into contact with three people under FBI investigation after moving to San Diego in January 2000. And while living in San Diego, they actually rented a room in a house of an FBI informant.

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D-IN), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If FBI agents in San Diego are not aware of other information that the bureau possesses, or the CIA does not inform the bureau of information they have, then it's very difficult to protect our country in a coordinated manner.

KARL: But government sources tell CNN that the hijackers did not tell any of those under FBI investigation about the plot.

REP. RICHARD BURR (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Hindsight is a wonderful tool, but I'm not sure that we understand the connection of the dots well enough to look at it and say, Had we done this, this couldn't have happened. I don't think we reached that conclusion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: A section of the report exploring ties between the hijackers and the government of Saudi Arabia was censored, after the administration cited national security concerns. Sources who have seen the uncensored report tell CNN that the section is highly critical of the Saudi government, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Jonathan Karl, appreciate the report.

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