National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: Testimony (John David Ashcroft)
The veracity of the Testimony given by Attorney General John David Ashcroft before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States on April 13, 2004, has been called into question in the exclusive June 22, 2004, news story "Did Ashcroft brush off terror warnings? 9/11 commission interviews FBI officials who contradict Ashcroft testimony" by NBC's senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers.
- "The 9/11 commission is busy writing its final report, but is still investigating critical facts, including the conduct of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. NBC News has learned that the commission has interviewed two FBI officials who contradict sworn testimony by Ashcroft, about whether he brushed off terrorism warnings in the summer of 2001."
- "At issue is a July 5, 2001, meeting between Ashcroft and acting FBI Director Thomas J. Pickard. That month, the threat of an al-Qaida attack was so high, the White House summoned the FBI and domestic agencies, and warned them to be on alert.
- "Yet, Pickard testified to the 9/11 commission that when he tried to brief Ashcroft just a week later, on July 12, about the terror threat inside the United States, he got the brush-off.
- "'Mr. Ashcroft told you that he did not want to hear about this anymore,' Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste asked on April 13. 'Is that correct?'
- "'That is correct,' Pickard replied.
- "Testifying under oath the same day, Ashcroft categorically denied the allegation, saying, 'I did never speak to him saying that I didn't want to hear about terrorism.'
- "However, another senior FBI official tells NBC News he vividly recalls Pickard returning from the meeting that day furious that Ashcroft had cut short the terrorism briefing. This official, now retired, has talked to the 9/11 commission.
- "NBC News has learned that commission investigators also tracked down another FBI witness at the meeting that day, Ruben Garcia, head of the Criminal Division at that time. Several sources familiar with the investigation say Garcia confirmed to the commission that Ashcroft did indeed dismiss Pickard's warnings about al-Qaida."
- Links to Testimony Statements given by Richard Armitage, John Ashcroft, Sandy Berger, J. Cofer Black, John Brennan, Richard Clarke, Louis J. Freeh, Patrick M. Hughes, Robert Mueller, James L. Pavitt, Thomas Pickard, John S. Pistole, Colin L. Powell, Janet Reno, Condoleezza Rice, and George J. Tenet at MSNBC.com (scan down to end of article for links).