Political News

Former 9/11 commission chair sees parallel to riot aftermath: 'There was a lot of confusion about what happened'

Posted February 16, 2021 2:46 p.m. EST

— The former chair of the 9/11 commission former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean said on CNN that there was not an agreed upon set of facts at the start of the commission into September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, providing important context on where a new commission under consideration into the violent insurrection at the Capitol last month would start.

Kean, a Republican who was governor of New Jersey in the 1980s, said the environment that a new commission set to examine the January 6 riot, in which there is not a universal set of facts around the timeline of security and intelligence failures that led to the violent breach of the Capitol, is similar to how his team started when investigating 9/11.

"When we started the 9/11 work, there were not an accepted set of facts," Kean told CNN's Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto. "There was a lot of confusion about what happened, who did it, how it happened, how it was allowed to happen. A lot of arguments around the country. A lot of articles. And we had to do, you know, we had to do almost a two-year investigation to determine the facts. The first thing we had to do was get that set of facts right. Once we had the set of facts right, then we could make our recommendations to make the country safer."

Vice chair former Rep. Lee Hamilton said the commission created to look into the events of January 6 must be bipartisan.

"We live at a time of very intense partisanship," Hamilton said on CNN. "But there are times where you have to come together. You have to put aside the partisanship and look at the problem or the challenge from the standpoint of what's best for the country. Tom and I believe very much now is a time when we have to come together. We have to understand what the facts were on that awful day."

Hamilton also said on CNN that it is "critically important" for the commission designed to examine the violent insurrection on January 6 have subpoena power.

"There are all kinds of investigations that are set up in Washington," Hamilton said. "But if you're really going to be serious, you're going to have to get information from people who don't want to give it to you. And you have to have the power to force them to give you the information."

The comments follow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcement in a letter to House Democrats on Monday plans for the creation of a "9/11-type commission" to investigate the attack on the US Capitol.

"To protect our security, our security, our security, our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to 'investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021 domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex,'" Pelosi wrote.

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