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9/11 panel weighed asking DOJ to probe false official testimony on plane tracking: report

[JURIST] Members of the 9/11 Commission [official website] considered asking the US Justice Department to investigate suspected deception by government officials intended to hide mistakes in the Pentagon's response to the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive], the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The commissioners contemplated possible criminal charges under 18 U.S.C. 1001 [text], which prohibits making false statements before Congress or a body constituted by Congress. Ultimately, however, the Commission referred the matter to the inspectors general for the Defense and Transportation Departments.

9/11 Commission chairman and former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean cited the North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) [official website] as an example of a group that potentially gave false testimony to the Commission. Transcripts of NORAD audio recordings [text], published by Vanity Fair on Wednesday, appear to show that NORAD had not tracked any of the airplanes used during the Sept. 11 attacks before they were crashed, contradicting testimony provided by NORAD officials. NORAD balked at releasing the tapes to the commission, which prompted the commission's concern that NORAD officials gave misleading testimony. The Washington Post has more.

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