That's the bottom-line thesis of Anthony Summers' great new book, "The Eleventh Hour." It's not as in depth as Lawrence Wright on what led up to 9/11, but it takes a good look at the 9/11 Commission, its report, and what it did and did not look at. That includes asking why the final chapter of the commission's report is almost totally censored.
From my Goodreads review:
The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden by Anthony Summers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Seeing Anthony Summers as co-author (along with his wife) made me both excited and a bit apprehensive about this new book overviewing 9/11. Summers has done great work on Nixon, but in his “The File on the Tsar” he gave credence to conspiracy ideas, claiming that at least Anastasia, if not other daughters of Nicholas II, escaped the cellar in Ekarterinberg.
Well, I was pleasantly relieved early on. Quite so.
Summers quickly dismisses conspiracy theories about the attacks, focusing above all on the Twin Towers. On the engineering side, he refers to the authoritative NIST report. On the common-sense side, he raises the rhetorical question of how could saboteurs plant thousands of pounds of C4 or whatever inside the Twin Towers and never be caught?
The middle 50 percent of the book gives an overview of how al Qaeda came to plot this. Not too much new here, primarily a good tying together of time line issue. But, he does note one thing in conjunction with the CIA’s quasi-criminal laxness on reporting would-be 9/11 hijackers to the FBI. (Plenty on that, a fair amount of the FBI’s bad-enough laxness.)
Reportedly, the CIA may have been trying to “turn” two of the eventual hijackers in an attempt to “penetrate” al Qaeda. Oops! Beyond that, some people claim that Saudi intelligence may have been using the same duo as a go-between, to try to “control” bin Laden.
Summers thinks that of little credence. But the general idea of how much Saudis, including royals, were connected to bin Laden, before, during and after 9/11? Different story.
The final quarter of the book uses as its starting point the fact that the whole final chapter of the 9/11 Commission’s report is still censored/redacted. Why?
Summers speculates, and has a few facts to offer. The censor is George W. Bush himself; he’s acting to protect those Saudi royals. And, there’s strands of evidence to indicate they were individually funneling money to bin Laden, and staying in some sort of contact with al Qaeda members, before 9/11, close to 9/11, and possibly even afterward.
I won’t give details of that; no need for too much spoiler alert. But … read!
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