GOP politicizes 9/11 for its gain, McKinney says

by David Ho
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Friday, Sept 10, 2004
Link to Original

NEW YORK—Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney accused Republicans on Thursday of exploiting the memory of Sept. 11, 2001, for political gain and repeated her implication that truths about the attacks remain untold.

The DeKalb County Democrat, who is running to reclaim the 4th District congressional seat, was voted out two years ago after making controversial comments about the Sept. 11 attacks during a radio interview. She implied that the Bush administration had known the attacks were coming but did nothing to prevent them.

On Thursday, she chaired a hearing staged by activist groups and researchers who say the government has covered up information related to the hijackings.

“No organization, no administration, no forces, no powers that be are going to crush the truth of what happened on Sept. 11 to the ground,” she vowed.

She said the New York event, dubbed the “Omissions Hearings,” had “no political agenda other than the truth.” By contrast, she said, the Republicans who came to Manhattan to hold their national convention last week “stormed into New York City, their words dripping with the politicization of an American tragedy.”

McKinney’s Republican opponent, Catherine Davis, said in a telephone interview that it is “really unfortunate that the former congresswoman from Georgia has not been able to bring herself to stand with our government, with our troops when we have an open declaration of war against the terrorists.”

McKinney said she would not back off the issue just because she’s trying to reclaim her former office.

“I’m not going to become a different person,” she said. “It would be a betrayal to my constituents and to all of the supporters.”

The hearing was sponsored by 9/11 CitizensWatch and, groups that say the official Sept. 11 commission report contains “egregious omissions, discrepancies and distortions.” They told an audience of about 100 that the investigations must continue.

“The 9/11 commission report failed to answer the majority of questions posed by victims’ family members,” said Kyle Hence, communications director of 9/11 CitizensWatch. He said unanswered questions concerning the attacks include those about “multiple specific warnings from overseas, the spiking of FBI investigations, terrorist financing, the lack of defensive air response and the inadequately explained breakdown of the national chain of command that morning.”

The hearing’s speakers included a broad group of critics who blame the Bush administration for the attacks and the handling of the aftermath. Their positions ranged from accusations of neglect to outright involvement in the hijackings.

Hence cited a Zogby International poll that 9/ sponsored and released on the eve of the Republican convention that found 49 percent of New York City residents said some U.S. leaders “knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act.”

McKinney praised New Yorkers for “not being bamboozled into submission by questionable, insider, back-room characters who want to take away our freedoms.”

She said more public hearings are needed to explore issues the Sept. 11 commission and the Bush administration have failed to address.