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9/11 Commission Memo: 'Executive Branch Minders' Intimidation of Witnesses'

9/11 Commission Memo: 'Executive Branch Minders' Intimidation of Witnesses'

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Published by 911DocumentArchive
This memo, entitled “Executive Branch Minders’ Intimidation of Witnesses,” complains that:

* Minders “answer[ed] questions directed at witnesses;”

* Minders acted as “monitors, reporting to their respective agencies on Commission staffs lines of inquiry and witnesses’ verbatim responses.” The staff thought this “conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution;” and

*Minders “positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions.”

The Memo is from Team 2, Box 6, "Memo Concerning Minders Conduct" Folder - see the finding aid:
archives.gov/legislative/research/9-11/finding-aid.pdf

If the Memo appears fuzzy, download it.

For commentary on this Memo, see the blog post at HCGroups.Wordpress.com:

Newly Released Memo: Government ‘Minders’ at 9/11 Commission Interviews ‘Intimidated’ Witnesses by Kevin Fenton
http://hcgroups.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/newly-released-memo-government-‘minders’-at-911-commission-interviews-‘intimidated’-witnesses/
This memo, entitled “Executive Branch Minders’ Intimidation of Witnesses,” complains that:

* Minders “answer[ed] questions directed at witnesses;”

* Minders acted as “monitors, reporting to their respective agencies on Commission staffs lines of inquiry and witnesses’ verbatim responses.” The staff thought this “conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution;” and

*Minders “positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions.”

The Memo is from Team 2, Box 6, "Memo Concerning Minders Conduct" Folder - see the finding aid:
archives.gov/legislative/research/9-11/finding-aid.pdf

If the Memo appears fuzzy, download it.

For commentary on this Memo, see the blog post at HCGroups.Wordpress.com:

Newly Released Memo: Government ‘Minders’ at 9/11 Commission Interviews ‘Intimidated’ Witnesses by Kevin Fenton
http://hcgroups.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/newly-released-memo-government-‘minders’-at-911-commission-interviews-‘intimidated’-witnesses/

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: 911DocumentArchive on Mar 15, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/10/2014

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Mail::
Sent Items: Memo concerning Exec.
Br.
"minders" Page
1 of 1
95.96MB
/476.84MB
(20.12%)
Date:
Thu,
2 Oct 2003 17:23:52
-0400
From:
""
<glederman@9-11commission.gov>^
To:
""
<dmarcus@9-11commission.gov><P,""
<sdunne@9-11commission.gov>4|
Cc:
""
<kscheid@9-11commission.gov>^,""
<lfenner@9-11commission.gov>#
Subject:
Memo concerning Exec.
Br.
"minders"
Part
(
s
)
:
[ip]
2
Memo
on
Minders'
conduct
10-02-2003.doc
application/msword
23.27
KB
|U
Dan
and
Steve,
Per
your
request,
attached
is a
memorandum
concerning
the
effect
of
minders'
presence
at our
interviews.
The
memorandum
also contains
suggested
principles
to
govern minders
in the
future.
Best
regards,
Gordon
http://kmesis.swishmail.com./webmail/imp/message.php?actionID=148&mailbox=INBOX.S...
10/2/03
 
COMMISSION
SENSITIVE
TO: Dan Marcus and Steve DunneFROM: Kevin Scheid, Col. Lorry
Fenner,
andGordonLedermanDATE: October
2,
2003
RE:
Executive Branch Minders' IntimidationofWitnesses
During
the course of Team 2's and other teams' interviews, we have observed three trendsconcerning
the
Executive Branch's representatives
("minders")
at
those interviews.First, agencies lack a common understanding of the minders' purpose in our interviews.Agencies' perspectives include:(1)mindersasagency representatives, ensuring thatCommission staff abide
by the
agreement between
the
Executive Branch
and the
Commission on the substantive scope of the Commission's inquiry; (2) minders asparticipants in the interviews, answering questions directed at witnesses; (3) minders asagency monitors, reporting
to
their
respective
agencies on
Commission
staffs
lines
of
inquiry and
witnesses' verbatim responses;
(4)
minders
as
counselors,
for
witnesses
to
consult during interviews; and (5) minders as recorders of action-items generated duringinterviews, such as transmitting documents
offered
by witnesses to Commission
staff.
Wesuggest that Dan Levin give the agencies a common understanding of the purpose ofminders' presence
at
interviews.Second, minders have on occasion answered questions directed to witnesses. Critical to
our
investigation
is
determining
not
just
how the
Intelligence Community
is
supposed
to
function
pursuantto itspoliciesandproceduresbutalsohow theIntelligence Community
functions
in actuality. When we have asked witnesses about certain roles and
responsibilities
within
the
Intelligence Community, minders have preempted
witnesses'
responses
by referencing
formal
polices and procedures. As a result, witnesses have notresponded to our questions and have deprived us
from
understanding the IntelligenceCommunity's actual functioning
and
witnesses'
view
of
their roles
and
responsibilities.
Third, minders have positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in amanner that
we
believe intimidates witnesses
from
giving
full
and
candid responses
to our
questions. Minders generally have sat next to witnesses at the table and across
from
Commission
staff,
conveying
to
witnesses that minders
are
participants
in
interviews
andare
of equal status to witnesses. Moreover, minders take verbatim notes of witnesses'statements, which we believe conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review theirstatements
and may
engage
in
retribution.
We
believe
that
the net
effect
of
minders'
conduct, whether intentionally or not, is to intimidate witnesses and to interfere withwitnesses providing
full
and candid responses. Moreover, the minders' verbatim note-taking facilitates
agencies
in
alerting
future
witnesses
to the
Commission's lines
of
inquiry
and
permits agencies to prepare
future
witnesses either explicitly or implicitly.We request that you raise the subject of minders' conduct with the Executive Branch inorder to prevent minders from comporting themselves in these
ways
in the
future.
Perhaps
the
attached statement of principles might help
define
minders' roles and conduct. Welook
forward
to your assistance. Thank you.
COMMISSION
SENSITIVE
 
COMMISSION
SENSITIVE
Principles Governing Executive Branch Representatives Attending InterviewsConducted By The National Commission On Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States
(1)
The purpose of having Executive Branch representatives
('minders')
attend interviews
is
to ensure that Commission
staffs'
questions are within areas of inquiry negotiatedbetween the Administration and the Commission. If a minder believes that a questionviolates that agreement, then that minder should object immediately.
(2)
Only one minder may attend an interview even if the witness served in multipleagencies. Commission
staff
may question such a witness during one interview abouthis or her service at any of those agencies. The Executive Branch shall ascertain priorto each interview whether the witness has served in more than one agency and shall
decidewhich agency
shall send
a
minder
to
attend
the
interview.(3) TheAmbassadoror theDeputy ChiefofMission shall designatetheminderforconsultations between Commission
staff
and foreign governments representativesoutsideof the United States. The Department of State shall designate the minder for
such
consultations within
the
United States. Commission
staff
may
invite otherExecutive Branch representatives to attend such consultations.(4)Former employeesof theExecutive Branchmayelecttohaveaminder
from
theExecutiveBranch attend their interview.
(5)
Commission
staff
shall begintheinterviewat thescheduled timeandneednotwaitfora tardy minder.
(6)
Minders may not answer questions directed at the witnesses. A minder wishing toconvey information
to
Commission
staff
shall
do so in
writing
after
the
interview.(7) Minders shall keepa
'low
profile'
duringtheinterview, suchas bypositioningthemselves behind the witnesses so that the witnesses cannot see them. In any event,minders shall
sit
where directed
by
Commission
staff.
(8)
Minders may not take verbatim notes of interviews, and Commission
staff
will so
inform
thewitnesses.
(9) If awitness wishestoconsult
with
the minder,
then
the
witness
may
request
a
momentary pause of the interview.
(10)
If aminder violatesany ofthese provisions, then Commission
staff
maysuspendandreschedule the interview and bar that minder from any
future
interviews.
COMMISSION
SENSITIVE

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