“The loss of democracy”: the head of the September 11 commission on the Republican rejection of January 6 | Violation of the US Capitol
The 9/11 Commission chief said that the failure of Guardian senators to initiate a similar investigation into the January 6 insurgency on Capitol Hill was “the loss of democracy.”
Thomas Kean led a bipartisan team that held public hearings, studied confidential information, interviewed two presidents and pushed back conspiracy theories by producing a 567-page report on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
The former Republican governor of New Jersey pleaded for an equivalent commission to study the Capitol Riot, but that effort was thwarted on Friday when Senate Republicans used their first legislative flibust of Joe Biden’s presidency, preventing Democrats to obtain the majority of 60 votes necessary to set up the panel.
“It saddens me because there was no real and public reason to refuse it,” Kean, 86, said by phone from Far Hills, New Jersey. “I guess some people were afraid of what they would find out. This is not a good reason to refuse it.
“I think if done right, the 9/11 Commission methodology works and could have worked to find out everything about this particular event. Why these people invaded the Capitol, who they were, who they were allied with. Was it a big conspiracy? Was there a plan to do anything in the future? Why was the Capitol not better defended?
Kean added, “These are all questions we may never get answered. It’s time we found out and I’m sorry we didn’t. It is a mistake and it is the loss of a country and the loss of a democracy.
Kean was appointed chairman of the 9/11 Commission by George W. Bush. Most of its recommendations were implemented by Congress, including the need for more information sharing between agencies, under the leadership of a single national director.
Kean believes the commission’s work, including cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, offered a valuable blueprint.
“I think when you find something that works,” he says, “it’s not a bad thing to duplicate it. There are a lot of things that don’t work and didn’t work – they shouldn’t be reproduced – but this is what worked.
“We have told the story of the 9/11 attacks, which is now used as a college textbook, and no one has really contradicted any of the major facts in it.
“We made 41 recommendations, most of which were adopted by Congress. We have had the biggest reorganization of government in years and the point is, there has been no such thing since. The structure we have put in place seems to be working. “
Kean also supports efforts to create a Covid-19 commission to learn from the United States’ mismanagement of the pandemic. But he suspects it could possibly be done by the private sector rather than the government.
Some commentators have described January 6, 2021 as America’s darkest day since September 11, 2001. The nation was stunned when a crowd of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt Biden’s certification as the winner of the presidential election. Five people died.
Democrats pushed for a commission that would review same-day law enforcement decisions, intelligence and security planning failures and the Pentagon’s response, as well as Trump’s role before and during the chaos.
In a speech to the White House on January 6, Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell” to support his lie that his defeat was the result of electoral fraud. He was indicted for inciting insurgency, but was acquitted when only seven Republican senators voted for his guilt.
Legislation to create the commission was passed by the House with 35 Republican supporters, but on Friday only six Republican senators voted in favor. Five of the six also voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial.
The result of the Jan.6 commission attempt immediately fueled criticism that the Republican Party had accorded loyalty to Trump before curing democracy.