The FAA has taken the 9/11 Commission’s document requests very seriously from the outset, recognizing the Commission’s important mission…
The FAA has taken the 9/11 Commission’s document requests very seriously from the outset, recognizing the Commission’s important mission, and has been cooperative and responsive during each step of the investigation. In responding to the Commission’s initial requests, the FAA followed long-established precedent for the investigation of major airline accidents and incidents including highjackings and immediately provided the Commission with responsive files relating to the events of September 11. We now recognize that these procedures, though historically adequate in the context of most aviation accidents, were not satisfactory to the Commission and its staff. No documents were ever knowingly with held from the Commission.
The Commission only recently advised the FAA as to its concerns about the scope of the document production. Immediately upon learning of these concerns, the FAA reviewed its document response and began the process of supplementing the materials provided to the Commission. The agency has also pledged, again, its full cooperation with the Commission. As recently as yesterday, the Administrator directed each member of the FAA management team to ensure that the agency’s response to the Commission’s requests be given the highest priority.
As a result of the FAA’s ongoing efforts, which were coordinated with Commission staff, the Commission has now been provided with approximately 40 boxes of documents containing 150,000 pages of information that is responsive to the Commission’s requests. Approximately 80 interviews have been conducted at five of our busiest ATC facilities to date with more being scheduled. The FAA has reproduced nearly 300 air traffic control tapes involving over 230 hours of recorded conversations.
The FAA has also volunteered top air traffic experts to help the Commission sift through voluminous documentation, including complex radar data, in the search for germane information.
Given the agency’s voluntary cooperation with the Commission, we are surprised by the Commission’s decision to formally subpoena the agency’s records, a step we regard as unnecessary. The agency will respond fully to the subpoena as it continues to work with the Commission. The FAA has also requested a meeting with the Commission to hear what concerns it may have.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.