1. Mid shot of Defense Departments Paul Wolfowitz, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff, being sworn in
2. Zoom out from photograph of 9/11 victim to relative holding it up
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence:
"Another attack on our people will be attempted. We cant know where or when or by what technique. That reality drives those of us in government to ask the tough questions, when and how might that attack be attempted and what will we need to have done today and every day before the attack to prepare for it and if possible prevent it. On September 11th our world changed. It maybe tempting to think that once the crisis is past that things will go back to the way they were. Not so. The world of September 10th is past. Weve entered a new security environment, arguably the most dangerous the world has known and if we are to continue to live as free people we cannot go back to thinking as the way the world thought on September 10th."
4. Wide shot of court room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence (Partially overlaid with picture of a woman who died in 9/11 attack):
What if anything might have been done to prevent it. First I must say I knew of no intelligence during the six plus months leading up to 9/11 that indicated terrorists will hijack commercial airliners, use them as missiles to fly into the Pentagon or the World Trade Center towers.
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence:
Even if Bin Laden had been captured or killed in the weeks before 9/11 no one I know believes that it would necessarily have prevented September 11th. Killing Bin Laden would not have removed al-Qaida sanctuary in Afghanistan. Moreover the sleeper cells that flew the aircrafts into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were in the United States months before the attack. Indeed, if actionable intelligence had appeared, which it did not, then 9/11 likely would have still have happened. And ironically much of the world would have called the September 11th attack an al-qaida retaliation for the US provocation for capturing or killing of Bin Laden."
8. William Cohen stands up and takes oath
9. Wide shot of 9/11 Commission, pan over to Cohen
10. SOUNDBITE: (English) William Cohen, Former US Defense Secretary:
"I believe that we have been complacent as a society. I think that we have failed to fully comprehend the gathering storm. Even now after September 11th, I think its far from clear that our society truly understands the gravity of the threat that we face or is yet willing to do what I believe will be necessary to counter it. After all, its commonly noted, it was noted here again this morning, there were no attacks since September 11. I think this is a dangerous delusion. The enemy is not only coming, he has been here."
11. Cutaway of Cohen testifying
12. SOUNDBITE: (English) William Cohen, Former US Defense Secretary:
"Our plans were to try to quote "capture and/or kill" - or kill I should say in this particular case - capture or kill bin Laden. That was the directive that went out, the memorandum of notification, the president had signed several of those, refining them on each and every occasion. Taking that directive, we had our people in a position, should there be actionable intelligence - again the key word - but whenever there was actionable intelligence, we were prepared to take action to destroy bin Laden or the targets."
Clinton and Bush administration officials engaged in fruitless diplomatic efforts instead of military action to try to get Osama bin Laden out of Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks, a federal panel said Tuesday.
Top officials countered that the terror operation would have occurred even if the United States had been able to kill the al-Qaida leader.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a strong defense of pre-September 11 actions that have become a major election campaign issue, told the federal commission reviewing the attacks that the plot was well under way when the Bush administration took office in January 2001.
"Killing bin Laden would not have removed al-Qaidas sanctuary in Afghanistan," Rumsfeld said.
"Moreover, the sleeper cells that flew the aircraft into the World Trade towers and the Pentagon were already in the United States months before the attack" he told the commission.
Powell said that even if U.S. forces had invaded Afghanistan, killed bin Laden and neutralized al-Qaida, "I have no reason to believe that would have caused them to abort their plans."
The commission report said U.S. officials, in both the Clinton and Bush administrations, feared a failed attempt on bin Laden could kill innocents
and would only boost bin Ladens prestige.
And the American public and Congress would have opposed any large-scale military operations before the September 2001 attacks, the report said. In the end, it said, pursuing diplomacy over military action allowed bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders to elude capture.
The panel investigating September 11, formally the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is holding two days of hearings with top-level Bush and Clinton administration officials.
The aim is to question them on their efforts to stop bin Laden in the years leading up to September 11.
The commissions staff has spent months interviewing Clinton and Bush administration officials and poring over documents. Its preliminary findings,
included in two statements issued Monday, will be considered by the 10-member panel, which plans to issue a final report this summer.
The staff reports found both administrations lacked the detailed intelligence needed to strike directly at bin Laden, so they fruitlessly sought a diplomatic solution to get the al-Qaida leader out of Afghanistan.
Former Defense Secretary William Cohen said the Clinton administration recognized the dangers posed by al-Qaida and considered the United States to be "at war" against the terrorist organization.
Three times after August 1998, U.S. officials considered using missile strikes to kill bin Laden, but each time it was decided the intelligence wasnt good enough to ensure success, he said.
The former Defense Secretary brushed off criticism that the administration chose not to put special forces on the ground in an effort to find bin Laden, arguing, there are more than 13-thousand troops in Afghanistan today, and they havent been able to locate the al-Qaida leader.