WASHINGTON – CIA Director Porter Goss (search) personally delivered to Congress the findings of the agency's inspector general report on the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, opening a debate about how much of the highly classified and critical document should be made public.
The report, which congressional officials had yet to review Tuesday evening, is a hard-hitting chronicle of actions taken by individuals and the CIA bureaucracy before the attacks nearly four years ago.
The findings are expected to highlight failures of specific individuals, according to present and former government officials speaking on condition of anonymity. Goss had told Congress earlier that people scrutinized in the report had been given an opportunity to review it and respond.
The investigation by CIA Inspector General John Helgerson (search) has caused further angst at an agency that has been repeatedly and harshly criticized for intelligence failures before the 9/11 attacks.
The CIA declined to comment on the report's substance, as did the newly created office of the national intelligence director, which oversees all 15 U.S. spy agencies.
The long-anticipated report spanning hundreds of pages was commissioned in December 2002 by a House and Senate panel investigating the 9/11 attacks.
The joint congressional panel didn't assign personal culpability in its findings but asked inspectors general at the CIA and other national security agencies to look into whether anyone in government should be held accountable.
Lawmakers are particularly interested in how the inspector general divides blame between career intelligence officials and the senior appointees who oversaw them, said congressional aides, who spoke on also condition of anonymity because the report is classified.
The report was delivered to Goss in July. California Rep. Jane Harman, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, had questioned for weeks why it hadn't been delivered to Congress. She said the delay fed "the suspicion that maybe people are covering it up."
On Tuesday, Goss himself delivered the report to Congress.
Harman said in an interview Monday evening that the report should be made public so "its thoroughness and accuracy can then be debated."
West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the Senate Intelligence Committee's senior Democrat, also wants to make public as much of the report as possible, said his spokeswoman, Wendy Morigi.
A declassified public version, however, could be months, years or even decades away, as has happened with other intelligence reports. For instance, the CIA's report on the disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion (search) in Cuba was not released publicly until 1998.