- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 14, 2002

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger resigned yesterday as chairman of a special commission set up to investigate intelligence and security failures related to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Kissinger, an international business and foreign policy consultant, stated in a letter to President Bush that he was leaving the post because of conflicts of interest related to his clients, which include many foreign governments.
"My hope is that by the decision to step aside now, the joint commission can proceed without further controversy," said Mr. Kissinger.
He said he could not liquidate Kissinger Associates without delaying the Joint Commission's work.
Mr. Kissinger, who was White House national security adviser and secretary of state during the administration of President Nixon, resigned one day after he sought to assure the families of the September 11 victims that his clients would not affect his work as chairman.
Some advocates had called on Mr. Kissinger to disclose the names of his business clients.
The resignation is the second major leadership setback for the panel mandated by legislation.
On Wednesday, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, the commission's designated Democratic vice chairman, resigned, also citing business conflicts.
Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, was named to replace Mr. Mitchell, who said he was reluctant to quit his law firm while working for the commission.
No replacement was named immediately for Mr. Kissinger.
Mr. Bush said in a statement that he regretted Mr. Kissinger's resignation and promised to appoint a replacement soon.
Stephen Push, a leader of the Families of September 11, said the resignation of Mr. Kissinger is an opportunity for the president to pick a better chairman.
"The president made a mistake and he has a chance to do it over and appoint the right person: Warren Rudman," Mr. Push said in an interview.
Mr. Rudman is a former New Hampshire Republican senator, and had been a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
The commission will continue the work of a limited joint House-Senate inquiry into September 11 that found failures of U.S. intelligence agencies in connection with the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center that killed more than 3,000 people.
The commission will expand the congressional inquiry to include intelligence, immigration, airline security and policy issues related to the attacks.
Four Democrats named to the commission on Wednesday are outgoing Sen. Max Cleland, Georgia Democrat; outgoing Rep. Tim Roemer, Indiana Democrat; lawyer Richard Ben-Veniste, and lawyer Jamie Gorelick, a deputy attorney general under President Clinton.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide