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No Thanks, Mr. Clarke
By: September 11th Families / New York Post
Monday, March 29, 2004


We believe any president would have acted to prevent 9/11...and we oppose profiteering on our families' suffering.
We are all in agreement that a review of what happened leading up to 9/11 is important for many reasons. As families and friends of loved ones killed by the terrorists that day, we want to know if 9/11 realistically could have been prevented, whether justice is being brought to those behind this attack, and, most important, that our government is taking the right action to stop future attacks.

A meaningful review as to what happened on 9/11 and the aftermath can only happen if it is truly nonpartisan. Unfortunately, this week much of the non-partisanship was taken from us when Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism advisor, decided to use his testimony before the 9/11 Commission to showcase the release of his tell-all book.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was an overwhelming outpouring of support from all corners of America. New Yorkers, non-New Yorkers, Democrats, Republicans - none of that mattered. We were all joined together as a country to share our grief over what the terrorists did to America that day.

Of course, even then, a small number of individuals tried to take advantage of the situation and emotions exposed by 9/11, from looters of shops destroyed in the attack to those who filed bogus insurance claims. We realized then that the likelihood of exploitation would only increase as the distance of time began to separate us from that horrible day.

It was very disturbing, then, to learn that Mr. Clarke would be releasing his book immediately before his scheduled public testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

We are well aware that the friends and family members of those killed in 9/11 do not speak with a single voice on all issues. Nonetheless, the notion of profiteering from anything associated with 9/11 is particularly offensive to all of us.

We find Mr. Clarke's actions all the more offensive especially considering the fact that there was always a high possibility that the 9/11 Commission could be used for political gain, especially now, with the presidential election less than eight months away.

Surely, Mr. Clarke knew this. Yet he decided to risk the actual and perceived impartiality of this important process to maximize book sales.

As family and friends of those killed on 9/11, we believe it inappropriate for Mr. Clarke to profit from and politicize 9/11, and further divide America, by his testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

Indeed, we are now seeing some partisans more interested in somehow laying blame for 9/11 at the feet of President Bush - even though what we heard from both Bush and Clinton administration officials confirms what we already believed: that while al Qaeda was a known threat, no one could have known that 19 terrorists already in the United States would hijack domestic aircraft and fly them in to the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Had there been real evidence, "actionable" or otherwise, that this was being planned, we believe that President Bush, President Clinton - indeed, any president of the United States - would have done everything possible to prevent it.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, it was President Bush who helped unite America and guide us through that devastating time. Since 9/11, he has taken the fight to the terrorists abroad. He recognizes that America is at war and has made the difficult choices necessary to destroy the terrorists and confront those who harbor them.

Despite Mr. Clarke, we are hopeful that the 9/11 Commission will be able to continue its investigation in a nonpartisan way. More important, we must never lose sight of the fact that the attacks of 9/11 were perpetrated on this country by foreign terrorists committed to destroying our way of life.

In the end, we will be judged on whether we successfully continue pursuing the ongoing war on terror so that we never again face another 9/11.

Sincerely,

Jim Boyle (father of Michael Boyle, FDNY)

Madeline Bergen (wife of John Bergen, FDNY)

Rosemary Cain (mother of George Cain, FDNY)

Carol & Vincent Coakley (parents of Steve Coakley, FDNY)

Marie Corrigan (wife of Jim Corrrigan, FDNY)

Susan Cronin (sister of Thomas Strada, Cantor Fitzgerald)

Chris & Lisa Della Pietra (brother and sister of Joseph Della Pietra, Cantor Fitzgerald)

Sandra Della Pietra (mother of Joseph Della Pietra)

Sam & Rose Esposito (parents of Michael Esposito, FDNY)

Joe & Sal Esposito (brothers of Michael Esposito, FDNY, and cousins of Frank Esposito, FDNY)

Tom & Patricia Farragher (brother-in-law and sister of FDNY Capt. Walter Hynes)

Barbara Haskell (wife of Tom Haskell, FDNY)

Dawn Haskell Carbone (sister of Tom and Tim Haskell, FDNY)

Maureen Haskell (mother of Tom and Tim Haskell)

Ken Haskell (brother of Tom and Tim Haskell)

Frank Haskell (cousin of Tom and Tim Haskell)

Paulette & Joseph J. Hasson, Jr. (parents of Joe Hasson, Cantor Fitzgerald)

Virginia Hayes (wife of Phil Hayes, FDNY ret.)

Bernie Heeran (father of Charles Heeran, Cantor Fitzgerald)

Mike Heffernan (brother of John Heffernan, FDNY)

Arlene Howard (mother of George Howard, Port Authority PD)

Jennifer Iannotti (sister of Thomas Strada)

John Leavy (father of Neil Leavy, FDNY)

The McAleese family (family of Brian McAleese, FDNY)

Bart Mitchell (father-in-law of Ronnie Bucca, FDNY)

Richard & Terry Otten (parents of Michael Otten, FDNY)

Frank Siller (brother of Stephen Siller, FDNY)

Ernest & Mary Ann Strada (parents of Thomas Strada)

Terry Strada (wife of Thomas Strada)

Joseph & Michael Strada (brothers of Thomas Strada)

Ed Sweeney (father of Brian Sweeney, FDNY)

John & Janet Vigiano (parents of Joseph Vigiano, NYPD, and John Vigiano, FDNY)