Head of Congressional 9/11 Probe Quits

Head of Congressional 9/11 Probe Quits

The head of a joint congressional investigation into why U.S. intelligence agencies failed to detect the plot that led to the Sept. 11 attacks on America has resigned, U.S. government sources said on Monday.

Britt Snider, a retired CIA inspector general, was hired in February to conduct the review for the Senate and House intelligence committees.

Some members of the panels had objected to his selection, saying Snider was too closely tied to the spy agency and CIA Director George Tenet to conduct an impartial review.

Snider resigned on Friday and his deputy Rick Cinquegrana will fill in as the acting head of the investigation, sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Snider's parting was not amicable and resulted from a confrontation with the congressional committees over his handling of a personnel matter, sources said.

Snider was apparently aware of an issue of potential wrongdoing regarding one of the members of his team and did not inform the committees about it, sources said.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat, would not comment on Snider's departure because it was "an internal personnel matter," his spokesman, Paul Anderson, said.

Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who is committee vice chairman, also declined to comment. "He [Snider] has left his position and because it is a personnel issue we're not commenting," Shelby's spokeswoman, Andrea Andrews, said.

Congressional aides said Snider's departure was not expected to affect the pace of the investigation and the committees still hoped to hold the first hearing next month.

Snider could not immediately be reached for comment.

The House and Senate intelligence committees took the unusual step of agreeing to conduct a joint investigation as the least disruptive method of inquiry at a time of war, so testimony and information would not have to be presented twice.

The goal of the investigation was to review intelligence failures and establish remedies for the future.

In the Sept. 11 attacks, four planes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon near Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania, killing about 3,000 people.

The attacks were widely viewed as an indictment of the intelligence agencies, which failed to detect the plot. Since the attacks, funding for intelligence operations is increasing and agencies are under pressure to fix shortcomings.

The United States has blamed Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network for the attacks and launched a war on terrorism to wipe them out.

—Reuters

Atlanta Federal Buildings Fail Security Test

W A S H I N G T O N, April 29 — Four Atlanta federal buildings have flunked security tests by congressional investigators working undercover.

The investigators were able to easily sneak briefcases and packages past security checkpoints.

One investigator was able to obtain two different security badges and a guard's after-hours access code. One pass allowed the investigator to carry a firearm in the buildings.

The findings are contained in a General Accounting Office report obtained today by media outlets.

The report will be discussed Tuesday at a congressional hearing in Atlanta.

The chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on homeland security, Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, called the report "pretty alarming."

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