But the 9/11 Commission let down its guard for the American people long before they issued their final report. The commissioners were content to be deceived by the Pentagon, CIA, and other federal agencies. When their inquiries were stonewalled, they groveled like lapdogs – vindicating the Bush administration's selection of pliant tools for a commission whose report boosted the president's reelection campaign.
The Commission's most disgraceful default occurred on the issue of torture. As Philip Shennon, a New York Times reporter who wrote a book on the 9/11 Commission, noted, "An analysis by NBC News found that more than a quarter of the report's footnotes—441 of some 1,700—referred to detainees who were subjected to the CIA's 'enhanced' interrogation program, including the trio who were waterboarded."