The panel investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks wrapped up its final hearings on June 17 and revealed its findings that al-Qaeda originally planned attacks with 10 hijacked planes on the East and West coasts.
Mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, now in U.S. custody, said he wanted to fly one of the planes himself. He envisioned killing all the male passengers, landing at an airport, delivering an anti-American speech and then releasing all the women and children on board. Osama bin Laden reportedly vetoed that plan but approved hijacking four planes. Training for the attacks began in 1999.
But the commission may have compromised its reputation by discounting links between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein - a finding election-year media hounds pounced on to discredit the war in Iraq. The commission noted that Osama bin Laden met with an Iraqi official in 1994. It ignored a 20-page Iraqi intelligence document discovered earlier this year in Baghdad listing Mr. bin Laden as a "collaborator" and a lengthy, multi-sourced Pentagon document that outlines a 1990-2003 history of high-level meetings between senior al-Qaeda operatives and the Iraq regime.
Czech authorities, too, stand behind intel that 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer in April 2001. Perhaps commissioners will rethink the evidence before issuing their final report on July 26.