Great Seal of the United States National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Eighth public hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States held its eighth public hearing on March 23-24, 2004, in Washington, DC. The two-day hearing investigated the formulation and conduct of U.S. counterterrorism policy, with particular emphasis on the period from the August 1998 embassy bombings to September 11, 2001.

The Commission heard from current and former top-level administration officials. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage testified, as did former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, former National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger, and former National Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard A. Clarke. In addition to witness testimony, four staff statements were delivered during the course of the proceedings.

In announcing the hearing, the Commission's Chair, former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, said: “A central aspect of our Commission’s mission is counterterrorism policy: what options senior officials considered before September 11, 2001, and what choices they made. This is clearly one of the most important hearings the Commission will hold. We will bring together senior officials responsible for national security policy from the past two administrations, to explain how they handled the most pressing security threat to our country.”

Commission Vice Chair Lee H. Hamilton added: “These hearings will be a historic opportunity to inform our final report, understand how September 11 happened, and help us formulate recommendations to make America safer and more secure.”

Archived Video and Transcripts

Hearing Agenda

"Counterterrorism Policy"

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

9:00 - 9:30 AM


9:30 - 11:00 AM

The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright
Former Secretary of State

Submitted Testimony

11:00 - 12:30 PM

The Honorable Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State
Submitted Testimony

12:30 - 1:30 PM


1:30 - 2:00 PM

The Military

2:00 - 3:30 PM

The Honorable William S. Cohen
Former Secretary of Defense
Submitted Testimony

3:30 - 5:00 PM

The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
Submitted Testimony


Wednesday, March 24 2004

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Intelligence Policy

9:00 - 10:30 AM

The Honorable George J. Tenet
Director of Central Intelligence
Submitted Testimony

10:30 - 11:00 AM

National Policy Coordination

11:00 - 12:30 PM

The Honorable Samuel R. Berger
Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
Submitted Testimony

12:30 - 1:30 PM


1:30 - 4:00 PM

Mr. Richard A. Clarke
Former National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, National Security Council
Submitted Testimony

4:00 - 5:30 PM

The Honorable Richard L. Armitage
Deputy Secretary of State

5:30 PM

Hearing concludes. Press Availability to follow.

Current News

The Commission has released its final report. [more]

The Chair and Vice Chair have released a statement regarding the Commission's closing. [more]

The Commission closed August 21, 2004. [more]

Commission Members

Thomas H. Kean

Lee H. Hamilton
Vice Chair

Richard Ben-Veniste
Fred F. Fielding
Jamie S. Gorelick
Slade Gorton
Bob Kerrey
John F. Lehman
Timothy J. Roemer
James R. Thompson

Commission Staff

Philip D. Zelikow
Executive Director

Chris Kojm
Deputy Executive Director

Daniel Marcus
General Counsel