The untold story of how the 9/11 Commission overcame partisanship and bureaucracy to produce its acclaimed report.
From the beginning, the 9/11 Commission found itself facing obstacles — the Bush administration blocked its existence for months, the first co-chairs resigned right away, the budget was limited, and a polarized Washington was suspicious of its every request. Yet despite these long odds, the Commission produced a bestselling report unanimously hailed for its objectivity, along with a set of recommendations that led to the most significant reform of America’s national security agencies in decades. This is a riveting insider’s account of Washington at its worst — and its best.
Without Precedent also reminds us why the 9/11 Commission set the gold standard for both transparency and impact: It overcame formidable odds and at times tremendous (though now mostly forgotten) invective and opprobrium from congressional leaders, media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal's editorial page and the New York Post's front page, New York City officials, members of less-prominent past national commissions on terrorism and even some of the same 9/11 family members who had lobbied so hard for the commission's creation in the first place. In this respect, Kean and Hamilton have written an essential guide for others who may someday find themselves appointed to serve on blue-ribbon panels and high-profile commissions.