Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger unexpectedly resigned on December 13 from his post as chairman of the "9.11" Event Independent Investigation Commission which he had undertaken for only 16 days.
In his written resignation to President George W. Bush, this senior diplomat said: assumption of this post would possibly cause "potential conflict of interest" with the clients of his company, to dissolve his own "Kissinger International Consulting Corporation" would inevitably delay the unfolding of the commission's work, therefore, I think I cannot accept the heavy task Your Excellency has entrusted to me.
On the day before he resigned, Kissinger personally indicated to the families of the victims of the "9.11" event that his company business would not affect the fairness of his work at the investigation commission.
In a statement, Bush expressed his regret at the move of Kissinger, saying that Kissinger's resignation is "a serious loss" to America's in-depth understanding and analysis of the enemy's method of attack and threat, but he indicated that he accepted this senior Republican statesman's request. He said: My administration would immediately select a new chairman, his task would be making public each detail and lesson of the "9.11" terrorist attacks, so that we could more effectively protect the United States.
According to the original plan, this special commission would conduct investigation into the US information, law-enforcement, commercial flight, diplomacy, boundary, migration and other aspects around the time of the "9.11" incident, and would first begin investigating and obtaining evidence of the neglect of duty concerning the intelligence work in the "9.11" incident.
Kissinger's resignation is another setback suffered by this cross-party commission. Mitchell, vice-chairman of this commission and leader of the former majority party of the Senate, had resigned on December 11, this was partly because the post required him to withdraw from the lawyer office where he was in. Kissinger's resignation put Bush in an embarrassed position, people queried why Bush failed to carefully examine the problem regarding the "conflict of interest" before he appointed Kissinger.
Kissinger's assumption as chairman of this commission meant picking up a "scalding nut" "hard to crack". After the occurrence of the "9.11" terrorist attacks, numerous American organizations had been conducting investigations, each of which did this against different backdrops and with different views.
The US Congress Intelligence Committee has been carrying out some investigations since this June. Many differences have emerged among the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the American Congress Intelligence Committee over the question regarding investigation of the "9.11" incident. There have long been many commentaries, saying that once the independent investigation commission began its work, it would likely cause very intense debates. No one could guarantee that the new commission was sure to succeed.
After Bush appointed Kissinger, he first courted the attack from the Democratic Party. There had all along been intense debates between the Democratic Party and the White House over the question whether Kissinger should publish the list of all his clients.
In the opinions of the advisors to Bush, laws do not stipulate that Kissinger must make public the list of all his clients, but the Democrats demanded that Kissinger must do so. Leaders of the Democratic Party of the Senate claimed that they did not doubt about Kissinger's abilities, but they suspected his fairness. Therefore, they required that Kissinger submit the "details about various kinds of economic activities" that might affect the fairness of the investigation report on the "9.11" incident.
The Democratic and Republican parties repeatedly charged each other saying that the other side attempted to use the "9.11" incident to achieve their political aim, and they both engaged in endless quarrels over the component members and work rules of this independent commission.
In addition, since general presidential election will take place in 2004 six months after the publication of this sensitive investigation report, many Democrats are worried that the investigation commission led by a senior Republican statesman would possibly not "truthfully and objectively assess the '9.11' incident for various purposes".
Kissinger is one of the most well-known American diplomats. He served as the secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford in the 1970s. The efforts he made to end the Vietnam War earned him the Nobel peace prize in 1973. He was also granted the American Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.
After he left the political world in 1977, Kissinger did not rest though retired. In September 1982, he established the "Kissinger International Consulting Corporation" which specially provided senior military and government officials or bosses of big companies with major worldwide strategic viewpoints. He also wrote works including "Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policies", "The Need of Choice: Prospect of American Foreign Policies" and "Years of Turmoil".
(Peopele's Daily December 17, 2002)