IN OTHER WORDS: Evading duty

After four and a half years, we have come to expect the Bush administration to refuse to hold anyone of stature accountable for errors or even potential violations of the law. The inspector general’s report on the failures of the CIA before the 9/11 attacks elevates evasion of responsibility to a new level.

It took three years for the CIA to produce the report. Now the report has been sent to Congress only in a classified version, so the public, including the 9/11 victims’ families, is not allowed to see it. The document criticised more than a dozen current and former agency officials, including George Tenet, the former director. The report says merely that Porter Goss, CIA director, should convene yet another committee to decide if any action should be taken.

In the years before the attacks, he was head of the House intelligence committee, which was not pounding the table for reforms at the CIA even though 9/11 was hardly its first slip-up. We already knew that Tenet deserved a large measure of blame, but he retired without accounting for his actions. Jane Harman, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, has indicated that there should be a public version, but it will take a formal request from a member of Congress to begin the process. The sooner it starts, the better. — The New York Times