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The 9/11 Commission Records

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, was an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress. The Commission's mandate was to provide a "full and complete accounting" of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and to provide recommendations as to how to prevent such attacks in the future.

The commission's front office, consisting of the executive director and his deputy, the general counsel and his deputy, the communications director, the special assistant, and the family liaisons, ran the daily operations and served as a conduit between the commissioners and staff. Given the broad mandate of the commission, the workload was divided among nine teams. Teams 8 and 9, investigating the local and national response on the day of September 11, 2001, were eventually merged. Team 1 spilt into two teams-one to assess al Qaeda and the other to focus specifically on the 9/11 plot. The Commission, extant from 2003 - 2004, held hearings, conducted interviews, and produced a report.

When the 9/11 Commission closed on August 21, 2004, it transferred legal custody of its records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Commission encouraged the release of its records to the fullest extent possible in January 2009. Because the Commission was part of the legislative branch its records are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

There is approximately 570 cubic feet of textual records; 160 cubic feet of these records are publicly available. This represents 35% of the Commission's archived textual records. Due to the collection's volume and the large percentage of national security classified files, NARA staff was unable to process the entire collection by January 2009. Review and processing focused on the portion of the collection that contains unique documents created by the Commission and those that reveal the most about the scope of the investigation and the internal workings of the Commission and its staff.

The organization of the records reflects the organization of the commission with series consisting of front office files, team files, and files of individual staff members. The collection includes non-textual records such as electronic files and audio-visual files that have yet to be processed. The list will be updated as records are processed and released.

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