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Families of 9/11 dead upset that clues may have been missed

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Some relatives who lost family members in the September 11 attacks reacted with dismay Thursday to news that the Bush administration had received a warning of a possible hijacking involving Osama bin Laden -- a month before the deadly hijackings, which killed thousands.

"I have no faith in nobody now. Who can we trust? I can't trust anybody," said Carmen Shardone, whose brother, Jorge Velasquez, was killed when two jets slammed into the World Trade Center, collapsing the twin towers. He worked at Morgan Stanley and left behind a wife and four children.

"I blame the government. If they knew, why didn't they tell us?" she said.

Stephen Push, a Virginia man whose wife of 21 years, Lisa Raines, was killed aboard the hijacked plane that hit the Pentagon said his wife would have changed her travel plans had there been a public warning about the threat.

"It's shameful that they know as much as they did and didn't warn anyone," Push told The Associated Press. "They put the business interests of the airlines above the lives of the citizens."

The White House insists that the information it received this past summer was general and lacked specifics.

"It's no surprise to anybody that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack the United States," said White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. But he said the information did not point to "how, what methods, where, when? That information is a different category than the generalized information."

Some of those who lost family in the September 11 attacks said the news had little importance. Christy Ferer, whose firefighter husband responding to the World Trade Center attack, said it served no purpose to try to second-guess authorities.

"A lot of victims' families want to look back -- would have, should have, could have," she said. "But we need to look forward."


But others expressed anger at the disclosure and lashed out at the White House.

"I felt from day one that it was a cover-up," said Stuart Zucker, who lost his 27-year-old brother Andrew when the World Trade Center collapsed.

"My brother was murdered because Bush and his administration decided to keep it quiet that they had some information that there may be a hijacking or the al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden may be involved in some sort of terrorist attack," Zucker said. "Maybe if we had put the extra security in prior to that, maybe the box cutters wouldn't have gotten through."

Others blamed the country's intelligence agencies for failing to prevent the hijackings.

"The groundwork for us winding up with a weak CIA and FBI, the weakening of our defense systems based on political correctness and expediency, happened long before Bush took office," Sally Regenhard, whose son, Christian, was among the firefighters killed in New York, told The AP. She strongly endorsed the push for a high-level investigation.

"It's too late now for my son," she said. "But I do want to make the country safe. Right now, we're not there."

Kristin Breitweiser, whose husband, Ronald, died at the trade center, told the AP she also support an investigation.

"For the safety of ourselves and our fellow citizens, we want an investigation to make sure something like September 11 never, ever happens again," she said.

-- CNN Producer Rose Arce contributed to this report.




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