The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling

2005

Kristen Breitweiser

Kristen Breitweiser, 9/11 widow and activist, is being honored for her role in pressuring official Washington to provide a public accounting to the American people of what went wrong on the morning of September 11 and in the months leading up to the disaster that claimed the life of her husband and more than 3,000 others.

Breitweiser did not seek to be known as a truth-teller. She was a stay-at-home mom in suburban New Jersey and a George Bush supporter. Yet Breitweiser and the other so-called “Jersey Girls,” transformed by their grief and outraged by a lack of accountability, are widely credited with forcing the creation of the 9/11 Commission and were instrumental in insuring the passage in Congress of the national security reforms it recommended.

Breitweiser recalls the spirit of Ron Ridenhour, the citizen-activist who also went to the halls of power seeking justice and who would not be denied. We applaud Breitweiser for her courage, and we thank her for her tenacity and for what she has done to preserve and protect our democracy.

Testimony and Reports:

Statement of Kristen Breitweiser (PDF), Co-Chairperson September 11 Advocates,
Concerning the Joint 9/11 Inquiry. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,
September 18, 2002

The 9/11 Commission Report. Full Report (PDF) and Executive Summary (PDF)

9/11 Commission Documents from the University of Michigan Documents Center

External Links:

Mosk, Matthew. “September 11 Widow Joins Campaign,”
The Washington Post, September 29, 2004

Jacoby, Mary. “ ‘President Bush thwarted our attempts at every turn,’
Salon, September 15, 2004

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. “9/11 Widows Skillfully Applied the Power of a Question: Why?
New York Times, April 1, 2004

Breitweiser, Kristin and Harvey, Bill. “9/11 Panel Should Get Time It Needs,”
New York Daily News, February 24, 2004

9/11 Widows Speak” NOW with Bill Moyers, September 12, 2003

Sheehy, Gail. “Four 9/11 Moms Battle Bush,” New York Observer, August 25, 2003

9/11 Families: Tell Us Full Story,” CBS Evening News, July 25, 2003