In the months following the attacks, the White House, Sen Graham and Rep. Goss had rebuffed calls for an inquiry in the weeks immediately following September 11. In mid-December resolutions in the Senate called for the establishment of an independent bipartisan commission; the White House preferred a joint inquiry by the Congressional Intelligence Committees if there were to be any investigation at all. On January 29, Vice President Dick Cheney called Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle arguing that no investigation should take place, as it would divert resources from the "War on Terrorism".
Daschle instead agreed to limit the investigation to the joint inquiry, which was announced February 14 2002 after consultations with Cheney and Condoleezza Rice. Goss and Graham made it clear that their goal was not to identify specific wrongdoing: Graham said the inquiry would not play "the blame game about what went wrong from an intelligence perspective,", and Goss said, "This is not a who-shall-we-hang type of investigation. It is about where are the gaps in America's defense and what do we do about it type of investigation."
The Washington Post reported statements made by Goss of May 17 2002. Goss said he was looking for "solutions, not scapegoats." He called the uproar over the United States White House briefing on terror threats of August 6, 2001 "a lot of nonsense." He also said, "None of this is news, but it's all part of the finger-pointing. It's foolishness." The Post also reported that Goss refused to blame an "intelligence failure" for September 11, preferring to praise the agency's "fine work."(Washington Post, May 18 2002, "A Cloak But No Dagger; An Ex-Spy Says He Seeks Solutions, Not Scapegoats for 9/11")
In June, 2002, after Vice President Dick Cheney called Goss and Graham to chastise them for a media leak from the inquiry, they asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate the leak. Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) noted the absurdity of having the FBI investigate legislators who are investigating the FBI.
The joint inquiry released their findings in December 2002. The commission accepted the White House's refusal to give them any information on what President Bush had been told before September 11 ostensibly because it was classified. The final report therefore included none of that information, including the aforementioned brief. Ray McGovern, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and a frequent commentator on intelligence issues, believed the report showed that Goss gave "clear priority to providing political protection for the president" when conducting the inquiry.
Also in late 2002, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, an independent bipartisan commission popularly known as the 9/11 Commission, was eventually established with a broader mission "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances" surrounding the attacks. Its report was released in July 2004.