Monday, February 16, 2004

WhiteWash House stonewalling the 9/11 commission yet again 

As usual, the Newark Star Ledger has 9/11 Commission coverage that's better than the Pravda on the Potomac or Isvestia on the Hudson's. Please keep our media diverse, and patronize your local paper! Robert Cohen of the Star Ledger reports:

The White House announced Friday evening that Bush had agreed to a request from former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, the commission's chairman, and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, the vice chairman, to meet in a closed-door session to discuss the 9/11 disaster. But it now appears the White House is trying to limit how many commissioners will meet with the president during the private session.

In GeorgeLand, "Yes" means "Well, not exactly...."

Some commissioners expressed anger yesterday over the possible restrictions, which could add to the friction that already exists between the investigative panel and the White House.

Al Felzenberg, a spokesman for the commission, said the letter to Bush inviting him to appear in private session was "clearly written by Kean and Hamilton on behalf of the entire commission."

"The president accepted the invitation to meet with the commission," Felzenberg said. "Obviously negotiations will have to ensue."

Felzenberg said Cheney is placing conditions on his appearance, indicating a willingness to meet with "representatives of the commission." Negotiations are continuing with the vice president, he said.

Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste said it is "disappointing the president created the impression he was accepting our invitation" to meet with all 10 members of the panel, and then a spokesman later offered a different view of what had been "a reasonable interpretation."

"The commission is quite clear that the decision about who attends any interviews is a decision made by the commission and not anyone else," said Ben-Veniste, a Democrat and a former Watergate prosecutor. Bush has said he "wants to be cooperative with the commission, and it creates the expectation that he will," Ben-Veniste said.

Commissioner Tim Roemer, like Hamilton a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, said the White House's position on the presidential interview is unacceptable, and represents the latest attempt by the administration to impede the investigation and to backtrack on what appeared to be commitments of cooperation.

"I hope President Bush and Vice President Cheney cannot just select a couple of commissioners and isolate all the others," Roemer said. "The commission can't let this happen. The testimony from Bush and Cheney is too important and absolutely too vital."

Roemer said all of the commissioners need to hear directly from Bush on what he knew before Sept. 11, 2001, what he was thinking and how he responded on the day of the attacks.

Shutting out members of the commission from asking questions will undermine the "independence and integrity" of the final report, Roemer said.

This is really pretty transparent, isn't it? First, Bush lets only some commissioners read the Presidential Daily Briefings—you know, the ones that were sent to Bush when he has on vacation, that warned about terrorists flying airplanes into buildings? Then, he lets only some commmissioners interview him... Classic attempt to co-opt some commissioners and play divide and conquer with the rest "Uniter, not a divider" my Aunt Fanny.

Oh yeah, and Bush will, as he said in the SOTU, "visit" with the Commission. No testimony under oath, or anything like that. What a farce! Why do the Democrats put up with it?

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?