Wednesday, February 11, 2004

WhiteWash House stiffs 9/11 commission 

Dan Eggen of WaPo writes:

The independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks backed away yesterday from a threatened legal showdown with the White House, agreeing to accept a 17-page summary of the presidential briefing documents it had sought.

The deal will not allow the full 10-member commission to read the original documents or to have access to notes on the documents taken by some of the commission's own members. The summary -- provided to commission members during a closed-door meeting yesterday -- covered several dozen original intelligence documents and was first vetted by the White House, officials said.

The limitations prompted at least three Democratic members of the bipartisan panel to vote in favor of issuing a subpoena to the White House for the documents, known as the President's Daily Brief (PDB).

But the move was rebuffed by Republicans on the commission, and at least one Democrat abstained, according to several commission members.

"You either say you didn't have warning prior to 9/11 and you let us see the documents, or you shouldn't claim that," said Democratic commission member Timothy J. Roemer, a former House member from Indiana. "To say there's nothing in the PDBs that gave the president warning and then put together an agreement that only allows one or two commissioners to see the PDBs is not defensible."

The agreement also angered families of Sept. 11 victims, who have criticized the panel for not being more aggressive in its frequent battles with the Bush administration.

What I want to know is how long the families will put up with this nonsense.

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