October 28, 2003
Bush Cites Executive Privilege - Refuses to Give Documents to 9/11 Commission

Over the weekend we reported on the threat to subpoena White House documents related to the 9/11 attacks... the same documents that the White House refused to supply to congressional committees investigating the 9/11 attacks. The President (following in the footsteps of Nixon?) cites executive privilege.

In the aftermath of the attacks, White House officials, including Ms Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush’s national security adviser, said they could not have known what was being planned. But last year the White House acknowledged that Mr Bush had been briefed in August 2001, a month before the attacks, that the Al-Qaida might try to hijack American passenger planes.

Executive privilege might be an air-tight legal defense except for the fact that when the Republican Congress passed a law that resulted in the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, headed by a former Republican governor, they left the Commission with a full set of teeth.

The Commission has a legal right to subpoena the documents (the subpoena being the aforementioned 'teeth') and the chairman is threatening to do so.

President Bush declined today to commit the White House to turning over highly classified intelligence reports to the independent federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, despite public threats of a subpoena from the bipartisan panel.

The president said in a brief meeting with reporters that the documents were "very sensitive" and that the White House was still discussing the issue with the panel's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey.

The White House has thus far declined to disclose 'why' the documents are so sensitive, and the Commission is prevented by an agreement from disclosing any information about the documents. Many people speculate that the documents may be very damaging to Bush and to his election bid next year.

Were the attacks preventable given the intelligence delivered to the White House in the weeks leading up to 9/11? The 9/11 Commission wants to know, and so do the voters.

Posted by tstubbs at October 28, 2003 05:30 AM | Trackback
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