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White House refuses to turn over info to 9/11 commission

“Honestly, I thought they would want to cooperate. I thought it would give them a chance to tell their story. They have made some progress.”

— Tom Kean, head of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission

Tom Kean told the NYT that Bush has stonewalled members that requested information on what the admin has done since 9/11 to make the country safer. Big surprise. I’m sure the file is thin.

The White House has failed to turn over any of the information requested by the 10 members of the disbanded Sept. 11 commission in their renewed, unofficial investigation into whether the government is doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, commission members said.

The members said that the Bush administration’s lack of cooperation was hindering a project that was otherwise nearly complete. Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, said he was surprised and disappointed that the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several other executive branch agencies had failed to respond to requests made two months ago for updated information on the government’s antiterrorism programs.

The requests came not from the disbanded commission, which was created by Congress, and had subpoena powers, but from its shadow group, which the members call the 9/11 Public Discourse Project. It was established by the members of the Sept. 11 commission when the panel formally went out of business last August, shortly after releasing a unanimous report that called for an overhaul of the nation’s counterterrorism agencies.

“It’s very disappointing,” Mr. Kean said of the administration’s failure to cooperate with the group. “All we’re trying to do is make the public safer.”

Mr. Kean said there had been no response of any sort to interview requests for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director; Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, and Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, among others.

A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, would not answer directly when asked if the administration intended to respond to the project’s requests for information before next month, when the group is scheduled to publish an updated report that assesses the progress of the government’s counterterrorism.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding