Lawmakers say Bush is stalling 9/11 probe

White House has refused to give panel documents

October 27, 2003|By Ken Silverstein | Ken Silverstein,LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON - Key members of Congress from both parties criticized the Bush administration yesterday for refusing to turn over classified intelligence documents requested by the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat who was co-author of the legislation that created the commission, issued a statement saying the administration has "resisted this inquiry at every turn."

"After claiming they wanted to find the truth about Sept. 11, the Bush administration has resorted to secrecy, stonewalling and foot-dragging," the statement said. Lieberman, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said that if the administration continued to refuse to turn over the documents, he would urge the commission to take it to court.

The 10-member bipartisan commission, which was created over the initial objection of the Bush administration, has a May 27 deadline to issue its report. It is led by Thomas H. Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey.

In a New York Times report yesterday, Kean said that he was considering issuing a subpoena for documents that the White House has thus far failed to turn over.

The White House has said that it is fully cooperating in the investigation and that it has turned over more than 2 million pages of documents.

Some commission members have expressed fear that the White House is hoping to stall in turning over documents until the commission's authority expires in May. Lieberman said that if that happens, he and the legislation's co-author, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, would "go to the floor of the Senate" to extend the commission's term.

"President Bush may want to withhold the truth about Sept. 11, but the American people - and especially the victims' families - demand and deserve it," Lieberman said.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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