January 19, 2004

9/11 Panel Unlikely to Get Later Deadline

You will not see Kristen Breitweiser's rebuke of "all
the _resident's men" on AnythingButSee (ABC), SeeBS
(CBS), SeeNotNews (CNN), NotBeSeen (NBC) or Faux News
(FOX). The propapunditgandists will not make it a
subject of their pretend analysis. The printed word is
one thing, the air waves is another...The _resident
will not turn and look up to the balcony during his
SOTU tomorrow night and call on all Americans to
applaud her courage and her determination...No, but
perhaps in January 2005, the first duly elected US
President since Bill Clinton will do so, perhaps he
will turn and look up at her and promise a thorough
investigation, a public disclosure of the conclusions
and a pursuit of consequences for those who have
failed her, her husband, the other victims of 9/11 and
the country as a whole...Remember, 2+2=4

Washington Post: "We've had it," said Breitweiser, who
met with several commission leaders last week. "It is
such a slap in the face of the families of victims.
They are dishonoring the dead with their irresponsible

Repudiate the 9/11 Coverup and the Iraq War Lies, Show
Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


9/11 Panel Unlikely to Get Later Deadline
Hearings Being Scaled Back to Finish Work by May; Top
Officials Expected to Testify

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 19, 2004; Page A09

President Bush and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert
(R-Ill.) have decided to oppose granting more time to
an independent commission investigating the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks, virtually guaranteeing that the panel
will have to complete its work by the end of May,
officials said last week.

A growing number of commission members had concluded
that the panel needs more time to prepare a thorough
and credible accounting of missteps leading to the
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon. But the White House and leading Republicans
have informed the panel that they oppose any delay,
which raises the possibility that Sept. 11-related
controversies could emerge during the heat of the
presidential campaign, sources said.

With time running short, the 10-member bipartisan
panel has already decided to scale back the number and
scope of hearings that it will hold for the public,
commission members and staffers said. The commission
is rushing to finish interviews with as many as 200
remaining witnesses and to finish examining about 2
million pages of documents related to the attacks.

Public hearings in coming months will include
testimony from key Cabinet members in the Bush and
Clinton administrations. The likely roster will
include Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, CIA
Director George J. Tenet, former secretary of state
Madeleine K. Albright, former defense secretary
William S. Cohen, and the current and former directors
of the FBI, two officials said. The next hearing,
scheduled over two days beginning Jan. 26, will focus
on border and aviation security issues.

Commission representatives are also negotiating to
secure private testimony from President Bush, former
president Bill Clinton, Vice President Cheney and
former vice president Al Gore. None of the four would
be likely to be asked to testify publicly, several
sources said.

The statute that created the panel in late 2002
requires commission members to complete a report for
the president and Congress by May 27, with another 60
days available after that to issue supplemental
documents or tie up loose ends, officials said. The
commission has been beleaguered by organizational
problems and fights with the Bush administration and
New York over access to documents.

"We need at least a few more months to complete our
work," said commission member Timothy J. Roemer, a
former Democratic congressman from Indiana who has
pushed for more time. "We have a breathtaking task
ahead of us, and we need enough time to make sure our
work is credible and thorough."

But the White House and Hastert's office made clear
during discussions over the past two weeks that they
would strongly oppose any extension of the deadline,
which would require congressional approval, officials
said. One source described the issue Friday as "dead
in the water."

White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said, "The
administration has given them an unprecedented amount
of cooperation . . . and we expect they will be able
to meet that deadline."

John Feehery, a spokesman for Hastert, said there is
little support for a delay in the
Republican-controlled Congress. "I can't imagine a
situation where they get an extension," Feehery said.
"I don't sense a lot of enthusiasm for considering

As recently as December, the commission's two leaders
-- former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean (R) and
former representative Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) -- said
the panel would have enough time to complete its work.
But commission members decided during a closed meeting
earlier this month that they should explore the idea
of a delay with the White House and Capitol Hill.

The commission's handling of the deadline has angered
a group of relatives of Sept. 11 victims, who argue
that the panel has not been aggressive enough in
demanding more time and in seeking key documents and
testimony from the Bush administration.

Several relatives have also strongly criticized the
commission's executive director, Philip Zelikow,
because of his ties to national security adviser
Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration

Zelikow has recused himself from issues connected to
his role as an administration adviser in the early
weeks of Bush's term, but he was also interviewed
several months ago as a witness by the commission,
officials said. Commission member Jamie Gorelick, a
Democrat who served in the Clinton Justice Department,
has also been interviewed as a witness, officials

Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband, Ronald, was killed
at the World Trade Center, said the interviews
underscore a conflict-of-interest problem at the
commission and cast serious doubts on the panel's

"We've had it," said Breitweiser, who met with several
commission leaders last week. "It is such a slap in
the face of the families of victims. They are
dishonoring the dead with their irresponsible
behavior." Commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said
Zelikow and Gorelick were among more than 800
witnesses who have been interviewed so far and said
their experiences in national security are relevant to
the panel's investigation. "Whether these people were
involved in this commission or not, they may have well
made this list because of the perspective they would
have had about the work of the government during the
time in question," he said.

2004 The Washington Post Company

Posted by richard at January 19, 2004 12:07 PM