February 25, 2004

Bush Plays Bait-and-Switch With 9/11 Panel

"Out, out, damn spot!"

Maria Cocco, Newsday: "I've experienced two political
bait-and-switches since I've been on the commission,"
said Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska senator and
current president of the New School University in New
York. And that's only about a month. "The
bait-and-switch in politics is a technique that is
intentionally designed to lead the public (to believe)
that you're going to do something that you're not
going to do."

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


http://www.newsday.com/news/columnists/ny-vpcoc193677317feb19,0,5083103.column

Bush Plays Bait-and-Switch With 9/11 Panel
Marie Cocco


February 19, 2004

Let us finally put to rest a widely circulated and
grossly inaccurate story that's been making the
rounds: Rumors of President George W. Bush's
cooperation with the panel probing the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are unsubstantiated.

Unlike those Internet rumors that pop to electronic
life and die quickly without fingerprints, this one is
traceable directly to the con artist-in-chief. The
world thinks Bush is cooperating with the 9/11
commission because he says he is.

"We have given extraordinary cooperation" the
president told NBC's Tim Russert in his Sunday Meet
the Press chat. "I want the truth to be known."

The truth?

"I've experienced two political bait-and-switches
since I've been on the commission," said Bob Kerrey,
the former Nebraska senator and current president of
the New School University in New York. And that's only
about a month. "The bait-and-switch in politics is a
technique that is intentionally designed to lead the
public (to believe) that you're going to do something
that you're not going to do."

The latest subterfuge involves the president's
agreement to be interviewed by the 9/11 commission, as
its chairmen, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and
former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, requested.
The White House announced with some fanfare that well,
certainly, the president would oblige. Then the
backtrack began.

Administration officials said any interview would be
done in private. What's more, the president would not
submit to questions from the full bipartisan panel,
only from selected commissioners. Which ones? Only his
damage-controllers know for sure.

Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, refused to
answer "yes" or "no" when asked to state whether the
president wants to limit the commissioners who would
be allowed to question him. "Those details are being
worked out," she said.

Ah, the details.

Negotiated "details" have constricted the commission's
access to the president's daily brief - a digest of
intelligence for the commander-in-chief. Previous
probes of 9/11 already have revealed that, in the
months before the terrorists struck, the intelligence
community screamed loudly about a planned attack meant
to inflict mass casualties. Bush bragged in his NBC
interview about giving the commission access to these
briefings.

In fact, the full commission hasn't seen them.

The White House negotiated a convoluted agreement
under which a handful of panel representatives were
allowed to see the briefs and take notes. Then it
tried to block these few from sharing their notes with
other panelists. Finally - after the commission
contemplated a subpoena of its own members' notes - a
17-page summary of the briefings, edited by the White
House, went to all commissioners.

The summary, according to two commission sources,
raises more questions for Condoleezza Rice, the
president's national security adviser. Still more
could be put to former Federal Aviation Administration
chief Jane Garvey and to Sandy Berger, national
security adviser to former President Bill Clinton.

"When somebody stands up and says 'well, there's
nothing in those PDBs,' that's not true," Kerrey said.
Well, that's just about what Rice said publicly when
the existence of a key briefing from Aug. 6, 2001,
came to light.

Never mind. The public won't hear from Rice because
her interview with the commission was private. And the
panel is running out of time to complete work before
its May deadline.

In one of those heralded announcements of cooperation,
the White House has said it's willing to give the
panel two months more. Curiously, neither the House
nor the Senate - both controlled by the president's
party and heretofore happy to oblige Bush - has rushed
to take the action needed to extend the panel's life.

Does the president understand the dimension of failure
that 9/11 represents? It shook his presidency and
changed its course. He has led the nation to two wars
to avenge the attacks and, he says, prevent another.

Still he obstructs the full and fair accounting that
the people are due. This must be counted as another
failure of 9/11. It is an indignity to history that
is, somehow, imposed without shame.
Copyright 2004, Newsday, Inc.

Posted by richard at February 25, 2004 08:33 AM