White House Caves on 9/11 Documents

Yahoo! News – White House, 9-11 Panel OK Documents Deal.

Basically the White House just caved to the 9-11 investigators on this one in the face of a threat of a subpoena (and falling poll numbers…). The full Commission won't access the documents—which include the Presidential Daily Brief—instead only a sub-committee (picked by the committee) will get access. That means there's a fig leaf for the White House. But the sub-committee can share what it learns with the rest of the committee. So it's a pretty threadbare fig leaf.

The AP story gives one account of what the fuss might have been about (in addition to any administration's natural institutional reluctance to share intel with investigators), which it says is a year old, but I had never heard before:

The White House confirmed last year that one such report in August 2001, a month before the attacks, mentioned that al-Qaida might try to hijack U.S. passenger planes. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news – web sites) has described the report as an analysis, rather than a warning, and said hijacking was mentioned in a traditional sense, not as it was used on Sept. 11.

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3 Responses to White House Caves on 9/11 Documents

  1. vachon says:

    I’ve been following the 2 9/11 investigations pretty closely, but I have a dumb question: Is the final report of the Independent Commisiion subject to final review by the White House?

  2. Michael says:

    Is the final report of the Independent Commisiion subject to final review by the White House?

    The full statute setting up the Commission says that the Commission sends its report directly to both the White House and the Congress: The commission shall

    submit to the President and Congress such reports as are required by this title containing such findings, conclusions, and recommendations as the Commission shall determine, including proposing organization, coordination, planning, management arrangements, procedures, rules, and regulations.

    So I think the short answer is “no”. But that doesn’t mean it’s a public report either. Could take days to leak….

    Addendum:

    SEC. 610. > REPORTS OF COMMISSION; TERMINATION.

    (a) Interim Reports.–The Commission may submit to the President and Congress interim reports containing such findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures as have been agreed to by a majority of Commission members.

    (b) Final Report.–Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress a final report containing such findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures as have been agreed to by a majority of Commission members.

  3. Other times when the administration “caves” on document requests or requests for disclosure totally poke holes in the administration’s national security/secrecy mantra. Were those the circumstances here?

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