I’m so tired of hearing that the President, who wears September 11 like a badge of honor, will not appear before the September 11 Commission without significant restrictions and secrecy. It smacks of his hemming and hawing over debates back in 2000, when he managed to drag his feet for so long that he only ended up debating for the absolute minimum number of times. Perhaps he thinks that he can just run out the clock.
Just before Sen. John F. Kerry accused President Bush on Sunday of “stonewalling” an investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the chairman of Bush’s reelection campaign said the White House had been “entirely cooperative” with the independent commission conducting the probe.
Yet last week, Congress rushed to approve legislation extending the deadline for the Sept. 11 commission — in large part because constant feuding with the White House had made it impossible for the panel to complete its work on time.
Ever since first opposing the commission’s formation, the Bush administration has clashed with the 10-member bipartisan panel over a range of access issues, including aviation records and presidential intelligence briefings.
Even now, the panel is fighting with the White House over ground rules for private interviews with Bush and Vice President Cheney, who want to limit their meetings to one hour with the panel’s chairman and vice chairman. Former president Bill Clinton and former vice president Al Gore have agreed to unlimited meetings with the full commission.