A federal commission investigating the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is complaining about a lack of cooperation from various executive branch agencies. “The task in front of us is monumental, and time is slipping by,” Thomas H. Kean, commission chairman, was quoted by Associated Press. “Every day lost complicates our work.” The panel holds a public hearing today.
Kean and vice chairman Lee Hamilton singled out government departments, including Defense and Justice. They said the administration’s level of cooperation during the next few weeks will determine whether the panel can write a thorough report by its May 2004 deadline. The panel is investigating the government’s actions before the attacks on such issues as aviation security, immigration and diplomacy.
Kean is particularly troubled by the Bush administration’s insistence on having a Justice Department official present when commission representatives interview federal officials. “The commission feels unanimous that it’s some intimidation to have somebody sitting behind you all the time who works for your agency,” he said.