The White House has failed to grant access to many crucial documents for the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Washington Post says that after months of negotiations and public complaints from the panel, the Bush Administration has provided access to more than 2 million pages of documents and has helped arrange nearly 300 interviews and briefings with officials.
Panel leaders Thomas Kean (R) and ex-representative Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), said in an interim report yesterday that many documents were released only recently, and some remain the subject of negotiations “We need this information in two weeks’ time,” Hamilton said.
The commission has been told that some documents could not be located or did not exist. The commission has not decided whether to seek testimony from President Bush or former president Bill Clinton. The panel’s staff has begun negotiations with their representatives.
The panel, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, must finish its work by May. Kean is confident the commission could produce a substantial public report despite the limitations of its heavy reliance on secret material. The slow pace in acquiring documents and testimony and the commission’s decision to refrain from issuing findings until it is closer to completing a report has angered families of victims of the terrorist attacks.