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Thursday, November 13, 2003

Read the Fine Print

The headlines:
White House to let 9/11 panel review briefings -- CNN
9/11 Panel Reaches Deal On Access To Papers -- Washington Post
Panel Reaches Deal on Access to 9/11 Papers -- NY Times

Here's the fine print from the Times' story:
Commission officials said that under the accord two members of the 10-member commission would have access to the full library of daily briefings prepared in the Bush and Clinton administrations and that two other members would be allowed to read just the copies of the briefings that the White House deemed relevant to the inquiry.
Although the agreement appeared to have the support of most of the commissioners, it was denounced by a Democrat on the panel, former Representative Timothy J. Roemer of Indiana. Mr. Roemer said in an interview that the White House was continuing to place unacceptable limits on access to the briefings.

"In paraphrasing Churchill, never have so few commissioners reviewed such important documents with so many restrictions," said Mr. Roemer, who was a member of the joint Congressional committee that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks. "I am not happy with this agreement, and I will not support it."

The accord was also criticized by family members of victims of the attacks. The relatives have said all 10 commissioners should have access to the intelligence reports.

"Our understanding is that this is an unacceptable agreement," said Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband was killed in the attacks and who is now a spokeswoman for the Family Steering Committee, which represents many of the victims' families. "The details haven't been shared with us. But we understand that this access will be highly limited."

The White House...had originally wanted to determine which commissioners would conduct the review.

It looks to me like the White House is trying to avoid even the appearance of innocence on this. The only conceivable reason for doing it this way is just to stall further. Fewer eyes reading the documents means it will take longer to find the smoking gun. And since the documents will remain classified, we, the supposed owners of this corrupt government, still won't know what Bush knew. If it ever does make it to the papers, you can be sure that it will be relegated to the back pages by either W's re-election or the war in Syria.

But most people, if they notice at all, will just notice the headlines saying that the White House is letting the commission see the papers.