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2003-05-09

Bush May Invoke Executive Privilege to Keep 9/11 Docs Away From Congressional Investigators

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Democracy Now! talks to a man who lost his wife in the attacks and is preparing to sue the White House.

Newsweek is reporting President Bush may try to invoke executive privilege to keep key documents relating to the September 11 attacks out of the hands of investigators with the independent panel created by Congress to probe all aspects of 9-11.

Last week, we spoke with Newsweek investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, who said that administration officials are waging a behind-the-scenes battle to restrict public disclosure of an 800-page secret report prepared by a joint congressional inquiry. The report details intelligence and law-enforcement failures that preceded the September 11 attacks, including warnings given to President Bush and his top advisors during the summer of 2001.

This week, Isikoff and Mark Hosenball are reporting chief that White House council Alberto Gonzales privately told the chair of the 9-11 panel Thomas Kean that the White House may seek to invoke executive privilege over documents sought by the commission. (Thomas Kean is the former Republican governor of New Jersey who Bush named to chair the panel.)

Among the most sensitive documents the commission is interested in reviewing are internal National Security Council minutes from the spring and summer of 2001. That is when the CIA and other intelligence agencies were warning that an attack by Al Qaeda could well be imminent.

The panel is also expected to seek interviews with key players in the Bush administration such as national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. And the panel will likely request to review debriefings of key Al Qaeda suspects who have been arrested.

  • Stephen Push, with Families of September 11. His wife of 21 years, Lisa J. Raines, was on American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

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