White House to review 9/11 report before release

 

The White House will vet "line by line" the report of an independent commission investigating the September 11th, 2001, attacks before it is publicly released, the commission chairman said today.

Chairman Mr Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he was surprised to learn of the White House review, which he said was required under law to ensure any material that could compromise intelligence was not included.

"They go through it line by line," Mr Kean said, referring to the White House review process involving intelligence issues. White House chief of Staff Andrew Card will oversee the vetting.

The commission is expected to submit its report in July on intelligence failures before the 2001 attacks. Mr Kean said he was confident the White House would finish its review so the report could be released well before the November presidential election. Commission vice chairman Mr Lee Hamilton vowed not to let the White House "distort" the report.

Mr Kean also suggested he would have preferred that US President George W. Bush and Vice President Mr Dick Cheney appear separately before the commission, rather than together as they are slated to do under an agreement between the panel and the White House.

The disclosures indicate that although the White House has made concessions to the panel, including allowing national security adviser Ms Condoleezza Rice to testify publicly this week, it still retains significant influence over the process.