What’s going on here exactly?
Thomas Kean, former Governor of New Jersey, and Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, is threatening to subpoena the White House for 9/11-related documents it’s apparently refusing the turn over. This according to an article in Sunday’s Times.
The documents in question are apparently Presidential Daily Briefings (PDBs) President Bush received in the days leading up to 9/11. Kean says the White House is “quite nervous” about the contents of the documents becoming publicly known. But he wants them anyway.
(To the best of my knowledge, there is no reason to think that Commission would make such documents public, at least not in their entirety. They just want to see them and make their own judgments about what’s there.)
Meanwhile, Commission member and former Senator Max Cleland says the White House is trying to run out the clock on the Commission. And, he says, he can understand why they’re stalling. “As each day goes by, we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before Sept. 11 than it has ever admitted,” he told the Times.
Now, in addition to, I suspect, being right, Cleland was also the victim of a vicious campaign offensive directed by the White House last year (the Vietnam-era triple-amputee was faulted for lacking patriotism). Because of that, it’s only fair to say that you can see why he might take such an aggressive approach toward the White House.
Mind you, I’m not saying Cleland’s wrong. I suspect he’s right. My point is only that his well-justified bitterness at the White House can and will be portrayed by partisans as the source of his damning statements.
The same simply cannot be said about Kean, who has no partisan interest whatsoever in making trouble for the White House.
You can see why they wanted Henry Kissinger …