Officially called the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, this is a separate commission from the joint congressional committee overseen by Intelligence chairmen Sen. Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss which sometime next week is expected to release its report.
The 9/11 commission, chaired by former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean and retired Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton — and featuring such even-handed players as former Clinton counsel Richard Ben-Veniste and Clinton-Gore adviser and former number two to Janet Reno Jamie Gorelick — has been making noise of late that it is not receiving satisfactory cooperation from federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Justice Department.
“The White House will rue the day they put Tom Kean in charge of this commission,” says a senior Republican Senate staffer. “This is a man who is a Republican in name only and who has allowed Ben-Veniste to ride roughshod over everybody else working on that commission.”
Ben-Veniste’s influence was obvious on Tuesday when, during the appearance of three supposed experts on the Arab world, he focused almost exclusively on the Bush administration’s decision to go to war with Iraq.
“It not an area the commission should even be looking at,” says the Senate staffer. “People like Ben-Veniste and Gorelick have been meeting with Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate. They’ve been meeting with party officials and are using a commission created by the Bush people out of fairness to play dirty politics on the government’s dime.”
Republicans are also concerned about the amount of classified information the 9/11 commission is receiving, including more than 3,000 pages of internal White House documents that they fear may be leaked or handed over to Democratic operatives working against the administration in 2004.p> TARHEEL HAMLET br> While in North Carolina the other day, Sen. John Edwards met privately with the man who would like his job,
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