Thursday 29 April 2004

Bush, Cheney to Face 9 / 11 Questioning in Secret

If there's no conspiracy, why all the secrecy....? All governments are lying cocksuckers, I hope you know that.

The White House said on Tuesday it would not allow any recordings or transcripts of private testimony this week by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to the panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks.

Rebuffing demands from families of some of the nearly 3,000 dead and other critics of the administration for public testimony, Bush and Cheney only agreed to Thursday's unprecedented interview under pressure and on the grounds they would appear together and behind closed doors.

At the administration's request, the session will not be recorded and an official transcript will not be made. The White House said Bush was already providing unprecedented access to the panel and that the decision was consistent with previous private interviews.

"This is a private interview and it's being treated that way," said commission spokesman Al Felzenberg.

Both sides said they will have note-takers present.

In preparation for Thursday's session, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush was reviewing documents and meeting with his top advisers.

He said Bush does not plan to make an opening statement and is likely to personally field most of the questions -- rather than Cheney. They will not be under oath.

While details of the commission's line of inquiry remain secret, it is clear from previous public hearings that the panel of five Republicans and five Democrats will press for answers to a now-famous Washington question: "What did the president know and when did he know it?"

Past testimony has established that elements of the U.S. intelligence apparatus were aware of threats to American targets from the militant al Qaeda network, led by Osama bin Laden.

McClellan said the president's demands for secrecy -- which were not applied to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice or other top Bush officials during their public testimony -- would not undermine the process.

"The president will tell it exactly how it happened," he said.

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