9/11 panel wants PDB released


Geraldine Sealey
April 8, 2004 8:33PM (UTC)

The 9/11 commission has formally asked the White House to declassify the President's Daily Brief from August 6, 2001, which reportedly includes information about al-Qaida in the United States and Osama bin Laden wanting to commit hijack attacks against the United States.

Apparently declassifying such a document is highly unusual, and during her testimony Rice balked at its release. But the White House also stonewalled on having Rice testify, which is what brought us to today's highly-anticipated testimony. And these are indeed unusual circumstances calling for extraordinary measures. Whatever is in that memo -- which the commission already has -- will clearly help the public understand what information the White House had about potential attacks against the U.S. in the late summer of 2001.

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Rice complicated her own argument against the release of the PDB this morning by repeatedly saying there was nothing specific in the document about impending attacks on U.S. soil. The information was merely "historical," she kept saying, and mainly constituted a review of intelligence dating back to the 1990s. So what's the problem? If the document contains little specific information, the White House shouldn't mind releasing it. But the administration hasn't exactly been forthcoming with the commission on such matters. The panel waits for an answer from the White House.


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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