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Bush and cheney together private unrecorded { April 28 2004 }

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9/11 panel session won't be recorded

By Ken Fireman
April 28, 2004

WASHINGTON -- There will be note-takers in the room but no official record made when President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney appear before the 9/11 commission Thursday, the White House said Tuesday.

Bush has been preparing for the session by meeting with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Chief Counsel Alberto Gonzales and reviewing documents, spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday.

Gonzales and at least one other staff member of the counsel's office will be present during the session, McClellan said.

The White House had originally placed a one-hour time limit on the meeting, which will be attended by all 10 members of the commission, but that time limit has been informally waived. McClellan said Bush was prepared to answer any questions the commissioners might ask.

In agreeing to the meeting, the White House insisted that the commission not make an official recording or transcript. One commission staffer will be allowed to take notes.

The decision, following a practice President Ronald Reagan used in 1987 when appearing before a commission probing the Iran-Contra matter, removes the possibility the transcript would become a political issue and prevents any subpoena of it.

Sure to come up is a recently declassified Aug. 6, 2001, memo to Bush warning that Osama bin Laden wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the United States and that al-Qaida might already have operatives here "preparing for hijackings or other types of attacks."

The administration says the presidential brief was too vague to act on.

Bush agrees to limited questioning { March 10 2004 }
Bush and cheney together private unrecorded { April 28 2004 }
Bush contradicts clinton testimony { May 2 2004 }
Bush glad he met with 911 panel { April 30 2004 }
Bush to tell 911 panel data lacking { April 6 2004 }

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