Saturday, June 19, 2004

Panel to Cheney: Put Up or Shut Up 

These are your choices: A) The Vice President lied (again). B) The White House withheld vital evidence from the 9/11 panel (again). Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive, so the answer might well be C) Both of the above. From the New York Times:
The leaders of the Sept. 11 commission called on Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday to turn over any intelligence reports that would support the White House's insistence that there was a close relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

The commission's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, and its vice chairman, Lee H. Hamilton, said they wanted to see any additional information in the administration's possession after Mr. Cheney, in a television interview on Thursday, was asked whether he knew things about Iraq's links to terrorists that the commission did not know.

"Probably," Mr. Cheney replied.

Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton said that, in particular, they wanted any information available to back Mr. Cheney's suggestion that one of the hijackers might have met in Prague in April 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence agent, a meeting that the panel's staff believes did not take place. Mr. Cheney said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday that the administration had never been able to prove the meeting took place but was not able to disprove it either . . . .

Mr. Cheney also said in the television interview that after Osama bin Laden had requested "terror training from Iraq, the Iraqi intelligence service responded; it deployed a bomb-making expert, a brigadier general." The commission's report concluded that Mr. bin Laden's requests went unanswered.

"It sounds like the White House has evidence that we didn't have," Mr. Hamilton said in an phone interview. "I would like to see the evidence that Mr. Cheney is talking about."

Mr. Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, said in a phone interview that he was surprised by Mr. Cheney's comments and would be "very disappointed" if the White House had not shared intelligence information about Al Qaeda with the commission, especially about the purported meeting in Prague.

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