Last year, against initial opposition from the White House, Congress established the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Against the United States to investigate events leading up to 9/11, and to discover what steps, if any, might have been taken to avoid that tragedy. The ten-member commission consists of five Republicans and five Democrats, and is chaired by Thomas J. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey.
On Oct. 26, Philip Shenon of the New York Times reported that the Bush administration has failed to provide the commission with certain documents it has requested. Recently, Mr. Kean made "his first explicit public warning to the White House that it risked a subpoena and a politically damaging courtroom showdown with the commission over access to the documents, including Oval Office intelligence reports that reached President Bush's desk in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks." This came despite the administration's claim to have adopted "a clear policy of support for the commission's work." The administration seems to be stalling in the hope that the commission (whose report is due in May) will run out of time.