WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., issued the following statement Tuesday in response to an expected request for a deadline extension from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
“For a year the White House opposed Senator McCain and me as we pushed for the creation of a Commission. When he lost that fight, the President fought for a Commission with an impossibly short duration. Then he tried to deny the Commission funding. And the Administration delayed the Commission’s work for months by denying access to key White House documents.
“Recently we learned that the White House has been working with House Speaker Dennis Hastert to block a Commission request for an extension, even before the request was formally made. Clearly the President is not interested in a complete and thorough investigation. “The Commission has determined that additional public hearings and interviews are needed to learn exactly how the 19 terrorist hijackers exploited so many of our system’s weaknesses and how so many intelligence and government failures could have occurred at the same time. Yesterday’s story of the immigration officer who turned away what might have been the 20th hijacker is a welcome success story in a saga of gross intelligence and other government failures related to 9/11. Unfortunately, it also reveals more ineptitude on the part of the intelligence community, which has never bothered to debrief the immigration inspector, Mr. Melendez-Perez. “I fully support an extension to ensure the Commission’s work is not compromised by Bush Administration delaying tactics, secrecy, and stonewalling. We owe it to the public, to the memories of the 3,000 victims of the attacks, and to the victims’ families, to learn the full story of the terrorist attacks, so that we may do our absolute best to prevent similar attacks in the future.”