But the President's political advisers, concerned about the political impact of the commission's report, are unsympathetic to its requests for additional time - and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who would have to approve an extension, is perfectly obedient to his masters in the White House. According to Newsweek, the administration offered Mr. Kean a choice: Either keep to the May deadline, or postpone release of the report until December, when its findings cannot affect the election.
Mr. Bush doesn't want his re-election subject to any informed judgment about the disaster that reshaped the nation and his Presidency. But why should such crucial facts be withheld from the voters? What does the President fear?
Perhaps inadvertently, Mr. Kean provided a clue to the answers in his Times interview. Asked whether he thinks the disaster 'did not have to happen,' he replied, 'Yes, there is a good chance that 9/11 could have been prevented by any number of people along the way. Everybody pretty well agrees our intelligence agencies were not set up to deal with domestic terrorism %u2026. They were not ready for an internal attack.' Then, asked whether 'anyone in the Bush administration [had] any idea that an attack was being planned,' he replied: 'That is why we are looking at the internal papers. I can't talk about what's classified. [The] President's daily briefings are classified. If I told you what was in them, I would go to jail.'
But the commission's final report may well indicate what the President was told in his daily briefing of Aug. 6, 2001, when he was sunning himself in Crawford, Tex - as well as the many warnings he and his associates were given by the previous administration. That kind of information could send him back to Crawford for a permanent vacation.
Go read, and bear in mind that we know there were multiple warnings of both an imminent attack and of weaponsied jetliners. Then ask yourself how say, Clinton, might have been treated if he'd tried to stonewall an inquiry into a certain White House intern.