Tuesday, October 03, 2006

9/11 Panel WAS Told About Tenet/Rice Briefing

An update to yesterday's story.

Members of the commission -- an independent, bipartisan panel created by Congress to investigate the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks -- have said for days that they were not told about the July 10 meeting and were angry at being left out. As recently as yesterday afternoon, both commission chairman Thomas H. Kean and vice chairman Lee Hamilton said they believed the panel had not been told about the July 10 meeting.

But it turns out that the panel was, in fact, told about the meeting, according to the interview transcript and Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste, who sat in on the interview with Tenet. The meeting was not identified by the July 10 date in the commission's best-selling report. ...

Tenet gave testimony about the July 2001 meeting with Rice at his Langley headquarters office on Jan. 28, 2004, occasionally referring to charts and slides. Philip Zelikow, who at the time was the commission's executive director and now works for Rice, was present along with other commission staff members, according to Ben-Veniste and to a portion of the transcript, which was read to The Washington Post by an official with access to it. ...

Ben-Veniste's comments seem to contradict his own remarks over the weekend to the New York Times, in which he said that "the meeting was never mentioned to us." Ben-Veniste said yesterday that there was confusion between two different meetings and that the meeting described by Tenet is different in character from the one portrayed by Woodward.

Zelikow, who now works as one of Rice's closest aides as a State Department counselor, did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. He told the New York Times that none of the commission's witnesses had drawn attention to a July 10 meeting or had outlined the type of confrontation with Rice described by Woodward.


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