Panel to Ask Rice How to Fix Intel Woes
Scheduled witnesses include Attorney General John Ashcroft; former Attorney General Janet Reno; CIA Director George Tenet; FBI Director Robert Mueller; and former FBI Director Louis Freeh.
The final report should be published before the November elections, possibly as early as July, even though the White House must review it first for intelligence problems, Kean said. It will contain surprises, he said.
"I've been surprised by some of what we've found, and so, I think, (the public) will, yes," Kean said.
"We've got some very serious recommendations to make, and I think they'll be something of great value to the American people and also hopefully will make the country safer," he said.
"Nobody has any interest in having the report sitting around Washington during the election period and pieces of it leaking out," Kean said. "So I think it is in the White House's interest, our interest, everybody's interest to get this out in July. And I believe they will."
Asked about the independence of the committee considering that its report must be vetted by the White House for intelligence lapses, Kean said the requirement for prepublication review surprised him considering his lack of Washington experience.
But the vice chairman, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat, said the law requires that because the president is responsible for the intelligence services.
Still, Hamilton said, "We're not going to let them distort our report."
Hamilton said the possibility that the intelligence screeners will order major deletions before publication is worrisome.
"I think we can work through this," Hamilton said, "but the chairman and I are very concerned about this. This is one of the big remaining obstacles, for us to get the report declassified."
On the Net:
Sept. 11 commission:http://www.9-11commission.gov/
© 2004 The Associated Press