The US independent commission probing the Sept. 11 attacks is planning to subpoena the White House for notes some of its members have taken on presidential brief papers, a press report said Saturday.
The White House is refusing to give the notes to the panel, andthe standoff has prompted the 10-member commission to consider issuing subpoenas for the notes and has further soured relations between the Bush administration and the bipartisan panel, The Washington Post reported Saturday quoting sources familiar with the issue.
Lack of access to the materials would mean the information theycontain could not be included in a final report about the Sept. 11,2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, several officials were quoted as saying.
"We're having discussions on this almost hourly or at least daily," said vice chairman of the commission Lee H. Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. "We retain all of our rights to gain the access we need..This is a priority item for us to resolve, and we are working to resolve it," he said.
The disagreement is the latest obstacle to face the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, which was created in late 2002 and has till May 27 to complete its work.
The commission has been fighting for months over access to government documents, and has asked the deadline to be pushed backfor at least two months, but the White House and leading congressional Republicans are opposed to the idea.
Such a postponement would mean releasing the potentially damaging commission report on July 26, in the middle of the presidential campaign, and legislation to be introduced next week in the Senate would extend the deadline until next January to avoid the election altogether.
The commission issued subpoenas for documents from the Pentagon,the Federal Aviation Administration and the city of New York and threatened to subpoena the White House over the presidential dailybrief issue last year, but agreements were worked out eventually in all the cases.