By Pete Williams Justice correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/28/2004 5:49:44 PM ET 2004-07-28T21:49:44

With the 9/11 commission's work done, its report out, and commissioners planning to drum up support for it during the next month, some of them are now talking about raising private money to maintain the momentum.

They would keep some staff and a small office and might even issue progress reports on how the administration and Congress are doing at following through on their recommendations.

"I and Chairman Kean have talked to a number of people from major foundations to see if they would support this. It's not a very big investment," says 9/11 commissioner Jamie Gorelick.

Under the federal law that created the commission and gave it an extension of time, its authority expires on August 26, 2004. After that, it will no longer be an official part of the government.

"The next stage is trying to enact our recommendations into law. We've agreed as private citizens to work together to accomplish that," says commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste.

As top government officials gathered again Wednesday night at the White House to talk about the recommendations, some of the strongest opposition came from the CIA. Officials say the CIA is telling the president privately what it has said publicly — that the commission dwells too much on its shortcomings before 9/11, without giving the agency enough credit for improvements since.

On Tuesday, Attorney General John Ashcroft publicly disagreed with another recommendation — that the government concentrate more on following terror money to see where it leads instead of trying to dry up the money supply.

"We will continue to do everything that we possibly can to deprive terrorists of the resources that they might use to kill innocent citizens," says Ashcroft.

So as the debate begins, it's clear that the commissioners themselves intend to remain a big part of it.

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