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9/11 panel responds to White House letter

Text of the 9/11 commission response to the White House letter setting requirements for testimony by Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.

Below is the text of the 9/11 Commission's statement following the White House letter setting requirements for the sworn, public testimony by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and the private testimony by both President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney before the full commission.

Statement by the 9-11 Commission

March 30, 2004 — The Commission welcomes the decision of the President and the Vice President to meet in one joint private session with all 10 Commissioners.

We also commend the President for his decision to accept the Commission's request for public testimony, under oath, by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

These decisions represent a significant contribution by the President to the work of the Commission, consistent with our mandate to "provide a full and complete accounting" of the terrorist attacks of September 11.

The President has consistently stated a policy of strong support for the Commission and instructed the Executive Branch to provide unprecedented and extraordinary access to the Commission. His decisions today reflect that policy of strong support, and we welcome them.

We agree with the observation by the President's counsel that Dr. Rice's appearance before the Commission is in response to the special circumstances presented by the events of September 11 and the Commission's unique mandate and should not be viewed as a precedent for future requests for public testimony by White House officials.

We look forward to the Commission's meeting with the President and the Vice President and the public testimony of Dr. Rice, and we will work with the White House to schedule both sessions promptly.