The federal panel reviewing the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, will determine early next week whether thousands of classified counterterrorism documents from former US president Bill Clinton's administration were unduly held back by President George W. Bush's aides.
The Bush administration granted the Sept. 11 commission access to the documents on Friday after Bruce Lindsey, who was legal adviser to Clinton, said officials didn't turn over all of Clinton's records to the panel.
The commission's lawyers will begin reviewing the material tomorrow and should know by Tuesday if additional documents should be released, panel commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said on Friday.
"Mr. Lindsey voiced a concern. We shared the concern. So they have come up with a way of assuring us that we have access to the materials we need," Felzenberg said. "We'll know quickly if there are materials we should have or if they are duplicates."
Until then, Felzenberg said, the commission was withholding judgment as to why some documents weren't released.
"There's a lot of paper flying around. Let's see if there's more to the charge than we know," he said.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Bush administration had released all relevant documents but would cooperate in making sure the commission was satisfied that its requests were filled.
"If the commission wants to go back and verify that some documents are duplicative or non-responsive to their requests, then we are more than happy to work with the commission so that they can do so,'' he said.
On Thursday, Lindsey charged that the commission wasn't getting a full picture of Clinton's terrorism policies because the Bush administration had forwarded only 25 percent of the 11,000 records the former president wanted to provide the panel.
While such records are sealed by law for five years after a president leaves office, an exception was made to allow early access for the Sept. 11 panel.
But the National Security Council and Bush administration attorneys released only a fraction, Lindsey said.
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