The Bush administration has refused to answer repeated requests from the Sept. 11 commission about who authorized flights of Saudi Arabian citizens, including members of Osama bin Laden’s family, from the United States immediately after the attacks of 2001.
Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), vice chairman of the independent, bipartisan commission, disclosed the administration’s refusal to answer questions on the sensitive subject during a recent closed-door meeting with a group of Democratic senators, according to several Democratic sources.
Democrats suspect President Bush, who met privately with the Saudi Arabian ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, on the morning of Sept. 13, 2001, may have personally authorized the controversial flights, several of which took place when all other U.S. commercial air travel had been halted.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she asked Hamilton and Lehman if they were able to find out who in the administration authorized the Saudi Arabian flights. “Who did this? Why would the Saudis want to get out of the country? They said [those questions have] been part of their inquiry and they haven’t received satisfactory answers yet and they were pushing,” Boxer said.
Another Democrat in the meeting who confirmed Boxer’s account reported that Hamilton said, “We don’t know who authorized it. We’ve asked that question 50 times.”
Boxer said she obtained a commitment from Hamilton that the commission will state in its final report if the White House refused to answer questions about who authorized the Saudi flights after the 2001 attacks.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
It appears that Dear Leader was refusing to answer questions:
by Atrios at 10:58