The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks feels unanimously that White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice should testify in public and under oath when she appears before the panel a second time, the chairman said on Sunday.
Rice has refused to appear before the independent panel in public and under oath to answer allegations from former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke that the Bush administration neglected the threat from al Qaeda. The White House has asked for a second private session for Rice.
The commission’s Republican chairman, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, told “Fox News Sunday” his panel would continue to press for Rice to appear publicly but would not try to force her to do so under a court order.
“To get into a court battle over a subpoena we don’t think is really appropriate right now, nor will it help us,” Kean said.
“We are still going to press and still believe unanimously as a commission that we should hear from her in public.”
Asked on CNN’s “Late Edition” whether they believed the White House might relent, commission vice chairman, former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, said, “We’re going to keep trying.”
“We would like it under oath, because we ask witnesses to appear under oath,” Kean added. “That’s up to her. We will ask her to take the oath.”
Rice, once Clarke’s White House superior, has led furious administration denials of his charges and was slated to appear on CBS’ “60 Minutes” later on Sunday.
The administration says Rice testifying publicly would set a precedent that other presidential advisers could be compelled to testify about advice they have given the president.
“We think in a tragedy of this magnitude that those kind of legal arguments are probably overridden,” Kean said.