September 24, 2002

Bunnypants Agreed to 9-11 Inquiry Because the Victims' Families Threatened to Challenge His Coverup on TV.

For a year, Bush rejected a Blue Ribbon Commission on 9-11. But last week, he did a triple back flip. 'The change came, Newsweek has learned, after three secret and at times contentious White House meetings between family members and top presidential aides,' including one with chief of staff Andrew Card.

At the meetings, family members pushed for a blue-ribbon panel and voiced their frustration that top government officials had yet to be held “accountable.” With momentum for the commission rapidly gaining on Capitol Hill, and the family members threatening to go public, the White House had virtually no choice.'There was a freight train coming down the tracks,' said one White House official. 'They realized how powerful the voices of the families were,' added Democrat Rep. Jane Harman.

Bush aides still don’t want the commission to delve further into CIA and FBI failures. They laughingly suggested it focus on new areas like border security and visa issues; they also want the panel to investigate the “role of Congress” in overseeing the work of the intelligence agencies. In other words, blame everybody but us. Another potential flash point: the White House’s refusal to turn over documents showing briefings the intelligence community gave Bush prior to 9-11. One aide described the documents as the “crown jewels” of executive privilege. “That’s the kind of stuff we’d never give up,” said the aide.

'I never want to hear the phrase 'lessons learned' again,' said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was killed in the World Trade Center. 'I want people brought up on charges of malfeasance.'" (thanks to

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