|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
March 31, 2004
From a letter from Counsel to the President Gonzales to 9-11 Commission Chairmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, 3/30/04
President Bush is prepared to agree to the request of the 9-11 Commission for public testimony, under oath, by NSA Rice.
President Bush 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.
President Bush recognizes the truly unique and extraordinary circumstances underlying the Commission's responsibility to prepare a detailed report on the facts and circumstances of the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001.
We have now received assurances from the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate that NSA Rice's public testimony in connection with the extraordinary events of September 11, 2001, does not set a precedent for future requests for a National Security Advisor or any other White House official to testify before a legislative body.
The necessary conditions include: The Commission must agree in writing that NSA Rice's testimony before the Commission does not set any precedent for future Commission requests.
Despite the fact that the Commission will have access to all information of which NSA Rice is aware, the Commission has nevertheless urged that public confidence in the work of the Commission would be enhanced by NSA Rice appearing publicly before the Commission.