Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bob Graham accused the Bush administration Thursday of stonewalling on the public release of a congressional report on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“The only reason that delay has occurred is because the administration does not want our report to be available to the American people,” said Graham, Florida’s senior senator and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
After months of investigation and a series of congressional hearings last year, the House and Senate intelligence panels wrapped up their report Dec. 20 and released a summary. The full classified report is still under review at the FBI and CIA, which are trying to determine whether any disclosure of information might pose a risk to national security and should remain secret.
Graham, who chaired the committee at the time the report was completed, said he thinks the White House is behind the delay.
“They don’t want this report to come out,” he said. “There has not been in my memory, and I would question whether there has been in modern American history, an administration that was so committed to secrecy as this Bush administration.”
The White House had no immediate comment.
Graham said the administration is using “classification to cover up information that is not a legitimate threat to America’s security, but rather to avoid the American people’s opportunity to know what happened, why and what this administration has done about it.”
Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) said she prefers to “think well of everyone involved,” and thinks the report is being held up by bureaucratic delays rather than an administration conspiracy.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), one of Graham’s rivals for the Democratic nomination, also called on the administration to stop blocking the report.
“I fear the administration is placing bureaucratic, political or secrecy interests ahead of the national interest,” Lieberman said in a statement.