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Top Officials on Terror Panel List

March 17, 2004|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The federal panel reviewing the Sept. 11 terrrorist attacks disclosed its witness list Tuesday for its two-day hearing on counterterrorism next week, with testimony scheduled from top Bush and Clinton administration officials.

But the list omits one invited official: national security advisor Condoleezza Rice. She has repeatedly declined on the advice of the White House, citing separation of power concerns involving its staff testifying before a legislative body.

Commission officials, who haven't ruled out a possible subpoena, are hoping she'll reconsider.

Also Tuesday, President Bush signed legislation giving the commission more time to finish its work. The panel was to wrap up May 27, but members asked for a two-month extension, citing repeated delays because of disputes with the administration over access to witnesses and documents.

The legislation extends the commission's deadline for a final report to July 26. It will have until Aug. 26 to wind down business by declassifying information for public release.

The commission's witness list includes Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, as well as their counterparts in the Clinton administration, William S. Cohen and Madeleine Albright.

Also scheduled are CIA Director George J. Tenet and Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, theClinton administration's national security advisor.

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