President Bush today missed a critical opportunity to set the record straight on what his administration did prior to 9/11 to combat the threat of terrorism. Instead, the president once again proved his tremendous skill in ducking important questions and hiding critical information from the American people.
His session with the 9/11 Commission leaves one important question unanswered: if the president has nothing to hide, why does he deny the families of the 9/11 victims, all Americans and posterity the chance to understand his version of events? Combined with his insistence on appearing beside Vice President Cheney, the president's behavior is disingenuous at best – and autocratic at worst.
This should come as no surprise, of course, as it tracks the administration's attempts to prevent an investigation. First, President Bush tried to kill the commission, then he denied it access to critical documents and key White House staff, and only reluctantly agreed to answer questions. The president may have "enjoyed" today's session in the Oval Office but the American people have nothing to cheer about.
Robert O. Boorstin is the senior vice president for national security at the Center for American Progress.