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9-11: Playing Games with the Presidential Daily Briefing

Much of the most important intelligence information was located in the President’s daily intelligence briefings, known as PDBs. The Commission had to threaten a subpoena of the White House before it would allow even partial access to the PDB. [AP 10/27/03; CBS News 12/17/03; SF Chronicle 11/13/03; Washington Post 11/12/03; Boston Globe 10/27/03] This, despite the fact that the administration had already shown the documents to the reporter Bob Woodward, who was writing a sympathetic portrayal of the administration. [MSNBC 2/18/04] After granting limited access to the briefings, and after being publicly praised by the commission for its "unprecedented access," [9-11 Commission 11/15/03] the administration confiscated and withheld the commission members’ own notes on the PDBs, necessitating yet another subpoena threat from the commission. [Washington Post 1/30/04; Findlaw.com 2/8/04] Eventually the White House released to the full committee redacted versions of the notes taken by four commission members, which three commission members voted not to accept. [NJ Ledger; 9-11 Commission 2/10/04]

Following Condoleezza Rice's testimony in front of the Commission, the August 6th PDB was declassified and released to the public. [National Security Archives] The administration was clearly limiting access to it solely for political reasons. [Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly 4/11/04]


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