Condoleezza Rice finally testified before the 9/11 Commission after weeks of stalling by the Bush administration who claimed that she could not testify due to issues of tradition and privilege that supposedly dictated that National Security Advisors do not appear before the legislative branch. The Bush administration’s position, and Rice’s own statement on 60 Minutes, “It is a longstanding principle that sitting national security advisers do not testify before the Congress,” ignored the fact that national security advisors under both Presidents Clinton and Carter testified publicly before congress.
Her testimony (transcript), considered by many to be a formal rebuttal of the Richard Clarke’s testimony a couple of weeks ago, has already drawn intense scrutiny and criticism. The Center for American Progress has put together a fact sheet titled “Claim vs. Fact: Rice’s Q & A Testimony Before the 9/11 Commission” that looks at what Rice said compared to what has been said by people who have previously testified, and in some cases, compared to what Rice herself has previously stated in public. Their study points out numerous contradictions and errors, and a number of possible lies. People have also raised significant questions about what Rice knew before the attacks on 9/11 and the administration’s policy of regime change in Iraq and how that complicated anti-terrorist measures. While it would be absurd to charge that the administration had specific knowledge of a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center using hijacked airplanes, there have been a number of recent reports stating that the administration had intelligence stating that planes would be used in terrorist attacks and there has been much debate as to whether or not Condoleezza Rice herself had received this information.