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On April 29, 2004, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney met members of the 9/11 Commission in the White House Oval Office.
Certain conditions and requirements regarding this meeting had been agreed upon. While the President and Vice President refused to testify under oath, they accepted to chat and exchange views with members of the Commission in what was described as a Private meetings" behind closed doors. The more than three-hour session in the Oval Office was described as "friendly and relaxed".
The ten members of the 911 Commission were present. White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and two members of his staff were also in attendance:
"Bush and Cheney are not testifying before the panel -- they are not under oath and there will be no recording of the session, nor a stenographer in the room. The two members of the White House counsel's staff will take notes during the session, and the commission members will be allowed to take handwritten notes as well. That means there will be no verbatim account of the question-and-answer session, but Gonzales said, "information will make ... its way into the report in some fashion or another, I suspect." (CNN.com,29 April 2004)
No written or audio transcript of these conversations was made available.
The session in the Oval Office was not recorded, according to the official White House statement.
There is reason to believe, however, that the behind closed doors meeting was being monitored by key advisers and that Bush was being briefed through an earpiece connected to an audio receiver. (see photo below).
Bush's earpiece has been known for some time to White House accredited journalists. The issue, however, was only recently brought to public attention after the first Bush-Kerry presidential debate. (For details see Is Bush Wired? Is he prompted through an earpiece? 8 October 2004 http://globalresearch.ca/articles/IBW410A.html ).
Bush uses a 'passive transducer earpiece', through which he is fed a script that has been transmitted to and then from a device hidden on his body; photographs from the first presidential debate on 30 September show what appears to be a box, placed underneath his jacket and between his shoulder blades. (New Statesman, 18 October 2004)
"Was President Bush literally channeling Karl Rove in his first debate with John Kerry?" TV camera behind Bush showed solid object under Bush's jacket. "Bush not known to wear back brace or pack [heat]," said Salon. "Was the bulge under his well-tailored jacket a hidden receiver, picking up transmissions from someone offstage feeding the president answers through a hidden earpiece? Does the device explain why the normally ramrod-straight president seemed hunched over during much of the debate? . . . (Boston Globe, 9 October 2004)
The following picture of Bush is from CNN's video. The latter was taken after the 911 Commission meeting in the Oval Office on 29 April. It shows a rectangular shaped bulge on President Bush's back similar to that identified in the pictures of the Bush-Kerry debate. (see below)
The matter of the earpiece, in this case, is far more serious because it constitutes a violation of the agreed procedures as well as an intrusion into what was described as a private meeting.
Bush on the 29th of April 2004, at the conclusion of the Oval Office meeting with members of the 9/11 commission. See Rectangular Bulge
First Bush- Kerry debate. See rectangular bulge. For more pictures of the rectangular bulge see http://globalresearch.ca/articles/IBW410A.html
Following the Oval Office meeting on April 29, a Commission source stated that Bush and Cheney "faced pointed but respectful questions".
"This and a second commission source said Bush dealt with the bulk of the questioning. The second source described the president as "clearly aware" of other accounts provided to the commission, including the very critical testimony of former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke. ." (CNN.com, 29 April 2004)
The video of Bush meeting the White House Press Corp reporters in the Rose Garden took place immediately after his meeting with 9/11 Commission members in the Oval office. Among the reporters were John King of CNN and Terence Hunt of The Associated Press. (see transcript below).
TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE
April 29, 2004, Thursday Remarks by the President in Q&A With the Pool
The following is a transcript of remarks by the President in Q&A with the pool:
The Rose Garden
1:16 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: The Vice President and I just finished a good conversation with the 9/11 Commission. It was wide-ranging, it was important, it was just a good discussion. And I appreciate the members.
I want to thank the Chairman and Vice-Chairman for bringing the commission here and giving us a chance to share views on different subjects. And they had a lot of good questions. I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I took the time. This is an important commission, and it's important that they ask the questions they ask so that they can help make recommendations necessary to better protect our homeland. It was -- I enjoyed it.
Let me ask -- answer a couple of questions.
Q Mr. President, what topic did the commissioners want to spend most of the time on? And were there any subjects that you didn't answer or were advised by your counsel not to answer?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I was never advised by my counsel not to answer anything. I answered every question they asked. Really - - probably best that I not go into the details of the conversation; let them incorporate into their report. There was a lot of interest in -- about how to better protect America. In other words, they're very interested in the recommendations that they're going to lay out. And I'm interested in those, as well.
And we discussed a lot of things, Terry, a lot of subjects. And it was a very cordial conversation. I was impressed by the questions and I think it helped them understand how I think and how I run the White House and how we deal with threats.
Q Mr. President, as you know, a lot of critics suggested that you wanted to appear jointly with the Vice President so that you two could keep your stories straight, or something --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes --
Q -- can you tell us what you think of the value of appearing together and how you would answer those critics?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes -- first of all, look, if we had something to hide we wouldn't have met with them in the first place. We answered all their questions. And as I say, I think I -- I came away good about the session, because I wanted them to know how I set strategy, how we run the White House, how we deal with threats. The Vice President answered a lot of their questions -- answered all their questions. And I think it was important for them to see our body language, as well, how we work together.
But it was -- you know, the commissioners will speak for themselves over time. They will let you know whether they thought it was a fruitful series of discussions. I think they did. I think they found it to be useful.
Q Mr. President, don't you think that the families deserve to have a transcript, or to be able to see what you said?
THE PRESIDENT: Adam, you asked me that question yesterday.
Q I'm hoping for an answer today.
THE PRESIDENT: I've got the same answer.
Q Mr. President, can you say with any confidence that there are no al Qaeda operatives active in the country today?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I can't say that.
Q Did the commission ask you about that?
THE PRESIDENT: No, they didn't. But I'm not going to get into any more details about what they asked me. I told you I wasn't going to get into details about what they asked me, and then I just fell into your trap.
But, no, let me talk about vulnerabilities, and then I've got to get back to work. We are still vulnerable to attack. And the reason why is, al Qaeda still exists, al Qaeda is dangerous, al Qaeda hates us. And we have to be correct a hundred percent of the time in defending America, and they've got to be right once. And therefore, we are vulnerable.
But people need to know, we're working -- we, the government, at all levels -- we're working long hours to protect America. We're doing the best we can. The best way to secure America, however, is to stay on the offensive and bring those people to justice before they harm America again. And that's what we're continuing to do. But, yes, so long as there's an al Qaeda enemy that is willing to kill, we are vulnerable.
Thank you all.
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