Tony Snow Questioned About Whether 9/11 Was A Criminal Act By Bush

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Q Then you had the 9/11 Commission, we're having conversations, nothing under oath. And now this.

MR. SNOW: Well, wait a minute. The 9/11 Commission, number one, was authorized by Congress and signed by the President and supported by the administration. What we were trying to do was, again, to avoid the kind of precedent that we're talking about now, which is to bring senior aides up under oath. So what you ended up having were, in fact -- I think they were categorized as briefings. They used that particular -- they used that formulation for precisely the same reasons I'm talking about now.

So I don't think this is a matter of transparency. This is a matter of trying to have -- what do you mean? Condoleezza Rice was on there and she was facing tough questioning from Richard BenVeniste --

Q But certain people -- the Vice President and the President would not testify under oath. You had "conversations" at that time. And there's a --

MR. SNOW: Yes. That's perfectly appropriate.

Q You used the word "avoid." There is an avoidance, it seems, of this administration to sit down and talk on the record, under oath, about critical issues.

MR. SNOW: What you're saying is that every time somebody wants to try to mount a charge you ought to be able to get hauled up and testify under oath, with a presumption of criminality, rather than a presumption of goodwill. I'm not going to buy that.

Q Was it criminal, 9/11 -- was that criminal?

MR. SNOW: No. What I'm saying is that the 9/11 Commission, we participated fully.