GREENSBORO - The White House has agreed to allow the commission investigating the September 11 attacks to review thousands of pages of foreign policy and counter-terrorism documents from former President Bill Clinton's administration.
The Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and other administration critics seized on the Clinton papers as evidence that Bush is not fully cooperating with the commission's investigation.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan rejected that charge as "simply ridiculous," and said commission staff would be allowed to review the Clinton papers at the National Archives on Monday.
Bruce Lindsey, an attorney for the former president, told the 9/11 commission in February that he believed not all the documents sent up by the Clinton Library had been turned over to the commission by the Bush administration.
Presidential libraries are under the purview of the National Archives and Records Administration.
"We've made arrangements so they (the commission's staff) can go over to the archives and review those documents," McClellan told reporters travelling with US President George W Bush in Greensboro, Georgia.
Commission spokesman Al Felzenberg welcomed the decision. He said the panel relayed Lindsey's concerns to the White House.
"We said that we want to know that all of the material we requested is in our possession," Felzenberg said. "Some of it may have been duplicative and some of it may have been stuff that we did not request and don't think we need."
Under pressure from Democrats and some fellow Republicans, Bush reversed course earlier this week and agreed to let his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, give sworn public testimony before the Sept 11 commission.
But Pelosi said the administration's failure "to provide the commission with the Clinton administration's documents is not consistent with the president's promise of cooperation."
"The White House must immediately stop stalling and it must release these critical documents to the commission without further delay," Pelosi added.
McClellan shot back: "We have been fully responsive to the commission's request and any allegation to the contrary is simply ridiculous."