Biden to release interview transcripts with Bush and Cheney from 9/11 Commission

President Joe Biden is expected to release the transcript of interviews with former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney from their interviews with the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission.

The Wall Street Journal reported that it could happen as early as Wednesday.

The commission was a bipartisan one that was fashioned to research specifics from all levels of government and examine failures on Sept. 11, 2001 and leading up to it and make recommendations.

"The April 2004 interview with the bipartisan 9/11 commission, which took place in the Oval Office, included discussion of intelligence warnings before the attacks and the events that unfolded on the day of Sept. 11, according to the copy of the 31-page document," the Journal explained. "It also describes Mr. Bush acknowledging that Air Force One had poor communications while he was on the plane shortly after the attacks began—and Mr. Bush’s assertion that he gave Mr. Cheney the authority to shoot down commercial airliners that were unresponsive."

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“‘Yes, engage the enemy,’” Bush is described as saying to Cheney. “‘You have the authority to shoot down an airplane.’”

At another point, the documents quote Cheney telling Bush over and over again not to come back to Washington and he agreed.

Bush was in Florida at an elementary school while a teacher was reading with him. The incident was captured live on camera when an aide leaned over and whispered to the president what was happening. His face noticeably changed as he remained quiet. He later told biographers that he didn't want to scare the children.

The interview wasn't recorded or filmed, there was nothing more than a note-taker present, and neither man was under oath, the report explained.

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There were several times that Bush pushed back against the commissioners asking if he could have been more proactive against al Qaeda, which had attacked the U.S. twice already. Infamously, on Aug. 6, 2001, the Presidential Daily Brief made it clear, “Bin Laden determined to Strike in U.S." Commissioners probed Bush why having heard that he didn't take further steps.

“There was no actionable intelligence on such a threat—not one,” the transcript quotes Bush as saying. Bush apparently claimed that there were no specific or actionable items in the report.

The report was declassified in 2004, with FBI information saying there were “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijacking or other types of suspicious attacks." There were no further details, however. He also said that there was also no interest in launching a pre-emptive war against Afghanistan.

"The document was authorized for public release by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, a body of representatives from various federal departments," said the Journal. "It contains few redactions and includes Mr. Bush’s reflections on threat reports he received in the spring and summer of 2001. It is not a verbatim transcript, but a 'memorandum for the record' taken during the meeting."

Philip Zelikow, executive director the 9/11 Commission, told the Journal that a big piece of the transcript dispels myths that Bush was somehow being controlled by Cheney and that Bush "took command from the start."

Read the full report at the Wall Street Journal.