Office of the Press Secretary
(Berlin, Germany)

May 23, 2002


[excerpts on investigating September 11]


Q: Should the American people conclude there were some intelligence lapses before September 11th? And can you please explain why you oppose a commission to look into the matter, and why you won't release the August 6th memo?

And quickly to you, sir, do you think there should be regime change in Iraq?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first of all, I've got great confidence in our CIA and FBI. I know what's taken place since the attacks on September the 11th. Our communications between the two agencies is much better than ever before. We've got a much better -- doing a much better job of sharing intelligence.

I, of course, want the Congress to take a look at what took place prior to September the 11th. But since it deals with such sensitive information, in my judgment, it's best for the ongoing war against terror that the investigation be done in the intelligence committee. There are committees set up with both Republicans and Democrats who understand the obligations of upholding our secrets and our sources and methods of collecting intelligence. And therefore, I think it's the best place for Congress to take a good look at the events leading up to September the 11th.

The other question?

Q: The August 6th memo --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, yes. Well, one of the things that is very important, Ron, is that the information given to the President be protected, because we don't want to give away sources and uses and methodology of intelligence-gathering. And one of the things that we're learning is in order to win this war on terror, we've got to have the best intelligence-gathering possible. And not only have we got to share intelligence between friends -- which we do -- but we're still at war, we've still got threats to the homeland that we've got to deal with. And it's very important for us to not hamper our ability to wage that war. And so there are ways to gather information, to help improve the system without jeopardizing the capacity for us to gather intelligence, and those are the ways I support.