Longer Tom Kean:
The chairman of the Sept. 11 commission said on Wednesday that voters in November’s presidential election should weigh how President Bush and Senator John Kerry respond to the commission’s final report in determining how they vote.
Mr. Kean’s comments in an interview carried an implicit warning to the president, who has already rejected specific recommendations in the commission’s report, including its call for the establishment of a national intelligence director who would have direct control over the budgets and personnel of the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies.
In announcing this week that he supported the idea of a national intelligence director, Mr. Bush left vague many of the job’s responsibilities, and White House spokesmen have since made clear that under Mr. Bush’s plan, the intelligence director would not have the direct power over intelligence budgets and personnel that the commission had wanted.
“We believe that the position has to have budget authority and appointive authority,” Mr. Kean said, echoing comments of recent days by other members of his commission. “Otherwise it’s not going to be much better than what we have now.”
Recent polls show that Mr. Kean and his commission, which was created over the initial opposition of the White House, have substantial credibility with the public. Their 567-page report is a nationwide bestseller.