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Kean named chairman of 9/11 commission

December 17, 2002 03:24 IST

United States President George W Bush on Monday named former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean as chairman of the commission, which is to investigate the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"Tom Kean is a leader respected for integrity, fairness and good judgement. I am confident he will work to make the commission's investigation thorough," Bush said.

Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger resigned from the post, as he was not prepared to reveal his clients in Kissinger Associates to assure the public that he will have no conflict of interest.

He insisted that the public should take his word for it.

Kean is currently president of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He was governor from 1982 to 1990. Two days before Kissinger's abrupt withdrawal, former Democratic senator George Mitchell, ex-Senate majority leader, resigned from the commission because he said his responsibilities to his law firm would not give him adequate time to devote to the commission.

Democrats replaced Mitchell with former congressman Lee Hamilton. The commission consists of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans nominated by the respective parties in Congress, with the president nominating the chairman.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican, has appointed a former Illinois governor, Jim Thompson, and former White House counsel Fred Fielding to the 10-member panel. Senate Republican leader Trent Lott named Republican Senator Slade Gorton to the commission. He has not announced his second choice. The Democrats have already named their quota of five members, including Hamilton. The membership of the commission will be complete when Lott names his second choice.

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