Cheney also said a special, independent commission into how the government dealt with terror warnings before Sept. 11 would result in intelligence leaks. Democrats, including Daschle, have proposed that a special commission investigate the matter and have suggested that more should have been done with the advance intelligence.
Congress is already investigating.
"Our concern is that if we lay another investigation on top of that we'll just multiply potential sources of leaks and disclosures of information we can't disclose," Cheney said. "The key to our ability to defend ourselves and to take out the terrorists lies in intelligence."
Daschle questioned the Bush administration's motive for resisting the commission.
"I think while we respect the need for secrecy, we also have a strong belief in the need for sharing information so that we can make good judgments about the facts," the South Dakota senator said in a speech at the National Press Club. "And there is an increasing pattern that I find in this administration that reflects an unwillingness to share information — not only with us but within their own administration; one department not telling the other, people in positions of responsibility not telling the president."
The political battle intensified Wednesday over what information the government had before Sept. 11 about possible terror attacks. For the second day, FBI Director Robert Mueller and agent Kenneth Williams testified behind closed doors to lawmakers investigating what the government knew.
Williams wrote a pre-Sept. 11 warning about Arab students at an Arizona flight school that he hoped would lead to screenings of Middle Easterners who came to study U.S. airport operations, according to government officials familiar with his account.
Williams' July 10, 2001, memo linked the Arab students to a militant Muslim group in London whose leader openly supported Osama bin Laden, said government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.
On Tuesday, both Mueller and Williams gave testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They appeared before the House and Senate Intelligence committees Wednesday.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the memo "highly embarrassing to the bureau" and urged its public release.
— The Associated Press
What's Congress Investigating?
W A S H I N G T O N, May 23 — Revelations about information the government had before Sept. 11 are fueling the congressional inquiry into the intelligence community and its counterterrorism efforts.
They also have led to new calls, largely from Democrats, for an independent commission to conduct a similar investigation.
A look, in question and answer form, at the Capitol Hill investigation:
Q: Who is running the existing congressional investigation?
A: The House and Senate intelligence committees are jointly in charge. The committees are led by two Floridians: Republican Rep. Porter Goss and Democratic Sen. Bob Graham.
The committees have a staff of two dozen people who are gathering documents and conducting interviews. Its current acting director is Rick Cinquegrana, but Eleanor Hill, a former Defense Department inspector general, is expected to take over shortly.
Q: What, and who, are they investigating?