U.S. lags on post-9/11 security measures


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rick_reno
December 4, 2005, 04:21 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10323273/

WASHINGTON - The United States is at great risk for more terrorist attacks because Congress and the White House have failed to enact several strong security measures, members of the former Sept. 11 commission said Sunday.

“It’s not a priority for the government right now,” said the former chairman, Thomas Kean, ahead of the group’s release of a report Monday assessing how well its recommendations have been followed.

“More than four years after 9/11 ... people are not paying attention,” the former Republican governor of New Jersey said. “God help us if we have another attack.”

Added Lee Hamilton, the former Democratic vice chairman of the commission: “We believe that another attack will occur. It’s not a question of if. We are not as well-prepared as we should be.”

The five Republicans and five Democrats on the commission, whose recommendations are now promoted through a privately funded group known as the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, conclude that the government deserves “more Fs than As” in responding to their 41 suggested changes.

‘Lack of a sense of urgency’
Since the commission’s final report in July 2004, the government has enacted the centerpiece proposal to create a national intelligence director. But the government has stalled on other ideas, including improving communication among emergency responders and shifting federal terrorism-fighting money so it goes to states based on risk level.

“There is a lack of a sense of urgency,” Hamilton said. “There are so many competing priorities. We’ve got three wars going on: one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq and the war against terror. And it’s awfully hard to keep people focused on something like this.”

National security adviser Stephen Hadley said Sunday that President Bush is committed to putting in place most of the commission’s recommendations.

“Obviously, as we’ve said all along, we are safer, but not yet safe. There is more to do,” Hadley said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Ex-commissioners contended the government has been remiss by failing to act more quickly.

Kean said the Transportation Security Administration was wrong to announce changes last week that will allow airline passengers to carry small scissors and some sharp tools. He also said the agency, by now, should have consolidated databases of passenger information into a single “terror watch list” to aid screening.

“I don’t think we have to go backward here,” said Kean, who appeared with Hamilton on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“They’re talking about using more money for random checks. Terrorists coming through the airport may still not be spotted,” Kean said.

Spending priorities
Kean and Hamilton urged Congress to pass spending bills that would allow police and fire to communicate across radio spectrums and to reallocate money so that Washington and New York, which have more people and symbolic landmarks, could receive more for terrorism defense.

Both bills have stalled in Congress, in part over the level of spending and turf fights over which states should get the most dollars.

“This is a no-brainer,” said Hamilton, a former Indiana congressman.

“From the standpoint of responding to a disaster, the key responders must be able to talk with one another. They could not do it on 9/11, and as a result of that, lives were lost. They could not do it at (Hurricane) Katrina. They still cannot do it.”

As for the dollar dispute, Hamilton said, “We know what terrorists want to do: they want to kill as many Americans as possible. That means you protect the Washington monument and United States Capitol, and not other places.”

Congress established the commission in 2002 to investigate government missteps that led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Its 567-page final report, which became a national best seller, does not blame Bush or former President Clinton for missteps contributing to the attacks but did say they failed to make anti-terrorism a higher priority.

The commission also concluded that the Sept. 11 attack would not be the nation’s last, noting that al-Qaida had tried for at least 10 years to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Calling the country “less safe than we were 18 months ago,” former Democratic commissioner Jamie Gorelick said Sunday the government’s failure to move forward on the recommendations makes the U.S. more vulnerable.

‘The interest has faded’
She cited the failure to ensure that foreign nations are upgrading security measures to stop proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical materials, as well as the FBI’s resistance to overhauling its anti-terror programs.

“You remember the sense of urgency that we all felt in the summer of 2004. The interest has faded,” the Washington lawyer said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “You could see that in the aftermath of Katrina. We assumed that our government would be able to do what it needed to do and it didn’t do it.”

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mindpilot
December 4, 2005, 04:33 PM
As if the Patriot Act doesnt infringe on our Civil Liberties enough they want more? If they would focus on working together and not throwing more money at defunct agencies things might get solved.

Standing Wolf
December 4, 2005, 11:01 PM
Generals always love to fight the last war.

The problem of Islamic terrorist savagry could have been solved once and for all in September or October, 2001, but we lacked the courage to defend our nation. By so doing, we positively invited the savages to prey upon us further.

We've done nothing to secure our borders. We've thrown away civil liberties upon civil liberties upon civil liberties. We've squandered billions of dollars on Iraq, but spent not a penny in worthwhile defense of our so-called "homeland," which strikes me as a term Stalin might have liked.

Maybe the terrorist savages have won.

mindpilot
December 4, 2005, 11:04 PM
Generals always love to fight the last war.

The problem of Islamic terrorist savagry could have been solved once and for all in September or October, 2001, but we lacked the courage to defend our nation. By so doing, we positively invited the savages to prey upon us further.

We've done nothing to secure our borders. We've thrown away civil liberties upon civil liberties upon civil liberties. We've squandered billions of dollars on Iraq, but spent not a penny in worthwhile defense of our so-called "homeland," which strikes me as a term Stalin might have liked.

Maybe the terrorist savages have won.

Your words are such Common Sense, I cannot for the life of me understand why educated people and legislatures have such a problem seeing COMMON SENSE. They see knowledge and wisdom and information, but have NO COMMON SENSE. :banghead:

xd9fan
December 4, 2005, 11:22 PM
we have the "appearence" of protection only. And we have less liberty to boot.

Skofnung
December 5, 2005, 12:01 AM
Standing Wolf always seems to post before me... And he often seems to state my own thoughts better than I could.

IOW... +1 SW

Secure the borders. Find alternative energy sources.

Accomplish that, and the WOT would be over. Oh wait... We don't want that now do we?

Art Eatman
December 5, 2005, 12:40 AM
My thinking on this derives from my belief that we're in a religious war. Not with all Islamics as a group, but those extremist Jihadists--for want of a better label--who despise everything the entire western nations have stood for. It's a war to the death, with "death" meaining the end of our general way of life if we lose out over time. I foresee losing as having many countries around the world being influenced away from doing business with us, more than any military type of losing. These countries would be nfluenced by fear, as Spain has been, for example. And, in some countries, govenments controlled by Jihadists.

I and those who agree with my view are in a relative minority in the U.S., I believe. Since nothing has happened in four years, the majority don't think there is any real chance of a further major or disastrous event. Until those of my view become a majority there will be no real, sure-enough security against infiltration and terroristic acts.

It is my belief--please prove me wrong--that the majority of Congress doesn't really believe there is a to-the-death threat against us...

Art

MarkDido
December 5, 2005, 05:43 AM
With All Due Respect....

1. Why is there still a 9/11 Commision, or is there? Their job was finished months ago. Why are they still commenting on it? Political pandering anyone?

2. Jamie Gorelick, one of the 9/11 "commissioners" was instrumental in building the "wall" between intelligence agencies, so she was part of the problem. Anyone care to explain how she got on the commission? Fox guarding the hen house?

3. The entire commission ignored / downplayed the Able Danger information, because it didn't fit their pre-determined conclusion.

Alex45ACP
December 5, 2005, 06:07 AM
I agree. Why haven't the borders been mined yet?

mindpilot
December 5, 2005, 07:32 AM
Mining the borders? That would keep the Canadian out and the Mexicans in...

ARE YOU INSANE?????????????? :D

WT
December 6, 2005, 12:10 PM
The 911 Commission was disbanded. The former members got together, on their own time and their own nickle, to raise the alarm that nothing has been done to make the USA safer. They are simply exercising their 1st Amendment rights to criticize the government's lack of action.


As former Gov. Kean pointed out, our local 911 funding went to buy garbage trucks. I guess the trucks will be used to carry the bodies away after one of our local unprotected chemical manufacturing plants gets blown up by terrorists. (The local churches have better security than the massive oil refineries.)


That said, it looks like our military-industrial-congressional complex is spending billions on new warships to fight in Somalia. Those 'skinnies' with their loin clothes and spears pose a tremendous threat to the USA ...... I guess.


I doubt the 911 Commission was given free access to the Able Danger Group.


Meanwhile, while I look out over New York Harbor and see no protection whatsoever for the freighters, tankers and Navy ammunition ships coming and going ........

Camp David
December 6, 2005, 12:27 PM
“It’s not a priority for the government right now,” said the former chairman, Thomas Kean, ahead of the group’s release of a report Monday assessing how well its recommendations have been followed."

With all due respect to Chairman Kean, we have come far since 09/11/01 and the security enacted since that date by the President has prevented further acts of terror in this nation... Are we completely safe? No. Can we be? No.

This posturing by the Commission bespeaks political grandstanding... let the Commission duly punish Jamie Gorelick for her enactment of the "wall" between intelligence agencies which led to intelligence failures and 09/11/01; let the Commission duly punish Democrats who wish to cut and run from the terror war now... let the Commission explain how to inspect each and every container entering this nation with the financial resources we now have?

This Commission was joke when it was formed and it is a joke now... the least senior soldier in Iraq has done more to fight terror than this entire Commission. :(

Master Blaster
December 6, 2005, 12:34 PM
But the government has stalled on other ideas, including improving communication among emergency responders and shifting federal terrorism-fighting money so it goes to states based on risk level.


Most of the money given to the states already has been wasted, New Jersey where former Gov. Kean hails from, is the poster child for wasting terrorism money. Heck their former governor hired himself a Gigilo instead of a security expert with the money.

I think the comment about the coordinated radio system, means that they are now lobbiing for Motorolla which has been selling these comprehensive and expensive systems for years. Delaware has spent about $250 million on a comprehensive Motorolla designed statewide system, which 10 years after its inception still does not work.

White Horseradish
December 6, 2005, 07:38 PM
With all due respect to Chairman Kean, we have come far since 09/11/01 and the security enacted since that date by the President has prevented further acts of terror in this nation... Are we completely safe? No. Can we be? No. Have you seen my polar bear repellent hat?

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