Se­cu­rity upgrades in­com­plete, 9/11 Com­mis­sion says

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY SHAUN WA­TER­MAN

The U.S. is safer from ter­ror­ism than it was be­fore Sept. 11, 2001, but gaps re­main, par­tic­u­larly in avi­a­tion se­cu­rity, in­tel­li­gence re­form and con­gres­sional over­sight, ac­cord­ing to the 9/11 Com­mis­sion.

“There were ma­jor screwups” in es­tab­lish­ing a new di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence to lead U.S. spy agen­cies, and prob­lems with con­gres­sional over­sight are now worse than they were in 2001, com­mis­sion mem­ber John F. Lehman told The Wash­ing­ton Times.

As for avi­a­tion se­cu­rity, the “cur­rent sys­tem is not ef­fi­cient, there is no cost-ben­e­fit anal­y­sis and the screen­ing tech­nol­ogy can be de­feated” to get ex­plo­sives and firearms onto planes, said Mr. Lehman, who served as Navy sec­re­tary un­der Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan.

The 10-mem­ber com­mis­sion, set up by Pres­i­dent George W. Bush 15 months after the 9/11 at­tacks, was charged with find­ing out how al Qaeda’s plot to crash hijacked air­lin­ers into the cen­ters of U.S. eco­nomic, mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal power suc­ceeded, and what changes were needed to pro­tect the coun­try against fu­ture at­tacks.

In July 2004, after more than a year of hear­ings and re­search, in­clud­ing pro­tracted dis­putes with the ad­min­is­tra­tion about ac­cess to in­tel­li­gence docu- ments, the com­mis­sion is­sued its re­port.

In ad­di­tion to a much-praised nar­ra­tive of the at­tacks, the re­port con­tained 41 rec­om­men­da­tions for sweep­ing changes to the poli­cies and in­sti­tu­tional struc­tures of the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

On Aug. 31, with the 10th an­niver­sary of the at­tacks loom­ing, the com­mis­sion re­con­vened to de­liver its lat­est scorecard on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of those rec­om­men­da­tions and to eval­u­ate save it­self and save the world” and con­cludes, “Thus China must be ready to be­come the world’s helms­man.”

Col. Liu be­lieves that “there has never been such a thing in the world as a na­tion’s ‘peace­ful rise.’ “ As to the ques­tion of why China should dom­i­nate the world, Col. Liu un­abashedly states on page 80 of the 303-page tome that the rea­son is be­cause “China pos­sesses a su­pe­rior cul­tural gene needed to be­come the world’s leader.”

Although Col. Liu an­nounced at the time of the book’s pub­li­ca­tion that views ex­pressed in the book were his own, he im­me­di­ately fol­lowed that by stat­ing his were the “pre­vail­ing views within quite a por­tion of China’s mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ments.” So far, no Chi­nese of­fi­cial has for­mally de­nounced these points raised by a se­nior mil­i­tary leader. progress in se­cur­ing the U.S. against ter­ror­ism.

“Over­all, the wa­ter glass is more full than empty,” Mr. Lehman said. “I’d say it was 6040.”

He noted that 32 of the com­mis­sion’s 41 rec­om­men­da­tions have been im­ple­mented to some de­gree.

But the prob­lems it iden­ti­fied in con­gres­sional over­sight had “got­ten worse, and no­body is push­ing to make them bet­ter,” he flight Aug. 22, near Xing­tai, He­bei Province, some 200 miles south­west of Bei­jing. The crash was ob­served by vil­lagers near the crash site and con­firmed to a re­porter from the Hong Kong news­pa­per Ming Pao. The crash took place at said.

Congress “has got to shape up,” Mr. Lehman added. “They are now the big­gest prob­lem.”

Com­mis­sion co-chair­man Lee Hamil­ton told The Times that 88 con­gres­sional com­mit­tees and sub­com­mit­tees had over­sight of the new Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity when the com­mis­sion first is­sued its re­port. That “weak­ens over­sight and [is] a huge bur­den on DHS,” he said, not­ing that the com­mis- about noon. A large group of PLA sol­diers rushed to the site to re­cover the de­bris. The BZk005 is de­signed to have a take­off weight of 2,750 pounds and can fly at an al­ti­tude of 26,000 feet for more than 40 hours at the cruis­ing speed of 95 to 110 sion rec­om­mended a sin­gle panel to over­see the depart­ment.

In­stead, the num­ber of com­mit­tees with over­sight re­spon­si­bil­ity for DHS has grown to more than 100. “They’ve gone back­wards,” said Mr. Hamil­ton, who served in Congress for 34 years.

He noted that there had been some moves to im­prove over­sight of in­tel­li­gence spend­ing, but that the com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions on that score also have lan­guished.

Mr. Lehman was par­tic­u­larly crit­i­cal of the es­tab­lish­ment of the di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence (DNI).

“Bush turned our rec­om­men­da­tion for the DNI up­side-down,” he said, not­ing that the com­mis­sion had wanted a pow­er­ful leader for the 16 U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies with con­trol of per­son­nel and bud­gets. “He got none of that,” he said of the new di­rec­tor, call­ing the of­fice “just a new 2,000-per­son bu­reau­cracy.”

The di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence “has no au­thor­ity [. . . ] he’s just a cheer­leader,” Mr. Hamil­ton said, not­ing that there have been four peo­ple in the post in six years.

Other ar­eas where com­mis­sion­ers said their rec­om­men­da­tions re­mained un­ful­filled in­clude the es­tab­lish­ment of a bio­met­ric bor­der for the United States, se­cure iden­tity doc­u­ments for U.S. cit­i­zens and a strong ex­ec­u­tive branch over­sight com­mit­tee to pro­tect pri­vacy and civil lib­er­ties. mph. It is the Chi­nese mil­i­tary’s an­swer to the U.S. Air Force’s strate­gic re­con­nais­sance drone, the RQ-4 Global Hawk.


Bet­ter pre­pared? A shell of what was once part of the fa­cade of one of the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Cen­ter rises above the rubble that re­mains after both towers were de­stroyed in the ter­ror­ist at­tacks of Sept. 11.

A cou­ple of chicken ribs? F-16 fighter jets

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