Pelosi: House Must Address Unfulfilled 9/11 Commission Recommendations

Jun 21, 2005
Press Release

Pelosi: House Must Address Unfulfilled 9/11 Commission Recommendations

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Contact: Brendan Daly/Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. â€" House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the intelligence authorization bill being debated this afternoon on the House floor, and the Republicans’ failure to implement critical recommendations by the independent 9/11 Commission:

“The preamble to the Constitution tells us that one of the first responsibilities of the federal government is to ‘provide for the common defense.’ My 10 years on the House Intelligence Committee have given me an appreciation for the vital role the men and women in our intelligence agencies play in doing just that.

“Many of them take extraordinary risks on a daily basis in an effort to gather the information policy makers and military commanders need to make sound decisions. They are deeply dedicated to preserving our country’s security and each of us is grateful for their hard work and sacrifice.

“They need an intelligence system that is as strong, smart, and competent as they are, and this bill takes several strong steps towards making sure we have that system. However, it would be a mistake for us to pass this bill and declare that our work is done and that we have fulfilled our responsibility to the intelligence community and the American people.

“It has now been more than 1,700 days since the September 11th terrorist attacks changed our nation, and laid bare the holes in our intelligence gathering system. It has been 11 months since the independent 9/11 Commission issued its findings and made its recommendations about how to close those gaps.

“Some critical recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission have gone unfulfilled. For example, Chairman Kean pointed earlier this month to the failure to allocate more of the broadcast spectrum to first responder communications as ‘almost a scandal.’

“Chairman Kean also emphasized what has long been known to members of the intelligence committee: the greatest danger facing the United States is a terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction, and the best way to address that is to safeguard or destroy WMD components, especially nuclear material, at its source.

“Intelligence plays a huge role in efforts to combat proliferation of nuclear material and technology, but money is needed to better protect or acquire these materials in the countries where they were developed. We are simply not providing enough resources to this effort.

“Finally, the 9/11 commissioners have been clear in their assessment that, unless Congress overhauls the procedures by which it oversees the work of the intelligence agencies, intelligence reform will not be successful.

“The House has not undertaken the kind of comprehensive review of the oversight process that the Commission believes to be necessary. I have let Speaker Hastert know, repeatedly, that Democrats are prepared to work cooperatively on this review. It is imperative that we begin this task soon â€" we have already waited far too long.

“This bill enjoys broad bipartisan support from members of the Intelligence Committee, and I intend to support it. In doing so, however, I urge that the House dedicate itself to finishing the job begun last fall with the adoption of the 9/11 intelligence reform bill and address completely all of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.”