Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Statement on Report of House-Senate Joint Inquiry Into September 11

December 11, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader-Elect Nancy Pelosi, the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, released the following statement at a press conference this morning about the final report of the House-Senate joint inquiry in September 11, which was approved yesterday:

"I want to commend our chairmen, Senator Graham and Congressman Goss, and ranking Member Senator Shelby, for their extraordinary leadership. I also want to thank Eleanor Hill and the rest of the joint inquiry staff. This inquiry was conducted in bipartisan, thorough, and professional way.

"We began our proceedings nine months ago with a moment of prayer -- ever cognizant of the tremendous responsibility we had to the families who lost loved ones, and to those Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice. We ended our inquiry yesterday with a moment of prayer again.

"The task we agreed to was straightforward, but not simple: to reduce the risk of future attacks; to conduct a thorough search for facts and answers; and to lay a basis for assessing accountability. We have honored that charge. At the same time, I want to recognize and pay tribute to the many people in the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and law enforcement, for the courage and contributions they make every day.

"Having said that, the inquiry found deficiencies in the performance of the intelligence agencies, and recommendations are made to address them. The recommendations, some of which are controversial, are best understood in conjunction with the still-classified material on which they were based.

"One of our recommendations appears to have been misunderstood. We did not recommend that Congress create something similar to the British MI-5, a domestic intelligence agency. What we did recommend is that consideration be done by Congress in the full light of day, in full view of the American people, with all due deliberations about how we balance liberty and security.

"Our recommendations are a good beginning, but a great deal of work remains to be done to determine how best to protect the American people and the civil liberties we hold dear.

"I am hopeful that the newly created September 11th Commission will build on the foundation provided in this report.

"Families of victims have told us that simply hearing a plane overhead fills them with terror. If we did our jobs well on this joint inquiry and if the Commission does its job well, I hope we can remove that fear."


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