Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Domestic Preparedness and Emergency Response to Terrorist Attacks

House Intelligence Committee Subcommittee on Terrorism Field Hearing - New York City

October 29, 2001

Chairman Porter Goss, Subcommittee Chairman Saxby Chambliss, and Ranking Member Jane Harman, thank you for your leadership in the fight against terrorism. As the Ranking Member on the full Intelligence Committee, I join you in welcoming our distinguished guests. I commend Mayor Giuliani and the public safety community for demonstrating that New York is truly an extraordinary place.

Those of us who have lived here, or visited, or just dreamed of it have always known that. For the rest of the world, September 11 demonstrated it. New Yorkers are extraordinary people. As people around the globe watched the events of the 11th in horror, they drew inspiration from the courage and determination of the people of this great city.  Today, we salute their efforts and the work of thousands of vounteers from across the nation who have pitched in working day and night on rescue and recovery.

Response to the September 11th events and the subsequent bioterrorism threat is testing our domestic preparedness systems. By necessity, Americans, who have lived blessed lives, must now focus on the ability of their own communities to protect lives and ensure safety in a dramatically changed world and to respond effectively should the worst happen. We have much to learn.

In my own community of San Francisco, those on the front lines of preparedness and response have raised with me their particular concerns about meeting the needs of children. For each of us and for all of us, the safety of our children is paramount. Wherever a crisis occurs, children will be affected. Crisis response plans must include procedures for protecting our children in schools, caring for the children of the first responders, and in some tragic cases, caring for the children of victims. I have several proposals to help our local schools prepare for crisis situations which I am working on in Congress and I look forward to discussing children’s needs with our witnesses.

I commend the people of New York for the example you have set in responding to an attack of heretofore unthinkable horror. We thank you for your courage, your fortitude, and your grace. We stand by you in rebuilding, turn to you for inspiration, and rely on you to work with first responders, planners, and officials across America to safeguard our communities.


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