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  1. #1
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Who has blood on his hands?

    Not Clinton, who commissioned this BIPARTISAN study.

    Commission warned Bush
    But White House passed on recommendations by a
    bipartisan, Defense department-ordered commission on
    domestic terrorism.

    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    By Jake Tapper

    Sept. 12, 2001 | WASHINGTON -- They went to great pains
    not to sound as though they were telling the president
    "We told you so."

    But on Wednesday, two former senators, the bipartisan
    co-chairs of a Defense Department-chartered commission on
    national security, spoke with something between
    frustration and regret about how White House officials
    failed to embrace any of the recommendations to prevent
    acts of domestic terrorism delivered earlier this year.

    Bush administration officials told former Sens. Gary
    Hart, D-Colo., and Warren Rudman, R-N.H., that they
    preferred instead to put aside the recommendations issued
    in the January report by the U.S. Commission on National
    Security/21st Century. Instead, the White House announced
    in May that it would have Vice President Dick Cheney
    study the potential problem of domestic terrorism --
    which the bipartisan group had already spent two and a
    half years studying -- while assigning responsibility for
    dealing with the issue to the Federal Emergency
    Management Agency, headed by former Bush campaign manager
    Joe Allbaugh.

    The Hart-Rudman Commission had specifically recommended
    that the issue of terrorism was such a threat it needed
    far more than FEMA's attention.

    Before the White House decided to go in its own
    direction, Congress seemed to be taking the commission's
    suggestions seriously, according to Hart and Rudman.
    "Frankly, the White House shut it down," Hart
    says. "The president said 'Please wait, we're going
    to turn this over to the vice president. We believe FEMA
    is competent to coordinate this effort.' And so Congress
    moved on to other things, like tax cuts and the issue of
    the day."

    "We predicted it," Hart says of Tuesday's
    horrific events. "We said Americans will likely die
    on American soil, possibly in large numbers -- that's a
    quote (from the commission's Phase One Report) from the
    fall of 1999."

    On Tuesday, Hart says, as he sat watching TV coverage of
    the attacks, he experienced not just feelings of shock
    and horror, but also frustration. "I sat tearing my
    hair out," says the former two-term senator. "And
    still am."

    Rudman generally agrees with Hart's assessment, but adds:
    "That's not to say that the administration was

    "They wanted to try something else, they wanted to
    put more responsibility with FEMA," Rudman says.
    "But they didn't get a chance to do very much"
    before terrorists struck on Tuesday.

    The White House referred an inquiry to the National
    Security Council, which did not return a call for

    The bipartisan 14-member panel was put together in 1998
    by then-President Bill Clinton and then-House Speaker
    Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., to make sweeping strategic
    recommendations on how the United States could ensure its
    security in the 21st century.

    In its Jan. 31 report, seven Democrats and seven
    Republicans unanimously approved 50 recommendations. Many
    of them addressed the point that, in the words of the
    commission's executive summary, "the combination of
    unconventional weapons proliferation with the persistence
    of international terrorism will end the relative
    invulnerability of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic

    "A direct attack against American citizens on
    American soil is likely over the next quarter
    century," according to the report.

    The commission recommended the formation of a
    Cabinet-level position to combat terrorism. The proposed
    National Homeland Security Agency director would have
    "responsibility for planning, coordinating, and
    integrating various U.S. government activities involved
    in homeland security," according to the commission's
    executive summary.

    Other commission recommendations include having the
    proposed National Homeland Security Agency assume
    responsibilities now held by other agencies -- border
    patrol from the Justice Department, Coast Guard from the
    Transportation Department, customs from the Treasury
    Department, the National Domestic Preparedness Office
    from the FBI, cyber-security from the FBI and the
    Commerce Department. Additionally, the NHSA would take
    over FEMA, and let the "National Security Advisor and
    NSC staff return to their traditional role of
    coordinating national security activities and resist the
    temptation to become policymakers or operators."

    The commission was supposed to disband after issuing the
    report Jan. 31, but Hart and the other commission members
    got a six-month extension to lobby for their
    recommendations. Hart says he spent 90 minutes with
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and an hour with
    Secretary of State Colin Powell lobbying for the White
    House to devote more attention to the imminent dangers of
    terrorism and their specific, detailed recommendations
    for a major change in the way the federal government
    approaches terrorism. He and Rudman briefed National
    Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on the commission's

    For a time, the commission seemed to be on a roll.

    On April 3, before the Senate Judiciary Committee's
    Subcommittee on Terrorism and Technology, Hart sounded a
    call of alarm, saying that an "urgent" need
    existed for a new national security strategy, with an
    emphasis on intelligence gathering.

    "Good intelligence is the key to preventing attacks
    on the homeland," Hart said, arguing that the
    commission "urges that homeland security become one
    of the intelligence community's most important
    missions." The nation needed to embrace "homeland
    security as a primary national security mission." The
    Defense Department, for instance, "has placed its
    highest priority on preparing for major theater war"
    where it "should pay far more attention to the
    homeland security mission." Homeland security would
    be the main purpose of beefed-up National Guard units
    throughout the country.

    A new strategy, new organizations like the National
    Homeland Security Agency -- which would pointedly
    "not be heavily centered in the Washington, D.C.
    area" -- would be formed to fulfill this mission, as
    well with the fallout should that mission fail. As the
    U.S. is now, the Phase III report stated, "its
    structures and strategies are fragmented and
    inadequate." Diplomacy was to be refocused on
    intelligence sharing about terrorist groups. Allies were
    to have their military, intelligence and law enforcement
    agencies work more closely with ours. Border security was
    to be beefed up.

    More resources needed to be devoted to the new mission.
    "The Customs Service, the Border Patrol, and the
    Coast Guard are all on the verge of being overwhelmed by
    the mismatch between their growing duties and their
    mostly static resources," the report stated.
    Intelligence needed to focus not only on electronic
    surveillance but a renewed emphasis on human surveillance
    -- informants and spies -- "especially on terrorist
    groups covertly supported by states." As the threat
    was imminent, Congress and the president were urged to
    "start right away on implementing the recommendations
    put forth here."

    Congress seemed interested in enacting many of the
    commission's recommendations. "We had a very good
    response from the Hill," Rudman says.

    In March, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, introduced the
    National Homeland Security Agency Act. Other members of
    Congress -- Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md., John Kyl,
    R-Ariz., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. -- talked about the
    issue, and these three and others began drafting
    legislation to enact some of the recommendations into

    But in May, Bush announced his plan almost as if the
    Hart-Rudman Commission never existed, as if it hadn't
    spent millions of dollars, "consulting with experts,
    visiting 25 countries worldwide, really deliberating long
    and hard," as Hart describes it. Bush said in a
    statement that "numerous federal departments and
    agencies have programs to deal with the consequences of a
    potential use of a chemical, biological, radiological or
    nuclear weapon in the United States. But to maximize
    their effectiveness, these efforts need to be seamlessly
    integrated, harmonious and comprehensive." That,
    according to the president, should be done through FEMA,
    headed by Allbaugh, formerly Bush's gubernatorial chief
    of staff.

    Bush also directed Cheney -- a man with a full plate,
    including supervision of the administration's energy
    plans and its dealings with Congress -- to supervise the
    development of a national counter-terrorism plan. Bush
    announced that Cheney and Allbaugh would review the
    issues and have recommendations for him by Oct. 1. The
    commission's report was seemingly put on the shelf.

    Just last Thursday, Hart spoke with Rice again. "I
    told her that I and the others on the commission would do
    whatever we could to work with the vice president to move
    on this," Hart said. "She said she would pass on
    the message."

    On Tuesday, Hart says he spent much of his time on the
    phone with the commission's executive director, Gen.
    Charles G. Boyd. "We agreed the thing we should not
    do is say, 'We told you so,'" Hart says. "And
    that's not what I'm trying to do here. Our focus needs to
    be: What do we do now?"

    Of course, as a former senator, Hart well knows what
    happens to the recommendations of blue-chip panels. But
    he says he thought that the gravity of the issue -- and
    the comprehensiveness of the commission's task -- would
    prevent its reports from being ignored. After all, when
    then-Secretary of Defense William Cohen signed the
    charter for the 21st Century National Security Strategy
    Study, he charged its members to engage in "the most
    comprehensive security analysis" since the
    groundbreaking National Security Act of 1947, which
    created the National Security Council, the Central
    Intelligence Agency and the Office of Secretary of
    Defense, among other organizations.

    Neither Hart nor Rudman claim that their recommendations,
    if enacted, would have necessarily prevented Tuesday's
    tragedy. "Had they adopted every recommendation we
    had put forward at that time I don't think it would have
    changed what happened," Rudman says. "There
    wasn't enough time to enact everything. But certainly I
    would hope they pay more attention now."

    "Could this have been prevented?" Hart asks.
    "The answer is, 'We'll never know.' Possibly
    not." It was a struggle to convince President Clinton
    of the need for such a commission, Hart says. He urged
    Clinton to address this problem in '94 and '95, but
    Clinton didn't act until 1998, prompted by politics.
    "He saw Gingrich was about to do it, so he moved to
    collaborate," Hart says. "Seven years had gone by
    since the end of the Cold War. It could have been much

    Rudman said that he "would not be critical of them
    [the Bush administration] this early because the bottom
    line is, a lot has to be done." The commission handed
    down its recommendations just eight and a half months
    ago, he said, and they'll take years to fully enact.

    "On the other hand," Rudman said, "if two
    years go by and the same thing happens again, shame on

    "I'm not pointing fingers," Rudman said. "I
    just want to see some results." He may get his wish.
    On Wednesday, Thornberry renewed his call for a National
    Homeland Security Agency. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the
    assistant majority leader, called for the formation of a
    federal counter-terrorism czar.

    Three days ago, if asked to predict what the first major
    foreign terrorist attack on America soil would involve,
    Hart says he would have guessed small nuclear warheads
    simultaneously unleashed on three American cities. But,
    he says, "there wasn't doubt in anyone's mind on that
    commission" that something horrific would happen
    "probably sooner rather than later. We just didn't
    know how."

    In addition to the Bush administration, Hart has another
    group that he wishes had paid the commission's
    suggestions more heed. "The national media didn't pay
    attention," Hart says. One senior reporter from a
    well-known publication told one of Hart's fellow
    commissioners, "This isn't important, none of this is
    ever going to happen," Hart says. "That's a
    direct quote."

    Hart points out that while the New York Times mentioned
    the commission in a Wednesday story with the sub-headline
    "Years of Unheeded Alarms," that story was the
    first serious mention the Times itself had ever given the
    commission. The Times did not cover the commission's
    report in January, nor did it cover Hart's testimony in
    April, he points out. "We're in an age where we don't
    want to deal with serious issues, we want to deal with
    little boys pitching baseballs who might be 14 instead of

    Hart says he just shook his head when he saw a former
    Clinton administration Cabinet official on TV Tuesday
    calling for the formation of a commission to study the
    best way to combat terrorism. "If a former Cabinet
    officer didn't know, how could the average man on the
    street? I do hope the American people understand that
    somebody was paying attention."

    In his April 3 testimony, Hart noted that "the
    prospect of mass casualty terrorism on American soil is
    growing sharply. That is because the will to terrorism
    and the ways to perpetrate it are proliferating and
    merging. We believe that, over the next quarter century,
    this danger will be one of the most difficult national
    security challenges facing the United States -- and the
    one we are least prepared to address." He urgently
    described the need for better human intelligence and not
    just electronic intelligence, "especially on
    terrorist groups covertly supported by states."

    He's far from happy to have been proven correct. Both
    Hart and Rudman say with grim confidence that Tuesday's
    attacks are just the beginning. Maybe now, Rudman says,
    Congress, the White House, the media and the American
    people will realize how serious they were about their
    January report.

    "Human nature is prevalent in government as
    well," Rudman says. "We tend not to do what we
    ought to do until we get hit between the eyes."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    March 7th, 2008
    why are you posting this in an affiliate forum?

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    June 30th, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by HS2008
    why are you posting this in an affiliate forum?
    Why are you posting in threads that are nearly 7 years old?

  4. #4
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 25th, 2006
    Go Daddy
    Because this person is annoying and they keep posting on threads from 01...someone please block their posting access for awhile!

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