Statement of the Family Steering Committee
for the 9/11 Independent Commission


July 26, 2004

The Family Steering Committee extends its heartfelt gratitude to the 9/11 Commissioners and staff for their tireless work in producing the Final Report.

We also offer our sincere thanks to the Commissioners for reuniting and refocusing the American public towards one common goal – making this nation less vulnerable to terrorists. They have rekindled the spirit of common purpose that characterized this nation in the days following September 11th. The Commission has brought us together again – truly committed in a determined mission to make our homeland safer.

Although we have not yet completed our review and analysis of the report and its footnotes, we nevertheless feel compelled to comment on the enormous impact this report has already made. For the first time in our history, ordinary citizens have been invited into the debate surrounding the structure of our national security apparatus. This invitation is long overdue. It is an example of democracy – alive, and at work.

The American people are demanding action in response to the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. They will not accept the fate of past Commissions, whose reforms were never implemented. Moreover, the 9/11 Commission's message – that national security issues are too important to be derailed by politics – is reverberating across the country.

In chilling similarity to the heightened threat period we encountered during the summer of 2001, recent intelligence reports are suggesting another imminent, spectacular terrorist attack. And just as in the summer of 2001, we find our Congress in recess and our President on vacation. This is simply unconscionable. We respectfully request that our lawmakers postpone their vacations in order to pass the potentially life-saving legislation recommended by the Commission. Nearly three years have passed since our nation's homeland security was cataclysmically breached. Far too little has been done to better secure our homeland. We therefore request that Congress and our President act with the greatest urgency.

The anniversary of September 11, 2001– a day that changed our world – approaches. As such, we believe that the most fitting way to honor the memory of our loved ones who perished on 9/11 is to implement the Commission's recommendations whether by Executive Order or legislative enactment.

We are committed to working with the Commissioners, Congress, the White House and the American public to ensure that these recommendations are acted upon expeditiously. These recommendations are truly a matter of life and death and we will not rest until reforms are adopted. They have had three years to carry out thoughtful study and analysis of the same problems addressed by the Commission. To paraphrase Commissioner Jim Thompson, if these reforms are not the best that can be done for the American people, then the Congress and the president should propose their alternate solutions now.

The tone of bipartisan cooperation set by this Commission is a model that we would like to see adopted by all of our government representatives. We also encourage every American to read the final report and to have their voices heard by writing, calling, and/or visiting with their elected officials to demand the enactment of necessary reforms.

We intend to hold any elected official publicly accountable for any obstruction or opposition to the implementation of these recommendations. We will maintain a log on our website that will track the course of this legislation. We will in effect conduct our own oversight – "the people's oversight". And we will actively lobby Congress and the White House until these important recommendations are in place.

To follow the progress of these enactments we encourage everyone to visit our website www.911independentcommission.org. We will provide updates on the progress of pending Congressional legislation.

Lastly, the Commissioners have concluded that September 11, 2001 resulted from a “failure of imagination”. Although accountability was not assigned to specific individuals, it is clear that one solution is to hire new people with better imaginations.

The time to act is now.