The Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent
Commission Statement Regarding the Final Report
July 20, 2004
Since December of 2002, and the passage of Public Law 107-306, the Family Steering Committee has scrupulously followed the course of the 9/11 Commission. In fact, from the Commission’s very inception, the FSC sought to maintain a close working relationship with the Commission by providing it with our documented research, along with the questions it generated, and by communicating our concerns about the progress of the investigation.
While we believe that our concerns were acknowledged, we had also hoped that more of our questions and those of the American public would be fully addressed during the public hearings, or at the very least, discussed in the prepared staff statements. Yet today, many of our collective questions remain unanswered. (NOTE: Our questions are posted at www.911independentcommission.org.)
These questions must be comprehensively addressed and clearly answered by the Commission in the final report so that everyone is able to understand and assess our nation’s past and current security policies, protocols and procedures. Our objective has always been to better protect and defend our nation from the ongoing threat of terrorism.
Although we have made some progress since September 11th, preliminary 9/11 Commission reports and witness testimony illustrate that we remain vulnerable and at great risk of a future attack. Many of the deadly mistakes and failures that contributed to the terrorists’ success on 9/11 have yet to be corrected. The “vital dialogue and debate” that our elected leaders espoused has been cast aside because of election year politics. The vulnerabilities in our security network cannot be rectified until they have been identified through a process in which issues are thoroughly examined, witnesses are fully questioned, accountability is wholly assigned and sound conclusions are ultimately drawn. It is only after this vetting process that we – the American people – can be confident that critically important changes and reforms will be expeditiously implemented.
While there were great acts of heroism performed by many people on 9/11, there were also colossal systemic failures that occurred. Many of these failures can be attributed to government agencies and institutions whose very responsibility it was to keep New York City, Washington, D.C., airline passengers and the rest of America safe. And, while a thorough examination of these types of failures might prove politically uncomfortable for some, the nation must have the courage to withstand constructive criticism so that we can fix these problems, as they continue to plague our national security apparatus to this very day.
There is much work that remains to be done. And it is our hope that the Commission’s final report will serve as a guide for our elected leaders to the areas and issues that must be addressed, assessed and reformed. We do not want the recommendations and findings of this report to sit idly on a shelf until after the next attack – to do so would be to dishonor and defile the memories of our loved ones. We look forward to working cooperatively with the Commission and government officials towards this end.
Finally, because of the political environment in which this report will be issued, we respectfully request that discussion of its findings and recommendations transcend partisan, election-year politics. We call upon President Bush and Congress to expedite implementation of the needed reforms in order to ensure the security of our great nation. Time is of the essence.