NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES
Monday, March 31, 2003
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House Auditorium
One Bowling Green
New York, York
Commissioner's Opening Statements
Remarks by The Honorable Governor George Pataki, State of New York
Remarks by The Honorable Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City of New York
Raymond Kelly, New York Police Commissioner
THE EXPERIENCE OF THE ATTACK
Harry Waizer, Cantor Fitzgerald survivor
David Lim, Port Authority
Lee Ielpi, Fire Department of New York (retired)
Brian Birdwell, United States Army
Craig Sincock, United States Army (retired)
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE VICTIMS
Stephen Push, Families of September 11
Mary Fetchet, Voices of September 11
Mindy Kleinberg, September 11 Advocates
Allison Vadhan, Families of Flight 93
THE ATTACKERS, INTELLIGENCE, AND COUNTER-TERRORISM POLICY
Abraham Sofaer, Hoover Institution
Daniel Byman, Georgetown University
Brian Jenkins, RAND
Magnus Ranstorp, University of St. Andrews
CHAIRMAN KEAN: The official start of our
first public hearing is going to be an
extraordinarily important job, we believe, for the
country. In my capacity as the Chairman of the
Commission on Terrorist Attacks in the United
States, I am honored and humbled to convene this
first public hearing.
Since my colleagues and I were appointed
at the turn of the year, many people from all walks
of life, and actually from other nations even, have
inquired about our work. And many offered their
help. What they really wanted, however, were
Their questions fall into three basic
categories: First, they wanted to know what led to
the terrorist attacks upon our country September
11th, that took the lives of almost 3,000 Americans
and forever changed the lives of millions of
others. There was not a person alive that day
whose life was not changed in some way by September
Those who perished in those attacks or
those who were wounded had done nothing to warrant
it. They were going about their business. They
were doing their jobs. They were flying to see
family or to conduct business or to spend time with
loved ones or going or returning from vacations.
They didn't personally know their
assassins. Those who attacked them had no
particular human target in mind. They just wanted
to kill as many people as possible. They didn't
care who the victims were. All they had to do to
warrant their killing and maiming, they wanted to
target buildings or certain airplanes.
Most of whom who died or were injured were
Americans. The deceased and survivors were of all
backgrounds, races, religions, creeds and even
nationalities. They only had one thing in common.
They were all at the time doing their best to keep
ours, the finest, strongest, most productive,
creative, diverse and welcoming democracy that has
ever been created on the face of the earth, and,
you see, that's what the terrorists sought to
They wanted to extinguish the very
freedom, vitality and diversity that characterizes
the American way of life and makes it the bastion
of hope for so many others in the world.
And they sought to do this by killing
thousands of our people, disrupting the life
pattern of this country as a whole, and by
instilling what they hoped was fear, not only in
our nation but in all nations that allow ideas to
compete freely and fairly in the open marketplace.
The American people want the answers to so
many questions around 9/11. They want to know who
were these people and how could they have done this
terrible thing to so many innocent people. What
kind of fanaticism drove them to do this?
They also want to know how such a
dastardly attack could occur and succeed in a
nation as strong as ours, militarily, economically
and technologically. They want to know what, if
anything, went wrong on that pacific day, what
evidence did those charged with safeguarding the
security of us all, what evidence did they have that
might somehow have averted this tragedy and how did
they use it.
What evidence then was available? What
could have been done to avert this tragedy? What
if people had acted differently on that day and the
days leading up to September 11th? And finally,
most importantly, they want to know what can be
done to prevent future terrorist attacks of this
scale and how can we make this country safer for
all its people.
In conversations I have had with family
members of people who perished in the attacks
against the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and
in that plane crash in a small field in Somerset
County, Pennsylvania, they told me time and again
that the one thing they were concerned about was to
make sure that their loved ones had not died in
It's horrible enough to see someone you
love struck down in this manner. It would be even
worse for the rest of us to do nothing to prevent
other families from having to endure such grief and
pain in the future.
As Chairman of the Commission, I want to
say that I consider this task the most important
part of our work. We must not allow the people who
were struck down to simply become statistics. Each
represented a life that was interrupted. All had
families, colleagues and friends who care deeply
about them, all who perished had dreams that are
now unfulfilled. All became the first casualties
of what has become a war against the United States,
declared by international terrorists.
The victims did not know, when they said
good-bye to their loved ones when they departed for
work or the airport on that fateful morning, that
they would be part of such a war. They had no
weapons and they didn't even know the identity of
We will, I know, in this country construct
memorials, and we should, to honor these people,
but the greatest service we can pay those who made
the ultimate sacrifice and those who survived the
blaze is to do all we can to assure that no one
ever again experiences the kind of anguish that
I know there's nothing we can do on this
Commission to bring anybody back to life, but those
who were taken from us on September 11th, we can
work to assure that no future families suffer in
this way, the way so many people have suffered.
And this is what our Commission intends to do.
I want to say a word or two about the
purpose of today's hearing. In the parlance of
Congress, this is not an investigative hearing but
an informal one. Today we will not, as we'll be
doing in the future, be cross-examining witnesses.
The Mayor and Governor are coming. They are coming
to welcome us. We will have questions for them
probably later, but today we will not be doing
We will be doing that on, as I say, a
number of other occasions. And some of our
meetings will be in public, some will not be in
public because of the kind of sensitive materials
that we will be dealing with. On those occasions,
we will be able to have extensive discussions with
many people who will be testifying today and
On this first day of our hearing, we will
be seeking to ascertain what those who feel a
personal stake in our deliberations think is
important for us to study.
We will hear from people who have lived
and survived the attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon. We will hear from
representatives of families of those who died in
those attacks. We will hear from the governor of
this great state and the mayor of this great city.
And finally, we will hear from a number of others
who have a particular interest in the events of
that terrible day.
Tomorrow we will hear from people who have
particular expertise in national terrorism, the
kinds of actions that made the attacks on September
11th possible, and the kinds of measures that might
be taken to avoid such future events.
Before I turn over the floor to our Vice
Chairman, Lee Hamilton, I want to say a couple, two
additional things about what this Commission will
and will not attempt to do and something about the
As I said, our purpose is to find out why
things happened, how they could have happened, and
what we can do to prevent their ever happening
again. We will be following paths and we will
follow those individual paths wherever they lead.
We may end up holding individual agencies, people
and procedures to account.
But our fundamental purpose will not be to
point fingers, it is rather to answer fully the
questions that so many still have and, most
importantly, as I say, to prevent and to do
everything we can to make the American people safer
so we will not have this kind of thing ever happen
As we were getting ourselves organized, I
asked members of the Commission staff, were there
any precedents for what we were about to do. And I
came forward with two commissions. Both came into
being in the aftermath of other national tragedies.
Those who are old enough to remember the
bombing of Pearl Harbor and the assassination of
President Kennedy remember those commissions well.
Neither fully satisfied the hopes of those that
It seems there are no real precedents for
what we're about to attempt. To succeed, we are
going to need the cooperation of the Congress, the
national administration, federal, state and local
law enforcement and other agencies, think tanks,
foundations, university professors, business,
industry and labor, survivors, witnesses, and
ordinary citizens. And I thank them in advance for
Finally, about the Commission itself: We
were created by the United States Congress for a
specific purpose. I have outlined in a general way
what we hope to do. The Commission operates in a
strictly nonpartisan nature. Five of us happen to
be registered as Republicans, five of us as
Democrats, but we're not going to operate as party
members, and the staff is not partisan.
All of us, in one capacity or another,
have served in government. None of us still do.
None of us have any agenda but getting to the truth
to make ours a safer country.
I want in particular to single out the
Vice Chairman of this Commission, Lee Hamilton. I
have long admired Congressman Hamilton for his
public service, in the truest sense of the word,
and what he has done for this country. I am very
honored to be able to serve with him on this
Today marks the first occasion when the
American people will have an opportunity to see who
we are. Each of us had our own reasons for
accepting the call to serve on this Commission.
For eight years I have had the honor to
serve as Governor of the State of New Jersey. I
was born here in this great city, attended graduate
school at Columbia, met my wife here. I've spent
almost my entire life living and working around
I remember when the World Trade Center was
built. I must have been in it hundreds of times.
I appointed half the commissions to the Port
Authority when I was Governor. I was well
acquainted with many of its employees and knew some
of those who died on September 11th as friends.
As a private citizen, I sat on the board
of a company who lost over 80 people on that
terrible day. I delivered the eulogy at that
memorial service. As a university president, I
counseled students who were grieving on that
terrible day and afterwards.
Not far from where I live, a young pastor
of a rural church that serves no more than two- or
three-thousand families told the local newspaper he
had performed nine funeral masses on a single day.
I didn't lose any member of my family on that
particular day, but I did lose a lot of friends in
the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and that
Adlai Stevenson said, when he learned of
John Kennedy's assassination, each of us who was
alive will carry the memory of that particular
death until the day of ours. That is how we feel
about September 11th.
Thank you, and I will now call on
Congressman Lee Hamilton, the Vice Chairman of the
VICE CHAIRMAN HAMILTON: Good morning,
Governor. Thank you for a very moving and eloquent
Governor Kean is an inspired choice to
lead this Commission. He's the only member of the
Commission appointed by the President, and I
commend the President for his appointment. The
other members of the Commission are appointed by
members of Congress.
I am very pleased to serve with Governor
Kean on this Commission, as Vice Chairman, and I
have appreciated already his remarkable leadership
as I have talked with him over the phone every day
now for the past four or five months.
I'm pleased and privileged to be joined by
my fellow Commissioners. Each bring remarkable and
unique experience from public service and from
private life. They really are an exceptional
group, a talented group, that gives me high
confidence that this Commission will successfully
complete its awesome task. Each of us believes
that this is as serious an undertaking as any in
which we have been involved.
The Commission exists to understand what
happened on September 11th and to protect our
nation against future attack. Our mandate is to
look back, to learn the vital lessons of 9/11, to
look forward, to make recommendations that leave
the United States and its people safer.
Our primary task is to answer one
essential question: What can we do to prevent
Our mandate is breathtakingly broad.
After all, 9/11 was not simply a failure of a
single person or department of government but
rather a systemic breakdown of our government's
defenses, our preparedness for catastrophic
terrorism and our understanding of a new world in
which threats develop an ocean away and strike us
with horrifying impact within our own borders.
Thus, our mandate, as stated by the
Congress and reaffirmed by the President, extends
to many areas of policy. We are specifically
mandated to scrutinize intelligence, law
enforcement, diplomacy, immigration and border
controls, the financing of terrorism, commercial
aviation, Congressional oversight of
counterterrorism efforts and other areas that we,
as a Commission, deem relevant.
In all we do as a Commission, we will
strive to be independent, impartial, thorough, and
nonpartisan. The Commission will provide a factual
record of September 11, 2001, how events developed
and how our nation responded, from the first
responders at the Pentagon and the World Trade
Center, to the national leadership.
As the Chairman has already said, we will
also seek a better understanding of the enemy. How
did al Qaeda emerge as a threat? How did our
government's counterterrorism policy evolve? What
have been our successes and our failures, and what
are the broad foreign-policy lessons of 9/11?
I believe this Commission can and will
make a significant and valuable impact worthy of
the attention and scrutiny of the American people
Much good work has already been done on
several issues before us. The Congressional Joint
Inquiry into the intelligence failures of 9/11 has
concluded its work and many other credible sources
have analyzed the issues that confront this
Commission, but the Joint Inquiry's focus was
limited to intelligence and other inquiries have
lacked the breadth of our mandate.
Now, some 18 months after that terrifying
day, we still have no comprehensive analysis of
9/11, no authoritative record of the many forces
that led to the attacks, no definitive narrative of
the events of the day, and no set of
recommendations to address the wide assortment of
government policies and concerns related to the
Today the Commission holds the first of
its public hearings. The Commission is committed
to public hearings such as these for two reasons.
First, we are revisiting a seismic event
in American history and the lives of all Americans,
and we are working on issues of the utmost
importance to their safety and security. Thus, we
are obligated to keep the American people as
informed as we can of our work and our findings.
Second, the American people are our
greatest resource. The success of our inquiry
depends upon their intelligence, fortitude and good
will. We will do our best to engage Americans of
all walks of life to complete our work.
Today we seek guidance from individuals
who can offer unique perspective and valuable
vision. We will hear from the survivors of the
attack who can relate to us the awful experience of
that day. We will hear from the families of the
Nobody suffered a greater loss on that
terrible day. This loss both focuses and informs
our work. The families offer a solemn reminder of
the gravity of our inquiry. And through the
knowledge they have acquired in seeking answers to
their many questions, the families also are a very
We will hear from the first responders who
were called to duty on 9/11. Their brave and
extraordinarily capable example set this nation on
a path towards recovery and their experience is
essential to our understanding of the events of the
day and our preparedness for future attacks.
And we will hear from public officials who
coordinated this city and state's response. They
too were on the front lines in their
decision-making and marshalling of resources. We
look forward to their wisdom on preventing,
preparing for, and responding to terrorist attacks.
We step into a moving stream. We operate
in the context of the war on terror, which includes
operations abroad, some precautions already taken,
with more under consideration, and a government
that is reshaping itself to combat terrorism. And
all the while, the threat of another attack looms.
The urgency of our work is apparent.
Our staff, very ably led by Dr. Zelikow
and Chris Kojm, represents some of the finest
expertise in the country. We are establishing an
office in New York, as well as Washington. We have
contacted all the various agencies we will be
working with in the coming months.
We have received assurances of cooperation
from the White House and from the Congress. We
have set a course, an infrastructure, to meet the
charge of our mandate. And we have begun to review
and build upon, not duplicate, the foundation of
good work that has already been done by the Joint
Inquiry and many others.
Our time is short and much work lies
ahead. We have miles to go before we sleep. At
the end of our work, it is my hope that we will
have helped insure the security of the American homeland.
What greater or more urgent task could there be
than understanding this national tragedy and
working to strengthen the safety of the American
All want this Commission to succeed. With
the help of our witnesses today and the many more
to follow, we will produce a record that we trust
will stand the tests of time, a record that
heightens our understanding of the challenges ahead
and sets our course, as a nation, toward peace and
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Congressman
Hamilton. Now I'd like to introduce Commissioner
COMMISSIONER FIELDING: Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. Good morning.
At the outset, let me state how honored
and awed I am to be a member of this Commission and
to have the opportunity and privilege of working
with the Chairman, the Vice Chairman and my fellow
It is a very onerous and huge task ahead
of us, and I can only pledge to provide all the
time, energy and skill I may possess to the
complete fulfillment of such important goals.
For my part, I come to this task with no
preconceptions as to what we may find and no
preconceived agenda as to what we may ultimately
I do, however, come with the anger and
sorrow and the despair shared by others over the acts
of 9/11 and over the loss we suffered to our
national sense of domestic security and of the
losses, the senseless and vicious losses, of
friends and family and innocent people.
I personally lost a dear friend who was
also the wife of a very close and longtime
colleague and friend of mine. I also personally
lost a delightful and most promising young law
partner, Karen Kincaide. Her presence is so sorely
missed at the law firm.
So I can't say that I am dispassionate and
I can't say that I am totally objective about that
day, but we all suffered losses in various and
varied degrees. And that collective loss must be
the motivation to be sure that everything is done
to prevent this from happening again.
We must not rush to judgment, to be sure,
but we surely must make judgments. As I see our
mission, it is to carefully look to the past in
order that we can then realistically look to the
present and ultimately formulate credible
recommendations for the future.
We must be fair and respectful and
impartial in our work, but we must also be thorough
and surgical in our pursuit of these facts. We
must follow facts wherever they lead. There are no
sacred cows in this endeavor.
We must be respectful to our institutions
at every and all levels of government, but we must
also honor the mandate given to us to be as
thorough as possible in order to make the most
relevant findings and recommendations.
I don't know where the facts will lead us
when we seek to determine and to understand not
only what happened on that horrible day but also
how it could happen and how our government entities
were then dealing with the threat that gave rise to
And I don't know where the facts will lead
us as we probe the various institutions of our
government, federal, state, executive, legislative,
to determine how each of these institutions was
poised and prepared to deal with other actions that
could have possibly occurred or, God forbid,
actions that can occur.
Further, we must probe to see if
institutional oversight, pressure, or actions
inhibited in any way the role or the degree of
vigilance that was necessary.
To repeat the obvious, we don't know where
these facts will lead us, but we will seek the
facts and have them lead us to conclusions which
then, and only then, can be the basis for realistic
recommendations that will hopefully mitigate the
possibility that we might again suffer the assaults
of those who want to attack our way of life by
attacking and terrorizing our citizens and our
people in this country.
A word of self-imposed caution is needed.
Probity, skill, intelligence, good judgment-they're
all necessary to accomplishing our
responsibility and should be the hallmarks of our
conduct in our deliberations. But most important is
our task of instilling in the public confidence in
Critics will look to any indicia of
partisanship, divisiveness or disarray, and we must
be vigilant to resist anything that leads to such a
conclusion. History has shown that such actions, and
especially things such as leaks of sensitive
information prematurely, create the destruction of
a commission's work and its vitality and,
therefore, its credibility and its validity.
In today's world, I suspect no commission
will ever be able to satisfy everyone by its work,
but we must do everything we can to satisfy anyone
about the objective way we operate. We have to
have a shared commitment to an effort that is not
only thorough but is thoroughly fair and thoroughly
impartial and thoroughly nonpartisan.
Those who attacked us on September 11th
wanted to usher in not a brave new world but a
cowardly one, a world in which terrorists who envy
our freedom and despise our values are willing to
slaughter the innocent through any means at their
We have collectively learned this unwillingly, and at the cost of great
suffering, great shock and great sorrow. We now
have a challenge to prepare a report that will
honor those who died on September 11th, their
families and friends who remain, and all the
Americans who are trusting us to help the President
and Congress to guard against any such other
attacks. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner.
Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Thank you, Mr.
Chairman, Mr. Co-Chairman, fellow Commissioners.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Like countless Americans, I felt the
searing pain, shock and horror of the brutal
September 11th attacks upon my fellow citizens and
the symbols of American greatness and power.
Less than two weeks before the September
11th attacks, I brought my family to visit the
World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. Like tens of thousands of others on September
11th, I realized, there but for the grace of God go
In the intervening time since the
September 11th attacks, we have learned a great
deal about what happened on that day and the events
leading up to it. In particular, we are grateful
for the work of the Joint Inquiry conducted by the
Senate and House Intelligence Committees.
Congress has specifically instructed us to
build upon the good work of the Joint Inquiry as we
proceed with our investigation and develop
recommendations for Congress and the President.
Yet the Joint Inquiry's full report had
only just last week been made available to the
members of this Commission who have their full
security clearances. As of last week, most of the
Commissioners and most of the staff had not yet
received security clearances.
I believe the scheduling of this hearing
has had a salutary effect on speeding up the
clearance process and I am gratified that the White
House has now promised the funds necessary to carry
out our work.
It is important that President Bush has
publicly supported this Commission and its goals.
The full cooperation of the relevant departments
and agencies of the executive branch is essential
to the Commission's ability to carry out its
responsibilities. And the result of such
cooperation will be a measure of our success.
I am pleased that in recent weeks the
Commission has made good progress in hiring an
excellent staff, capable of carrying out the
ambitious agenda Congress has set out for us.
From an historical perspective, it would
seem that the closest precedent to our assignment
was the Roberts Commission, created by President
Roosevelt immediately after the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor. The Roberts Commission failed to
address certain fundamental aspects of our
unpreparedness at Pearl Harbor and was criticized
by subsequent inquiries for serious omissions and
We must be thorough and diligent in our
work in order to get it right. We have been given
an historic opportunity to contribute to the public
good and to provide a record that will withstand
the test of time.
In fulfilling our responsibilities, it is
imperative that we assess our vulnerability to
terrorist attacks, and specifically, why we were
unprepared for the attacks of September 11, 2001.
No department or agency in this
administration, or any other, is exempted from our
careful review. I do not, however, interpret our
investigative mandate to be an invitation to engage
in finger-pointing or to participate in the blame
game. Rather, it is the essential precursor to a
reasoned analysis of how changes and improvements
to our security apparatus can and should be made.
I have had the privilege of meeting with
representatives of families of citizens who died in
the September 11th attacks. The loss that they
have suffered is beyond measure, but their strength
and determination will continue to keep our nation
and this Commission focused on answering the
questions posed by this tragedy.
The personal involvement of surviving
family members was central to the
creation of this Commission, and I welcome their
continued involvement as we go forward with our
Among the many challenges facing our
nation is the need for balance as we respond to the
real and ongoing threat of terrorist attacks.
While our focus on protection of the homeland is
paramount, we must be ever mindful of the
collateral consequences of measures which may
threaten our vital personal and civil liberties.
There is no question but that we must
factor into the equation of proper balance the
capacity of our adversaries to exploit the
protections afforded by our Constitutional
guarantees of freedom of religion and due process
of law to advance their nefarious objectives.
This balancing will be no easy task, but
it is imperative that we get it right. And I hope
this Commission will make recommendations that
reflect the importance of that balancing.
In 1989, Justice Thurgood Marshall warned,
"History teaches us that grave threats to liberty
often come in times of urgency when Constitutional
rights seem too extravagant to endure."
Similarly, in 1995, Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor cautioned, "It can never be too often
stated that the greatest threats to our
Constitutional freedoms come in times of crisis."
If the acts of al Qaeda and other
terrorist organizations who mean us harm result in
a response that disproportionately curtails the
personal freedoms and civil liberties that define
our American way of life, then our enemies will
have won a great victory without taking another
In conclusion, our Commission was created
to operate outside the permanent structure of the
three branches of government. In addition to the
experience and judgment we can bring to bear to
this assignment, we can offer another critically
important quality, our independence and
We can and must consider carefully the
actions and roles of all three branches of
government as they operate to respond to the threat
of further terrorist attacks. We should offer
objective, neutral analysis, with no pre-set agenda
or allegiance to any agency or branch of government
or political party. No lesser standard will
satisfy our nation's expectation of this
Commission. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner.
Commissioner Slade Gorton.
COMMISSIONER GORTON: Mr. Chairman, the
members of this Commission are charged by the
Congress of the United States to produce a thorough
and dispassionate history of the events, the
individuals, the organizations and the ideas that
led up to 9/11, together with the immediate
response of American institutions to that attack.
I'm convinced at the same time that the
members of this Commission are charged by our
consciences never to forget, never to have at any
place other than the forefront of our thoughts the
individuals whose lives were lost in this attack
and the far larger number of lives that were
devastated by that attack.
We are charged by the Congress of the
United States to analyze the structural and human
failures that resulted in the failure of this
nation's defenses, adequately or at all, to
anticipate and to prevent this attack. We are told
by the statute that created us to build on the work
of the Joint Congressional Inquiry, which has done
much good work but which recognized its own
incompleteness and inadequacy.
I am convinced that one of the important
aspects of this Commission's work is to examine
what has taken place in the 18 months since 9/11 to
prevent future such attacks. Have we changed our
ways? Is our intelligence better? Are
preventative measures in effect? Could we do a
better job in the future than they have in the
Beyond that, however, I agree one hundred
percent with our Chairman's remarks that we are to
come up with recommendations as to future and
additional changes, changes in the structure of our
intelligence and law- enforcement agencies, perhaps
more difficult, a recommendation of attitudinal
changes with respect to the way that individuals in
positions of authority respond and do their
And finally, I'd like to echo the remarks
of my colleague, Mr. Ben-Veniste. The object of
the attack of 9/11 was a free and open society
which those attackers hated and wished to destroy.
An immense challenge before this
Commission and before the people of the United
States is to determine ways in which that free and
open society can far better prevent future such
attacks, with a full balance and respect for the
values of that free society of individual liberty
This is in my view a huge task which I
approach, I trust, with due humility in the hope
and the expectation that the 10 members of this
Commission will carry out this task not only
honorably but effectively and with a result that
causes the respect and the acceptance of the
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner.
Commissioner Jamie Gorelick.
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. Good morning. Thank you, Tom Kean and
Lee Hamilton, for your leadership of this
The first obligation of government is to
protect its people. And clearly our government
failed to do that on September 11th. As a country,
we have since declared war on terrorism, but as
those schooled in the art of war know, history is
the best teacher.
And it is for that reason that our
military, since the Revolutionary War when George
Washington appointed Baron von Steuben to assess
how our newly formed Army could do better, our
military has consistently demanded, in meticulous
detail, after-action reports of every military
event so that in the future our actions could be
informed by both our successes and our failures.
That principle has also been adopted in
our civilian agencies by act of Congress. We have
inspectors general in every civilian agency. And they
know, as do their military counterparts, that our
consistent history is a prompt, effective and, most
importantly, unflinching review of our failures,
even, even when it is hard to accept the truth.
Now there may not be perfect historical
analogies to what we undertake here today, but we
have a consistent history of prompt, effective and
unflinching reviews. We have already failed to
undertake this review promptly.
The statute establishing this Commission
was not passed until nearly a year and a half after
September 11, 2001. And we have, to be sure,
encountered some obstacles in getting this inquiry
off the ground. But we are now underway, and
Whatever difficulties we encounter, I
will dedicate myself, as I know my fellow
colleagues will do also, to overcoming them because
we have to. We must get this right. If we don't,
we will fail to learn from our mistakes.
I am a native of New York. I am a
long-time Washingtonian. The two communities that
I call mine, where my children and my family and
friends want and need to feel safe, are the ones
that feel our vulnerability the most. So I come to
this task with a great sense of urgency, which is
underscored by my meetings and my communications
with the representatives of the families of the
In my career I have dedicated myself to a
strong national defense, to a safe and secure
domestic life, and to the protection of our
precious liberties. And I pledge to those here and
to those who have placed their fate in this
Commission's work that I will bring every ounce of
my energy and each of those perspectives to bear as
we undertake the solemn obligations of this
Commission's work. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner John Lehman.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. Good morning. In my career I have
served in the Naval Forces, the National Security
Council Staff, the State Department, as a diplomat,
and as Secretary of the Navy.
In that last tour on my watch, I lost 241
Marines and sailors to a state-sponsored terrorist
attack in Beirut. Most of those perpetrators today
are still recruiting and training terrorists. Both
of those states that sponsored that attack are
still harboring and sponsoring terrorism. And it
has been a continuing dedication on my part to see
that the lessons that should be drawn from that
experience are applied in government.
So far, that has not been terribly
successful. But my experience in government has
certainly taught me one great lesson, that the
genius of our system is that we do learn the
lessons of history. It takes us more time perhaps
in our democratic methods than we would prefer, but
I am a believer in the way our system, haltingly
but inevitably, learns the lessons of history so that
they are not repeated.
I think that our Commission is the ideal
vehicle, the ideal catalyst, to see that the
lessons of 9/11 are promptly applied, to see that
they are not repeated as, unfortunately, our
experience in Beirut has been repeated numerous
times in the intervening decade.
And so I think you will see a very
intense, a very active process in pursuing this
investigation, in seeing that the recommendations
of previous commissions, the longstanding and
understood shortcomings in the organization of our
government that have been identified by a number of
previous commissions but never acted on, are going
to be focused on and the new nature of the spread
of international terrorism is understood and
applied in concrete recommendations and proposals
that will issue from this Commission.
And I'm confident that the Executive
Branch in Congress, with the catalyst of this
Commission's work, will see that those proposals
are implemented and we indeed will learn the
lessons of history and not repeat them. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner
Lehman. We are going to interrupt the statements
from the Commissioners because Governor Pataki has
arrived. Governor, we welcome you. Thank you
very much for coming.
GOVERNOR PATAKI: Good morning, Chairman
Kean, Vice Chairman Hamilton, and members of the
Commission. It's a privilege to be here before you
this morning on behalf of the 19 million citizens of New
York State. I have formal comments that you have
before you, and you're welcome to make them a part
of the record, but I would just like to reflect a
little bit on my thoughts of September 11th.
Thank you for your efforts to make sure
that every step is taken to make sure that America
is prepared and proactive to try to make sure it
doesn't happen again and if there are additional
attacks against anyone anywhere in America, we're
prepared to respond appropriately.
Of course, when I think of September 11th,
the first overwhelming feeling I have is a sense of
loss, a sense of loss of not just the hundreds of
brave firefighters and police officers and Port
Authority police officers, but also of the
thousands of civilians, just ordinary people who
went to work that morning with their normal dreams
for a good day and a better future for themselves
and their families.
You can't help but have a tremendous
sense of loss when you reflect on the individuals,
friends that I know and so many in New York whom we
lost on that morning. But the second thought I have
is one of overwhelming pride and a tremendous sense
of the courage of those who faced unspeakable
tragedy with such incredible willingness to
sacrifice. And because of that courage, because of
that willingness to sacrifice, the efforts of the
terrorists on September 11th failed.
Now certainly they succeeded in bringing
down two towers, two symbols of American strength
and in the process killing thousands of innocent
people in a way that has broken our hearts. But
they didn't want to break our hearts, they wanted
to break our spirit. They didn't want to bring
down towers, they wanted to bring down our
confidence and our freedom and our way of life.
And because of the way that ordinary New
Yorkers responded with extraordinary courage,
instead of seeing us divided and frightened, we saw
us unified and inspired.
I can recall the morning of September
11th walking the streets of lower Manhattan and
seeing in front of St. Luke's Hospital doctors and
nurses lined up with gurneys. Maybe they were
frightened because no one knew what might happen
next, but their fear was overcome by their courage
and their willingness to stand out in the streets
of lower Manhattan in the hopes that injured people
would be brought that they could treat.
I walked the streets of lower
Manhattan. I will never forget turning a
corner and seeing more than a block of ordinary New
Yorkers lining the street. And they weren't lining
the street to catch the subway uptown or to catch a
bus out of town. They were lined up, in the midst
of this fear and uncertainty, to give blood in the
hopes that somehow they could help New Yorkers
overcome this tragedy.
All of the superficial differences that on
the morning of September 11th seemed so important,
whether it was race or religion or politics or
economic position, disappeared in the sense of
unity and the sense that we had been attacked and
we were going to get through this together.
And it was with extraordinary pride that I
walked those streets of lower Manhattan and saw
how yes, our firefighters and our police officers
and our emergency-service workers charged into
those towers with no regard for their own lives to
save others, but also with the pride of the
ordinary New Yorkers, who
responded with such courage. And since that day
that sense of unity and that sense of courage is
something I believe still is very strong here in
We are going to hear from family
members who lost their loved ones on September
11th. Their courage, their strength, a year and a
half later, is something that still inspires me
and, I believe, still inspires Americans.
And we are going to rebuild Ground Zero in
a way that makes it a symbol of the resurgence of
New York and the confidence Americans have in our
freedom, but at the same time, we're going to be
respectful and we're going to never forget that
almost 3,000 heroes were lost on that day. And we
are going to make sure we have a memorial that is
appropriate for all time and a symbol of courage
and a symbol of the sacrifice those heroes made on
As we watch the nightly news and now see
the war against terror being fought in the Middle
East, a lot of people say that, well, perhaps
almost two weeks ago the first shots of that war
were fired. In my view, the first shots of that
war were fired September 11, 2001, right here in
New York City.
In my view, the heroes and the martyrs
of September 11th were the first casualties in that
war, a war we're going to win. And when we win
that war, New York and America and the world will
be a safer place because of that.
Last week I had the privilege of being in
Fort Drum, which is a military base in upstate New
York, when the 77th Regional Command U.S. Army Reserve
Unit was mobilized and on their way to the Middle
East. I had a chance to talk to them and talk
to their commanding general.
The 77th has suffered six fatalities in
this war. They didn't suffer them in the Middle
East. They suffered them on September 11th when
firefighters, and a lawyer, one of them a very
close friend of mine, died responding to that
attack. And they are going over there with a
tremendous sense of pride and a tremendous sense of
mission knowing that their first casualties will
not occur in Iraq. They occurred on the streets of
So as we go forward, I can't help but
think of the President's comments when he addressed
the people of America on the eve of the war. And
the President said, one of the points that has
stuck with me and will always stick with me, is that
this war against terror should be fought by our
soldiers and our sailors and our Marines and our
Air Force and not by our firefighters and police
officers. That to me is an important lesson of
I am sure this Commission, as it goes about
its hearings and listens to so many people, will
learn a lot of other lessons of September 11th. I
thank you for your service. I thank you for your
commitment and willingness to put in the time and
the effort to try to do everything we can to
protect the people of New York and to protect the
people of America.
New York State government and I'm sure the
people of New York stand ready to cooperate in any
way we possibly can to help you on this important
mission. Again, let me just say that when you
think of September 11th, yes, we will never forget
the sadness and the heroes, but let's never forget
the courage and the strength that ordinary New
Yorkers showed under extraordinary circumstances.
Thank you and God bless you. Thank you, Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Governor.
Thank you very much. I'd like to introduce
Commissioner Tim Roemer.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. I'd just ask permission to have my
entire statement entered into the record so I can be
a little bit briefer than the whole statement.
I am honored to serve with you, Mr.
Chairman. You bring such a good bipartisan
reputation to this Commission. I am honored to
serve with the Vice Chair, Mr. Hamilton, with whom I
served in Congress. And I'm honored to be
here with the families that could have stepped away
in their grief and their sorrow and instead
participated in a process that helped bring us here
today with the Commission.
We are here today because we love
democracy. And in democracy, sometimes it is not
easy to get at the facts, to ask the tough
questions, to make people feel uncomfortable, to
move paradigms and models from old ways into new
ways, to take on the threat of al Qaeda, who wants
to kill hundreds if not thousands of people and do
it anyplace in the world, including in the United
States of America.
We are here to get at the facts. And
getting at the facts won't kill us, but not getting
at those facts might. We need to make sure that we
follow the clues and the evidence wherever they will
Walter Lippman, a gifted and prolific
writer, reminded us that "A central function of
democracy is to allow a free people to drag
realities out into the sunlight and demand a full
accounting from those who were permitted to hold
As our Declaration of Independence
proclaims, those holding power, "Deriving their
powers from the consent of the governed" should be
accountable to their citizens. That's what we are
going to do on this Commission.
New York City is the appropriate place to
begin this great task. Even before September 11th,
at 12:18, on February 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in
the World Trade Center, killing six people,
injuring 1,000 people, and causing $510 million in
damage. On June 24, 1993, the FBI arrested eight
individuals for plotting to bomb a number of New
York City landmarks.
Why did it take our bureaucracies, our
intelligence community and our politicians so long
to react to targets and clues and evidence that had
been building and building and building over time?
A distinguished historian, Roberta
Wohlstetter, wrote a superb book on Pearl Harbor.
And the forward by Thomas Schelling is even more
superb, and I quote, "It would be reassuring to
believe that Pearl Harbor was just a colossal and
extraordinary blunder. In fact, blunder is too
specific. It was just a dramatic failure of a
remarkably well-informed government to call the
next enemy move in a Cold War crisis."
Today it might be some of the same words,
a "well-intentioned but well-informed government to
call the next enemy move." It was not a Cold War
crisis and it wasn't the Japanese, but it was al
Qaeda and it was an enemy that had declared war on
the United States in 1998.
We need our agencies, our bureaucracies,
our people to react with a sense of urgency, the
urgency that we have in the war right now in the
Middle East. We should have had this sense of
urgency years ago.
When I have criticisms that maybe our
Commission got off to a slow start, when I have
criticisms of the White House, even reluctantly, in
finally coming forward with some of the funding, $9
million instead of $11 million, through a new
account instead of through a supplemental
appropriation that should have gone through the
United States Congress, it is not a personal
criticism, it is not even a political criticism.
It is because of the urgency that I feel that al
Qaeda is coming after us again and again, and soon.
It is the sense of urgency that the
country should feel, not only because of 9/11, but
because of the impending and direct threat of
terrorists that have changed their modus operandi
from we "will cause damage and terror but not kill
lots of people" to "we will terrify people and kill
thousands of them to get their attention."
Let me conclude by saying, we should have
three objectives: a full accountability in sunlight
that this Commission asks the tough questions of
our government, asks the tough questions.
In an unclassified finding of the Joint
Inquiry that I served on, we asked, were other
governments involved in funding the terrorists. We
need to get to the bottom of those questions.
Secondly, the sense of urgency in this
bond of the American people that we need to
establish. Many commissions have made countless
recommendations that sit on dusty shelves, going
These recommendations, with this sense of
urgency and bond with the American people, need to
find their way to the President's desk and be
signed into law so that we make this country a
safer place and that they are not ignored at the end
of the day.
We bury today not just someone from Hell's
Kitchen or someone New Yorkers are proud of but
somebody that all America is proud of and somebody
I served with in the United States Congress, former
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He gives us all
the sense of urgency that we should have in our
great work ahead.
He said in a Harvard commencement ceremony
last year, and I quote, "The terrorist attacks on
the United States of last September 11th were not
nuclear, but they will be."
That is the sense of threat, of urgency,
of love for democracy and accountability of our
government that I hope this Commission will bring
forward in a non-partisan, bipartisan way and get
to the bottom of why this happened and how we make
the country a safer place for every single American
in this great country that we love so much. Thank
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner Jim Thompson.
COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Mr. Chairman,
thank you. I too am honored to serve as a member
of this Commission and to serve with extraordinary
people who have each in their own way contributed
much to this nation.
I have always believed, as Commissioner
Gorelick has already noted, that the first
obligation of government, all governments, is to
protect the lives and property of its citizens.
Here is the American bargain. Each of us,
as individual citizens, take a portion of our
liberties and our lives and pass them to those whom
we elect or appoint as our guardians. And their
task is to hold our liberties and our lives in
their hands, secure. That is an appropriate
But on September 11th, that bargain was
not kept. Our government, all governments, somehow
failed in their duty that day. We need to know
why. No one who was not there nor bound by family
or emotional ties to the victims can completely
understand the horror and still present shock of
that day. It is incomprehensible. But as
Americans, we are all victims of September 11th and
the whole nation must be satisfied when we finish
I remember watching the television news as
I prepared to go to work that morning and saw the
first plane crash into the World Trade Tower. And
my assumption was that this was a grievous,
horrible accident. By the time I reached the
street and learned of the second plane crashing
into the second tower, the whole world knew it was
A number of young people worked with me at
our law firm. And by midmorning, when we made our
decision to close our offices and send our people
home, they asked if they could go home with me.
Nobody wanted to be alone on September 11th. One
young man and his wife and baby came to my house
because I live on the seventh floor. They live in
another building on the 12th floor. They felt
safer with me, closer to the ground.
Several months later, when I was in New
York, I stopped at Ground Zero, got out of my car,
ran to the fence before the policeman could shoo me
away, peered through the barricade and looked at
that vast empty space. Space had replaced people
and instruments of commerce. Others will fill that
space one day with buildings and memorials and
human life will flourish again there.
Our task is, to borrow a phrase, without
fear or favor to fill that space with the facts,
with the truth, and with answered questions. Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner Max Cleland.
COMMISSIONER CLELAND: Thank you very
much, Mr. Chairman.
I am deeply moved by the emotion and the
dedication and the commitment of these fine
Americans on this panel and the wonderful Americans
in the audience toward finding out what happened,
why and making sure it never happens again. So I'm
honored to be among these wonderful people today.
Let me just say that 18 months ago, this
city and our country suffered an attack like none
we had ever experienced before. On that day we
lost more than the thousands of innocent men and
women and children who perished or were grievously
injured. We lost more than the two great towers
that fell, we lost our sense of safety and
Almost without question, we could and
should have been better prepared, we know that, to
protect our homeland against the terrorist assault.
As in the final report of the Joint Congressional
Intelligence Committee Inquiry into the 9/11
attacks found, "Prior to September the 11th, the
intelligence community was neither well organized
nor equipped and did not adequately adapt to meet
the challenge posed by global terrorists focused on
targets within the domestic United States. These
problems greatly exacerbated the nation's
vulnerability to an increasingly dangerous and
immediate international terrorist threat inside the
Because of this I believe the work of this
Commission will not only affirm those intelligence
deficiencies but will find corresponding lapses in
border control, aviation security, and a host of
As a member of the 107th Congress of the
Senate Committee on Armed Services and Commerce and
Governmental Affairs, I participated in literally
dozens of hearings which thoroughly delved within
our unpreparedness for the terrorist threat. And I
was pleased in some small way to play a role in the
development of the Department of Aviation and
Transportation Security Act of 2001, Maritime
Transportation and Security Act of 2001, and the
Homeland Security Act of 2002.
But I believe that this investigation will
show that, as true of executive agencies, the Congress
should have been and could have been better
prepared and done better. It's not hard to see
parallels between September 11th, 2001 and
December 7, 1941. I am particularly sensitive to
such comparisons because my father was stationed in
Pearl Harbor after the attack. That attack had a
profound effect on this country and on my family
As a CIA-funded study of the agency's
history reported, the intelligence community we had
in place in 2001 was in many respects a product of
the 1941 debacle, after which our national leaders
had concluded "that the surprise attack could have
been blunted if the various commanders and
departments had coordinated their actions and
shared their intelligence."
And boy, does that have a familiar ring.
That was right after 1941. These sobering
assessments led to the adoption of the National
Security Act of 1947 which "attempted to implement
the principles of unity of command and unity of
In many ways that is what now, over 50
years later, we have been trying to do in the wake
of the 2001 disaster. But there are some important
differences between Pearl Harbor and 9/11 which
also must be kept in mind as this Commission and
the country chart our course on where we go from
here. As shattering a blow as December 7,
1941, it was a military strike, aimed at military
targets, ordered by the Imperial Government of
Japan and coming at the end of a long period of
tensions between the two governments.
September the 11th, 2001 was a terrorist
strike, aimed primarily at civilian targets, in
which the perpetrators were not acting for a nation
but for a terrorist network. It's true that previous
attacks, as has been stated, by al Qaeda, including
the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the
thwarted 1995 Bojinka plot in the Philippines, the
1990 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, and
the 2000 attack on the USS Cole should have
produced, and amongst some governmental officials
did produce, a heightened sense of urgency and
attention to the new terrorist threat.
But these attacks were all either far away
or of limited success or both. They were not
enough to shake us out of our collective sense of
invulnerability which was borne of the security
long provided us by two great oceans and friendly
neighbors for almost 200 years, since the war of
1812, without significant hostile foreign assaults
on the continental United States, and by our more
recent victory in the Cold War which eliminated the
Thus, the pre-9/11 attacks by al Qaeda
were not sufficient to make intelligence
bureaucracy shed their turf-consciousness and
their Cold War mentalities or our border-control
agencies to overcome inertia and budget shortfalls
or the airlines and airports to tighten security,
even if it meant some added inconvenience to the
traveling public or the executive or legislative
branches to prioritize homeland security above other
None of these things happened before 9/11.
But all of them have occurred to at least some
degree since then. It could and no doubt should
have been different. If it had been different,
some or all those who perished on that day would
still be with us. Now at the very least, we do
want to, for those victims and their families, make
sure we're never again so ill prepared to defend
But I say that those families and the
sacrifices of their loved ones, that they have not
have died in vain. The victims themselves have
galvanized the public, the private sector and the
government into action in a way which unfortunately
would not likely have occurred otherwise.
And the surviving families members, many
of them who are with us today, through your
dedication, your persistence, and your untiring
efforts, more than any other force, are responsible
for this Commission, and thus have given us the
grave responsibility and opportunity to help
produce a more secure country for all of us as
However, if a false sense of
invulnerability and security was our downfall on
September the 11th, in many ways the current
danger, in my opinion that we will succumb to
what FDR called "fear itself." Continuing the
quote, "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror,
which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat
That was from 1933. President Roosevelt
was speaking, of course, of the fear of economic
insecurity wrought by the great global depression
of the '30s, but I believe his words still ring
true these 70 years later as we confront "nameless,
unreasoning, unjustified fear," of the global
terrorism of the 21st century.
We must never again lapse into complacency
about homeland security when the march of
technology has made physical boundaries and
international borders more and more surmountable
and has expanded the destructive power of weapons
to the point that small groups, or even
individuals, can now inflict a degree of death and
destruction heretofore reserved to great armies.
But if we are to prevail in this struggle,
we must not give in to the terror of terrorism
which is, after all, at once both the major weapon
and the chief objective of al Qaeda and its allies.
The war against terrorism bears many
similarities to the Cold War against
communism, a war in which President Kennedy called
on our country to "bear the burden of a long
twilight struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing
in hope, patient in tribulation, in our struggle
against the common enemies of man, tyranny,
disease and war itself."
That is our challenge. We walk in that
great challenge in the last half of the 20th
century with firmness and strength but also with
the patience and hope that JFK spoke of. We need a
similar combination to vanquish the new enemy.
In my judgment, that is the task to which
this Commission must dedicate itself, to assist the
country in being neither complacent nor fearful in
maintaining a sense of safety but not false
In closing, I'd just like to say a word of
prayer and thanks to the great men and women of the
Armed Forces of our country who, even as we meet
here today, stand in harm's way, far from home.
God be with them and bless them and their families.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much,
Commissioner. I'd now like to introduce and
welcome Mayor Michael Bloomberg of the City of New
AUDIENCE MEMBER: How about jobs and not
rhetoric? How about saving human rights in this
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Governor, want me to
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Yes, please. I introduced
you before. I will welcome you.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Thank you very much. If
I need the introduction, I'm in big trouble here in
Governor, members of the Commission,
welcome to New York City. We hope you spend a lot
of money and generate some sales-tax revenues while
you're here. We could use you.
Your Commission has a broad mandate, that
is, to look at the reasons why 9/11 happened, to
consider the steps the federal government should
take to make sure attacks like that don't occur
again and to propose measures that would be taken
now to prepare us to respond to future terrorist
Much of your work will focus on such
important questions as how did terrorists get into
this country, what should we do to make our borders
safe, how were the terrorists allowed to learn to
fly airplanes in our own country, how on earth
could they get by airport security with the
obviously unenforced and ineffective federal
regulations, and how can we stop other acts of
terrorism in the future. These are the issues for
I want to focus on different but also
important issues. I will describe our city
government's reaction to the attacks to the World
Trade Center, including our emergency response that
day, our recovery effort in the days and months
immediately afterward, and what we have done since
in the areas of counterterrorism and preparedness.
Simply put, the terrorist attack on 9/11
was one of the darkest days in New York's history.
It took the lives of 2,700-plus of our loved ones,
friends and colleagues, including more than 360
valiant city firefighters, police officers and
It revealed our vulnerability to murderous
plots formulated half a world away. It shattered
forever any illusions that our vast ocean
boundaries can protect us. But out of the
devastation came one of our finest hours, defined
by the heroism of those who rushed into the
buildings to save others, the selflessness of New
Yorkers who supported the recovery through acts as
simple as lining up on West Street to say thank you
to our emergency workers and the resilience of New
Yorkers who refused to stop living their lives in
the difficult days, weeks and months that followed
New York City has learned, and continues
to learn, the lessons of 9/11. Today I want to
underscore the need for an effective and ongoing
counterterrorism partnership with the federal
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Fire
Commissioner Nick Scoppetta are with me today.
They will make statements following my testimony,
if you so desire, and are prepared to answer your
As you know, I was not the mayor on 9/11.
Our administration took office the following
January. But the efforts of 9/11 have been a major
focus of our administration over the last 15
months. We have examined the city's response to
9/11 thoroughly, and I can tell you that it was
swift, massive, heroic and extraordinarily
Within 10 minutes of the first attack at
8:46 a.m., 50 percent of the Police Department's
Special Operation Units were deployed and were
either at or on their way to the World Trade
Center. By 9:00 a.m., before the second plane even
hit, both the Fire Department and our Emergency
Medical Service had command posts on the scene
directing rescue operations. By 9:10 a.m., less
than half an hour after the first tower was struck,
100 percent of the Fire Department's rescue and
high-rise units had been ordered into action.
Police officers immediately secured the
perimeter around the World Trade Center and police
emergency-service units entered the towers to
assist in evacuations. Department of Health
officials started considering public-health effects
and began contacting area hospitals to establish
procedures for accepting the heavy influx of
injured people that was anticipated.
Sadly, those numbers did not materialize.
I say sadly because instead of the influx of
injured New Yorkers, we experienced massive
The professionalism of our rescue efforts
and the bravery of those who carried them out is
encapsulated in one statistic, some 25,000 people
were safely evacuated from the World Trade Center
that morning, the most successful urban emergency
evacuation in modern history.
After the towers collapsed, the city's
response was just as exemplary. Department of
Sanitation officials at the recently closed Fresh
Kills Landfill in Staten Island, knowing they had
heavy lifting and hauling equipment at hand,
immediately made plans to send that equipment into
The offices of the city's Department of
Design and Construction, or DDC, acted with equal
dispatch, obtaining equipment from some of the
city's major construction firms. Despite the fact
that its command center was destroyed in the
attack, the city's Office of Emergency Management,
OEM, established a temporary command post. By the
evening of September 11th, lights lit up the entire
site while the search for survivors went on.
Firefighters worked day and night to
extinguish fires that burned beneath the rubble for
months. The Department of Design and Construction,
along with the Fire Department and the Office of
Emergency Management, spearheaded interagency
coordination among city agencies and with federal
and state agencies and private organizations.
In the first five days alone, almost 3,000
truckloads of debris were removed. Over the next
seven months, an average of more than 7,000 tons of
debris, per day, was taken from the site. Barging
operations were established at Hudson River Piers
25 and 26 to transport debris from Manhattan to the
Fresh Kills Landfill, which was reopened to
accommodate the enormous tonnage of material.
The recovery proceeded in a manner that
made the search for human remains the highest
priority. Work came to a halt any time it appeared
such a discovery might be made. To date, the
remains of 1,481 victims of that attack have been
identified by the Office of the Chief Medical
Examiner, an office that has led the nation in its
use of state-of-the-art DNA identification
The clearing of the site, which was
initially expected to take years, instead took
eight months. The work was not only accomplished
much faster than expected but done under budget,
without a single loss of life, with an injury rate
far less than at an ordinary construction site,
despite the unprecedented conditions in which the
work was done.
Would you like me to wait while we finish?
I'd be happy to wait until we catch up, soon as we
finish briefing, then we can continue. It's quite
all right. I have plenty of time, so I'd be happy
to do it.
In retrospect, there is little this city
could have done on 9/11 to avoid the tremendous
loss of life that occurred so quickly after the
attacks. The failure of airport security doomed
the 2,700 poor souls who are no longer with us.
However, since then we have taken it upon ourselves
to learn everything possible from this tragedy.
Shortly after 9/11, the consulting firm of
McKinsey & Company agreed to study, on a pro bono
basis, the response of the Police and Fire
Departments to the attack on the World Trade Center
and to make recommendations for the future.
These extremely valuable consultant
studies, which are available on the Web,
complemented studies already underway in both these
departments. And many of the consultants'
recommendations were already in effect or were
being implemented when the final reports were
For example, at the NYPD, one of
Commissioner Kelly's first acts was to establish a
Counterterrorism Bureau and expand the department's
Intelligence Division. Protective and other
equipment issued to officers responding to possible
terrorist incidents also was upgraded.
McKinsey & Company also recommended that
the NYPD create a comprehensive disaster-response
plan with the means to effectuate it, measures that
have already be carried out. The McKinsey report
concerning the FDNY was eloquent in its praise for
the heroism and sacrifice of our firefighters.
It also focused on four principal areas;
operational preparedness, planning and management,
communications technology and the provision of
counseling and support services to members of the
department and their families.
Since its release, the Fire Department
also has appointed a Terrorist Advisory Task Force,
headed by former CIA director, James Woolsey.
Perhaps the most encouraging McKinsey
finding was that while the city's massive response
was taking place downtown, the rest of the city
remained protected with response times to
emergencies elsewhere in the five boroughs barely
Other key agencies have also responded to
the lessons of 9/11. The Department of Health has
enhanced its bioterrorism surveillance, developed a
Web-based system to communicate with medical
providers in our city and is building a
state-of-the-art bioterrorism laboratory.
Our Office of Emergency Management has an
interim headquarters and is in the process of
building a new permanent home. It has also
coordinated a series of inter-agency preparedness
exercises which have guided our city's response to
the increased security needs occasioned by the
current war in Iraq.
New York City, which unfortunately is one
of, if not the primary potential target of a
terrorist attack, must be prepared to both prevent
those attacks and to respond quickly and
effectively if they occur. Our administration is
committed to doing just that.
We have developed an extraordinary system
to guard and protect this city, and every day we're
making those systems even more effective. We are
developing the most sophisticated systems possible,
both to prevent terrorism and respond to it.
Some 10 days ago I met with President Bush
and the Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, to
brief them on the counterterrorism measures the
city has taken because of the war in Iraq. Our
operation is known as Operation Atlas. Secretary
Ridge later said, "There is no city in this country
that does a better job of working across the board
to prevent terrorism than the City of New York."
After 9/11 President Bush pledged $20
billion in federal rebuilding assistance to New
York City and he has been as good as his word. We
have also benefited from bipartisan support in
both houses of Congress on this matter, but we now
need additional help from the federal government to
meet the high costs of homeland security.
New York City is the nation's financial
capital and its communications nerve center.
Protection for New York is protection for the
nation. And the key to our city's ability to
respond to any future terrorist attack is funding.
I am sure you're aware of the city's
fiscal plight. We face a multi-billion-dollar
budget gap for the fiscal year beginning July 1st.
Much of that deficit is the result of the increased
expenses and decreased economic activity created by
9/11 and its aftermath.
I urge the Commission in the most emphatic
form possible to recommend to Congress that it
appropriate sufficient monies earmarked to the
cities most vulnerable to attack to help us defray
the extraordinary costs of protecting our citizens
and the whole country.
Specifically, we have requested additional
funds for counterterrorism training, equipment and
to cover the costs of our massive security
operations around the city in the supplemental
appropriation the administration sent to Congress
last week. The Homeland Security Fund should be
allocated on the basis of threat analysis and risk.
Any other formula, for example by population,
defies logic and makes a mockery of the country's
New York City has been targeted, let me
remind you, four times by terrorists and the
federal government cannot ignore our symbolic
value, recent history and common sense as it works
to increase homeland security. To argue that most
other cities have comparable threats is just
New York City, to put it into perspective,
is estimated to receive between 8 and 11 million
dollars out of the 560 million dollars from the
last Homeland Security distribution. At some point
politics has to give way to reality. If we
distributed monies to the military this way, our
troops in Iraq would have bows and arrows to fight
I want to close with some comments on
another problem that deserves your attention and
that of our policymakers. It is how to deal with
the massive destruction and personal injuries that
can result from a terrorist attack.
New York's response to 9/11 was truly
extraordinary. Within hours of the collapse of the
World Trade Center buildings, the city government
and private companies had equipment and personnel
at Ground Zero to undertake the massive recovery
and debris-removal operations that were necessary.
The city and these contractors stayed there until
the end and did so selflessly and without a thought
to the consequences.
However, in the real world there are
consequences, and one of those is lawsuits. The
city and the private contracting community are now
aware of the risks we took on without the benefit
of federal protection to cover our operations. It
took over a year and a special act of Congress for
any significant insurance to become available to
protect the city and private contractors from such
lawsuits arising from the cleanup operation.
And the insurance provided is billions of
dollars less than sought in lawsuits already filed.
Personal-injury claims regarding alleged long-term
health damage could bankrupt our city over the next
20 years. Congress must give us retroactive
indemnification or the drag on the national economy
from New York's economic burden will ruin
opportunity throughout all 50 states.
Knowing what we know now, it is imperative
that a federal indemnification plan be enacted that
would insure municipalities and private contractors
so that in the future, when we respond to a
terrorist attack, we will be protected against the
The attacks on 9/11 were attacks on the
United States, not just the City of New York. We
cannot afford the substantial risk that, in the
wake of another terrorist attack, a municipality or
state will feel it has to wait for the Army Corps
of Engineers to do the necessary work or private
companies will feel they have to refuse to provide
assistance until and unless a statute is passed
giving them protection.
Therefore, the Commission should urge
Congress to enact a special indemnification or
insurance program for governmental entities and
their contractors who respond to such an attack to
insure that FEMA can and will fund significant
intermediate insurance coverage to such governments
and contractors. Without Congressional action, the
nation will be unprepared to respond to the
destruction created by any future terrorist
Despite their extraordinarily busy
schedules and the work they're doing right now to
meet the heightened security concerns accompanying
the war in Iraq, Commissioners Kelly and Scoppetta
are here to answer any questions you may have.
Before turning over the floor to you and
to them I want to conclude with this thought: You
are charged with performing a great service to this
nation and we all want to do what we can to
remember those who perished on 9/11 and those who
so selflessly toiled for the days and weeks and
We must learn the lessons of that terrible
day and make sure that this city and other cities
in our nation have the communications systems, the
well-trained personnel and the federal assistance
we need to prevent and respond to such attacks in
the future. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much for
your comments. We did not expect Commissioners
Kelly and Scoppetta -- excuse me?
MR. SCOPPETTA: Scoppetta.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: -- Scoppetta this morning.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I thought it would be
easier with all of us here, since one of the keys
is to make sure that we have all the departments
cooperating, so I thought that if we all testified
together, it would give you a better opportunity to
understand just how well prepared this city was and
CHAIRMAN KEAN: We'd be delighted to hear.
I know we have a panel tomorrow at which
representatives from your departments are going to
take part. We would be delighted at this point to
hear Commissioner Kelly and Commissioner Scoppetta,
any comments you would like to add to the Mayor's.
MR. SCOPPETTA: I think we just can answer
questions, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner?
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Mr. Chairman, I
apologize, Mayor, I was asking the staff if this
meant that we would not have their expertise and
their insight and their counsel tomorrow.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Keep in mind that
neither were commissioners when the attacks
occurred, or in the first three months. They're
really only able to testify to the city's response
after 9/11's aftermath, starting January 1st, when
they took the lessons that we learned and actually
tried to implement them.
And for the last 15 months, they have been
working very hard to increase this city's
preparedness to any future attack, but certainly
more than that, to focus on preventing an attack.
People talk about first responders, these are our
And the city is well-served by the NYPD
and the Fire Department, not only to prevent
possible terrorist attacks, but if you take a look
at the murder rate and the deaths from fires
continues to decline and has precipitously in the
last 15 months, that's their job and they do it
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: But Mayor, my
question was, will they still be available to us
tomorrow at the 1:30 to 3:00 panel?
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I thought I would make
the head of the Department of Design and
Construction, Ken Holden, available. He's the only
one in the administration that was running an
agency then and was onsite, and he can add a lot.
I think if there were specific questions,
unfortunately, both of these guys have an awful lot
to do, so I thought if we all came, we could avoid
wasting their time.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Congressman Gorelick?
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Let me say this.
Ray Kelly is probably the best-suited person in
this country to talk to us about the coordination
that is taking place in real time between our
localities and the various agencies of the federal
I had the privilege of working with Ray
when he was in the federal government in various
capacities, and I know that he's deeply involved
with our federal agencies. I would find it
enormously helpful if we could have a session with
you at some later point to talk in detail about how
it is working for you in the city.
I would love to hear a general statement
now, but to Commissioner Roemer's point, I think we
could learn a great deal from you, if you would
make yourself available to us, I know you're
incredibly busy, but if you could make yourself
available to us, give us a sense of how the various
elements of the federal government are relating to
each other and to you.
MR. KELLY: Sure, we can do that in the
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: But if you could
characterize it now, I think it would be helpful
just to get us started and locate it, if you would.
MR. KELLY: I think there's no question
that state and local and federal agencies are
working more closely now than ever before. We have
an excellent working relationship, that is the NYPD
does with both the FBI and the CIA, and also the state's
Office of Public Security that is involved. We're
much closer now than ever before. We have a
free flow of information.
I don't think there's any question in my
mind that we're not getting information certainly
relevant to New York City on an immediate basis.
Internally in the city, I think we're working much
closer. Commissioner Scoppetta and I and the staff
of the Fire and Police Department work closely
We now have executives assigned to each
other's headquarters. We make available our
helicopter assets to fire chiefs to survey the
scene of major events or major fires. We are now
able to communicate on a city-wide basis, an
interagency-communication net that exists. I think
it certainly needs further development.
Commissioner Scoppetta can give you more specific
information about their communications systems.
So just, you know, in a nutshell, there's
much more communication, much more coordination
than there has ever been before. Are there
occasional hiccups? Yeah, but nothing really of
significance. So I don't know how I can say it
We're getting the information that we
think we need. We, for instance, have increased
our Joint Terrorism Task Force component. On
September 11, 2001, there were 17 investigators
from the NYPD, on the Joint Terrorism Task Force,
there are now over a hundred and they are working with
the FBI literally throughout the world.
The CIA has been very forthcoming with
information, as well. We have brought onboard
General Frank Libutti, retired, a Marine Corps
Lieutenant General, to head our Counterterrorism
Bureau, and in that bureau is our Joint Terrorist
Task Force component.
We have also brought onboard David Cohen,
former Deputy Director and Director of Operations
for the CIA. Commissioner Cohen is in charge of
the Intelligence Division. He has really done a
remarkable job pulling that together. We have our
own Arabic speakers, Urdu, Pashtu, Hindi speakers
that we've brought together, and again, in that
construct, we work closely with the federal
government, as well.
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: As we proceed, I
think it would be enormously helpful if we could
sit down with you and your team as we --
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I thought tomorrow we'd
deliver a statement from both the Police
Commissioner and the Fire Commissioner, a written
statement, so that you can start going in that
direction. And as you get more information and
formulate specific questions, we'd be happy to
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Thank you, Mayor.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner Hamilton?
VICE CHAIRMAN HAMILTON: Mayor, I am very
grateful to you and your colleagues for coming this
morning. And what especially I appreciated about
your statement was the specific recommendations you
Our task as a Commission, at the end of
the day, will be to make recommendations to
policymakers to prevent such attacks occurring
again. And while you're here -- and I hope without
taking advantage of you -- I would like to get from
you what several recommendations you think are most
important for this Commission to make with regard
to the prevention of future attacks.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Well, funding for the
people on the ground is perhaps the most important
thing that Congress could do. In the end, it is
the cop on the beat, it is the firefighter in the
truck that does the work.
We can talk about policies, we can fund
studies, but you need to get those people that do
the work to be well trained, to have the equipment
they need and to be fairly compensated. And you
will only do that if you direct the monies to where
the need is.
It is laughable, and tragically laughable,
to think that a tiny city in another state is under
the same kind of threat that New York City is or
that if an attack were -- let us pray not -- but if
an attack were to take place that it would have the
same kind of effect on the entire country.
VICE CHAIRMAN HAMILTON: My point was
prevention, your point is protection. Your point
is very, very important and very valuable. And I
think your experience in New York City can teach us
an awful lot about how we respond to terrorism and
how we can protect against terrorism, but is there
anything that comes out of the New York City
experience that can guide us with regard to the
prevention of terrorism?
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: We have a thousand of
our police officers on intelligence. The New York
City Police Department has its own police officers
in major cities around the world so that we get
intelligence. What you see under Operation Atlas, a
group of heavily armed men and women in police
uniforms all of a sudden show up and then go
someplace else totally unexpected, that is a
VICE CHAIRMAN HAMILTON: Are you
comfortable with the amount of intelligence you get
from the federal government? Is there good
coordination with our intelligence agencies at the
federal level and your intelligence agencies?
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: As the Commissioner
said, that in terms of information that references
New York, Commissioner Kelly is comfortable that we
get it virtually instantly. The problem with
intelligence is there's so much and it tends to be
so unspecific that there isn't a direct answer to
Only in retrospect can you look back and
say whether or not you had too few assets deployed.
We will never know whether we had too many, but we
have an obligation to prevent, to protect, and if
need be respond to the public, not just terrorism
from terrorists, terrorism from criminals.
There's lots of different things that all
of our security agencies, law-enforcement agencies,
Fire Department, medical people, have to
respond to every day. Not everything is caused by
I think we're going in the right
direction. We have a commitment to provide the
level of security that we believe is adequate. It
is not as much as we would like. I'd love to have
a firehouse on every corner. We can't afford that.
I'd love to have a police officer stationed in the
lobby of every building. We can't afford that. We
have to deal with the economic realities of the
Having said that, we will provide the
level that our senior management in police and fire
think is appropriate to make this city safe. And
the consequences of doing that are that we will
have to, unfortunately, not do many of the other
things that the people of this city and this
country need, due to the limited resources.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner Ben-Veniste?
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Mayor
Bloomberg, I thank you for your pledge of full
cooperation, and we will certainly take you up on
it. I would like to congratulate you on your
selection of my old friend and colleague, Nick
Scoppetta, to be Fire Commissioner. And I see Ray
Kelly, who I have had the privilege of meeting with
in the past.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Let me also point out
that we have our Corporation Counsel here, so out
of the four of us up here, three are lawyers.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Not a bad
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: It depends.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Let me ask Nick
Scoppetta this question, and one we will continue
to think about, and that is the relationship of the
federal and state and local systems working
Traditionally, there has been a criticism
that federal agencies and particularly our domestic
law-enforcement agencies, the FBI, has treated state
and local authorities in a manner involving a
one-way street of information. Many criticisms
have been laid to that situation.
And let me ask both Commissioner Scoppetta
and Commissioner Kelly whether, in the post-9/11
environment, you see any improvement in the flow of
information from the federal government to the
state and city authorities.
MR. SCOPPETTA: I think Commissioner Kelly
is in a better position to address that question.
And I'd like to start by saying that we rely
heavily on the Police Department, and I in
particular rely heavily on my contacts with
Commissioner Kelly, which are frequent and
continuous. And there has been more than one
occasion when he has called me directly to discuss
a piece of intelligence that we then jointly acted
I will say that I think I have never seen
better cooperation and coordination between the
various city agencies that might be called upon to
first responders and, in particular, fire and
police. We have done four joint exercises
We have, as Commissioner Kelly mentioned,
executive liaisons at each other's headquarters
that report there every day. We have a high-level
working committee, our chief of the department, our
chief of operations and their counterparts in the
Police Department meet on a regular basis.
And so there is a lot of coordination and
cooperation and joint planning with police and
fire, which is the thing that concerns me
primarily. And the relationship with the FBI and
the other law-enforcement and intelligence
communities on the federal level is one that Ray
Kelly has I think a very good relationship with.
And we rely heavily on police intelligence.
MR. KELLY: I have been in law enforcement
a long time, both on the federal and the local
level. And clearly there were some issues in the
past with the flow of information.
I can tell you that has changed
significantly in the aftermath of September 11th.
I think the Patriot Act also has changed it. So
there were some restrictions placed on the federal
agencies restricting them from talking to other
agencies, and indeed talking to local agencies. That
There is a palpable difference in their
approach to doing business. They want to get that
information out. They are getting it out. Again,
we're commingled, you might say, on the Joint
Terrorism Task Force level, as never before, with a
number of investigators that we have assigned over
So in terms of the flow of information, it
is much, much different, much better than it was
prior to September 11th.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: But let me also add that
it is not just police and fire with this kind of
terrorism that you saw on 9/11. Our Office of
Emergency Management, our Department of Health and
Mental Hygiene, our Medical Examiner's Office, our
Department of Environmental Protection, all of
those agencies meet virtually every day, have
contacts, either in person or over the phone.
The threat to this country and the threat
to this city of an attack on our water supply or a
bioterrorism threat or a chemical threat, those are
the kinds of agencies that would have to recognize
threats, occurrences, when they take place, which
is not easy to do.
You don't just wake up and say, oh, we
have a bioterrorism threat or an attack. It's over
a period of time that you build information to say,
hey, we must have been attacked days ago. That's
the way bioterrorism works. And it is having scientists, researchers,
personnel on the ground that look and have their
eyes and ears open and exercise common sense and
have the interdisciplinary as well as interagency
coordination. I just cannot tell you the amount of
research that is done every day to make sure the
city stays safe. And it's not just looking for the
kinds of acts that are obvious once they take
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Let me follow
up in one way. And I'm gratified to hear
Commissioner Kelly's statement with respect to
cooperation from the FBI and other
intelligence-gathering agencies of the federal
Are there specific areas where you feel
improvement still needs to be made?
MR. KELLY: I think it's something that
has to be worked on every day. You have to be
aware of it and be conscious of it every day. We
don't want agencies to fall back into old habits. And I
think that it is very important at the top,
certainly here in this city, we have a great
working relationship with the Assistant Director of
the FBI, Kevin Donovan.
It's something that you have to focus on
and use. You just can't let that slip. So I can't
think of a particular area where we would want to
say we need more information in that area.
I think it's general approach. People
want that information to go forward. Quite
frankly, they don't want to be caught holding onto
information that should be disseminated. So people
now see it in their interest to move that
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: I appreciate
that. And we look forward to you continuing to
think about these issues and to advise us of where
we may be helpful in making recommendations for
even further cooperation.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: We'd better move on
because we have two more Commissioners with
questions. I know we're going to deal with this
subject more tomorrow. Commissioner Thompson and
COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I'd be interested,
Mr. Chairman, in hearing from either Commissioner
about their opportunity, if one has presented
itself -- I know that they have been
extraordinarily busy with their New York duties --
in passing on to their peers in law enforcement and
firefighting across the United States and other
large metropolitan areas the lessons that these
departments have learned, or if they have not yet
had that opportunity, whether they plan to do that
in the future.
MR. SCOPPETTA: A lot of our people have
spent a lot of time since 9/11 traveling to other
jurisdictions, talking about our experience,
talking about the lessons we have learned. And in
fact, when we had the McKinsey study done of our
response on 9/11, the McKinsey people and our
senior chiefs traveled across the country, both
talking about our experience and trying to learn
something from other jurisdictions. That was
extremely useful. So there's been a lot of that.
MR. KELLY: We have done some of that, but
quite frankly, our focus is right here in New York.
There's an opportunity cost when you take your
senior leadership and maybe send them to other
jurisdictions. I think people are welcome to come
here to New York.
I think the Mayor proposed that perhaps
even there is a possibility for us to maybe have some lessons
given and perhaps some money can come our way as a
result of that, but quite frankly, we are focused
on New York and protecting this city. So we
haven't done as much of that, I guess, as we could
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I did volunteer to the
President and to Secretary Ridge, that we would be
happy, financing and time being available, to share
lessons which we learned here with other
municipalities. Keep in mind that New York,
because of its size and density, is somewhat
different than any other city, even the other very
To put it in perspective, our police
department is bigger than the police departments of
the next four largest cities in this country
combined. So we have a different problem.
Forty percent of our population was born
outside of the United States. There is roughly 140
different languages spoken here in New York City.
So when another city might look for somebody that
speaks a language, we probably have a hundred
people in the Police Department that speak that
We have a service where you can call 24
hours a day, seven days a week, to interact with
municipal government. We have identified 170
different languages that we could take your
question in and give you a response.
I will say that when we had the terrible
tragedy of 9/11, this country responded to help New
York in ways that New Yorkers will forever remember
and forever be grateful. And I said to the
President and to Secretary Ridge, if we can find
the funding and the time, perhaps there are some
ways that we can, in a small measure, by helping
the rest of this country, say thank you for their
outpouring of support back then.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you.
MR. KELLY: I just want to add one thing,
I'm sorry, Governor. We do have an excellent
working relationship with the senior staff of the
Chicago Police Department. They did visit here
with us and we have sent representatives there. So
I know you might have particular interest in
Illinois. I wanted to emphasize that.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Congressman Roemer.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Commissioner Kelly,
you not only hit right away on one of the
Governor's concerns, you hit absolutely on the mark
in your two minutes what the United States Congress
looked at for 12 months in the Joint Inquiry with
regard to what are the two key issues to make sure
the federal government is sharing information with
local Police Departments and Fire Departments and
The two key issues that we found, and I
wish you would comment on them, are one, how do we make
sure the people in your department get clearances.
The Governor of Virginia, Jim Gilmore, eloquently
complained to Congress that he wasn't even cleared,
as a governor, to get certain information. And how
do you then make sure that you get the information
to you and your top people.
The second issue is, as you again hit on
and I wish you'd be a little bit more explicit
about some ways we can improve this, is
actionable intelligence. How do we improve the
specifics of that information to you the first
time, if not the second time, to give you the right
information that can help you prevent some kind of
terrorist attack from taking place?
MR. KELLY: I think the granting of
clearances is a real issue. It is still an issue
and it obviously has to be handled on the federal
level. There has been some give in the granting of
interim clearances, but it just has to be speeded
And we are on the receiving end of that.
I think the Mayor and I have had some discussions
about that. The background checks are extensive.
There's some archaic regulations.
I myself have not been, I've gone through
the nomination process twice. And when I was in
the federal government, I moved from one job to the
other requiring another clearance process. That
whole thing had to be done again, even though I was
sitting in an office. I was an Undersecretary
moving to the Commissioner position. I had to go
through the whole process again. It simply did not
make sense. So I think that we just need give
in that regard.
As far as actionable intelligence, the
problems, it just doesn't come in a neat package.
It's not specific. We're not getting it as a
nation with great specificity. It's not coming to
us with specificity. We're getting bits and pieces
and it's difficult for our intelligence agencies.
And we work with them. It's difficult to put it
together. There's no easy answer.
And you know, we can go back 30 years and
all of these discussions that we've had about
over-reliance on technology versus human
intelligence, but that's what we're faced with now,
that's what we get on a national level, that's what
comes down to us on the local level.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Let me add to that. One
of the surest ways to let the terrorists attack us
again is for all of us to stay home, seal ourselves
in, and let our economy and our lives fall apart
because of a perceived threat.
America is a country that for 225 years
has been willing to stand up, run risks, fight to
make sure that we stay a democratic country and to
try to help the rest of the world. And we have not
gone back and hidden ourselves at home. We have to
say, turn it over to the professionals and go about
And this constant reaction to ill-defined
terrorist threats can only damage our economy and
prevent us from responding later on when a real
threat does occur. And we have to be very careful
that we don't go in the other direction in the
interest of being able to show that we had X number
of threats and we responded here, here and here.
The fact of the matter is, the public has
to go on. This is, by and large, let us pray,
totally, it is a safe country. And we have
professionals certainly in this city, and I think,
although I have a little less experience at the
state and federal level, to prevent terrorist
attacks in the future, let us all pray. In the
meantime, we have to go about our business and our
CHAIRMAN KEAN: The last question,
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Yes, thank you for
your statement. I would really like to request at
a subsequent opportunity that we get the city
government's best recommendations with regard to a
problem that was highlighted in the Joint Committee
investigations and became a major criticism of the
FBI in particular, and that is the dominance of the
law-enforcement and prosecutorial approach to
terrorist issues and the obstacle that that becomes
in the sharing of intelligence, which may be
evidentiary, and becomes protected as soon as an
investigation gets going, and how you, at your
level, can come up with procedures to insure that
there is full sharing among all the offices in your
government, as well as the federal government, even
at the expense of perhaps weakening the evidentiary
sanctity of a prosecution. That would be very
valuable to us in the future.
MR. KELLY: I agree. I think that is an
excellent point. I think it's an issue of culture.
We need that change, again, in the FBI, and
obviously the Department of Justice, That's their
business, the prosecution. We are now forced to
be in the preventive mode where we have to focus on
stopping another event, preventing another event,
rather than doing a retrospective examination of
one of these horrific events.
It takes a lot of focus and a real
culture change in those agencies. I think that Director Mueller is
doing an excellent job in that regard, but it is a
heavy lift, and he understands it. I've had these
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Do you think you
have the right balance in the NYPD?
MR. KELLY: I think we have it in the
department more so than perhaps on the federal
level because I think we're literally at Ground
Zero. There is much more of an awareness of the
need for prevention than perhaps on the federal
level. It's something we have to focus on, as
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: And evidentiary
considerations are not just for criminal
prosecution. We live in a litigious society, and
we have to continue day in and day out and pay the
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Mayor, I want to thank you
very much, Commissioner Kelly, Commissioner
Scoppetta, Counsel, thank you for your time very,
very much today. I appreciate it.
I now ask the panel of Mr. Waizer, David
Lim, Lee Ielpi, Brian Birdwell and Craig Sincock,
please. All right. Are we ready to get started
again? We are running behind, which I apologize
for. We did not expect the Commissioners from New
York but thought it was wrong, since they made
themselves available, they are an important part of
this, and I thought it was wrong not to ask them
questions when they offered to accept questions.
Mr. Waizer, do you want to start in?
MR. WAIZER: Governor Kean, members of the
Commission, thank you for asking me to speak before
you today. My experience of 9/11 differs from
yours and that of the general public. As this
nation and much of the world watched in shock and
horror on 9/11, as events unfolded at the World
Trade Center, at the Pentagon and in the air over
the farmlands of Pennsylvania, I was otherwise
engaged, battling for my life. If hearing my
personal story can help this Commission fulfill its
important task, I will gladly tell it.
On September 11th, at approximately 8:46
in the morning, I was in an elevator, somewhere
between the 78th and 101st floor, in Tower 1 of the
World Trade Center. I had left my wife, Karen, and
our three children, Katie then age 13, Joshua 12,
and Jodi 10, at about 7:15 that morning and I was
on my way to my offices on the 104th floor where I
was employed as Vice President and Tax Counsel in
charge of national and international tax matters
for Cantor Fitzgerald.
The elevator was ascending when, suddenly,
I felt it rocked by an explosion, and then felt it
plummeting. Orange, streaming sparks were apparent
through the gaps in the doors at the sides of the
elevator as the elevator scraped the walls of the
shaft. The elevator burst into flame. I began to
beat at the flames, burning my hands, arms and legs
in the process. The flames went out, but I was hit
in the face and neck by a separate fireball that
came through the gap in the side of the elevator
doors. The elevator came to a stop on the 78th
floor, the doors opened, and I jumped out.
I began the long walk down 78 flights in
the fire stairwell. I walked, focused on my single
mission: to get to the streets and find an
ambulance. I knew I was seriously hurt. The
stairwell was filled with people calmly walking
down, with no apparent sense of the magnitude of
what had just occurred. I was shouting out to
people in the stairwell, telling them I was burned,
asking them to step aside so that I could get down
more quickly. Faces turned towards me, sometimes
with apparent annoyance at this intrusion on the
orderly evacuation process. I saw the look on many
of those faces turn to sympathy or horror as they
saw me. At one point I noticed a large flap of
skin hanging on my arm. I did not look any
Somewhere on the way down, I believe
around the 50th floor, I met a man who appeared to
be either a firefighter or Emergency Medical
Technician walking up. He stopped, turned around,
and walked in front of me, leading me down. We
made it to the lobby and walked two blocks to find
an empty ambulance, which took me to the Burn
Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital. I stayed
conscious only long enough to give them my name and
my wife's phone number.
I have no memories after that for some six
or seven weeks; I spent that period in a state of
induced coma, but I can offer a secondhand account
of some of the more important personal events. I
was triaged at the hospital, where they took my
clothes, wallet, watch and glasses, none of which I
ever saw again. They began to cut off my wedding
band from my badly burned fingers, but a
sympathetic nurse used an entire jar of lubricant
to remove it intact and saved it for my wife.
Karen has worn that ring on a chain around her neck
since then, saving it for the day when I can wear
it on my finger again.
As the world watched with horror as the
events of that morning unfolded, Karen began
receiving phone calls from friends and relatives.
She tried to call me and waited, with fading hope,
for me to call her. Friends and family gathered at
my home to offer hope and, if the worst happened,
comfort. My two older children, having heard of
the attack called home and were allowed to return
home. My 10 year old daughter remained in school,
unaware. At 12:30 the nurse was finally able to
call Karen, who took the call in our kitchen and
passed the news on to the others that I was alive.
Screams and tears of joy filled that room. But as
one nightmare ended for her, another was to begin.
Karen had no idea how seriously I had been
injured. She was unable to reach me at the
hospital until almost 8 o'clock that evening. When
Karen first saw me that night, I was not
recognizable. My head was swollen almost
basketball size, the rest of my body had similarly
swelled and my features were either covered by
bandages or so blackened and distorted as to be
unidentifiable. It was only the ring that gave her
any comfort that the swollen, misshapen body lying
in that hospital bed was in fact her husband.
The doctors explained to Karen the nature
and severity of my injuries. I was particularly at
risk because the fireball in my face had seared my
windpipe and lungs and I had inhaled a large amount
of jet fuel, leaving me particularly prone to
life-threatening infections. I have since been
told that my chances of survival at that moment
were roughly five percent.
That night began a seven-week
roller-coaster ride for Karen, friends and family.
I would appear to be recovering one day and be
diagnosed with a highly dangerous infection the
next. I underwent multiple surgeries to graft new
skin on my hands, arms, face and neck, suffered a
blood clot, a seizure, a partial lung collapse and
a series of blood and lung infections.
Karen's mother moved up from Delaware into
our home to take care of our three children.
Members of our local and our synagogue communities
delivered dinner to our home and drove our children
to their various activities. Friends and family
accompanied Karen to the hospital every day. Mine
was not just a personal struggle, it was shared by
family and community.
After five months of hospitalization,
multiple surgeries, a year and a half, and
counting, of painful, sometimes grueling, therapy,
I am here today to bear witness. My injuries have
left me with lung damage, chronic pain in my right
elbow, my left knee, my back, damage to my vocal
cords and the prognosis for the nerve and tendon
damage in my hands is still uncertain. But I can
enjoy various activities, play with my children,
and enjoy my time spent with my wife, with my
friends and family.
I am one of the handful of lucky ones.
Just blocks away from here lay the unrecovered
remains of many friends and colleagues, some dear
friends. They can no longer speak for themselves
and I am left with the unchosen, unhappy task of
trying to speak for them. I do this with no
particular moral authority, but neither I nor they
have a choice.
I have no rage about what happened on
9/11, only a deep sadness for the many innocent,
worthy lives lost and the loved ones who lost so
much that day. There have always been madmen,
perhaps there always will be. They must be
stopped, but with the cold detachment reserved by a
surgeon for removing a cancer. They are not worthy
of my rage. Neither do I feel anger at those who
arguably could have foreseen, and thereby
prevented, the tragedies. If there were mistakes,
they were the mistakes of complacency, a
complacency in which we all shared.
This Commission cannot turn back the hands
of time. There's nothing to be gained by asserting
blame, by pointing fingers. The dead will remain
dead despite this Commission's best efforts and
intentions. But it is my hope that this Commission
can learn and teach us from its scrutiny of the
past, and if the findings of this Commission can
prevent even one future 9/11, if they can forestall
even one plan of Osama bin Laden, prevent even one
more act of madness and horror, I and the rest of
this nation will owe the Commission our gratitude,
and I will be proud of the small part I was allowed
to play today.
I do have one concern I would like to
voice. I have no political experience, but I do
have experience as an informed citizen. It tells
me that commissions such as this are usually formed
by men and women of good will, have committed,
intelligent members and staff possessed of good
will, and eventually produce reports that are read
carefully and seriously by others of good will.
Yet the findings of such commissions are often
ignored in the end. Compassion and concern are
often spread thin, and other important issues
become priorities after the glare of the public
My fear is that the work of this
Commission will have a similar fate. My hope is
that by speaking to you today, by putting a human
face on the tragedy that was 9/11, by attempting to
speak, however inadequately, for those who no
longer have voices, I can help further the cause of
this Commission and this nation, to help build a
safer, more secure tomorrow for all of us, and that
doing so will help bring peace for us and our
children. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Mr. Waizer, thank you for
your eloquence, sir. Mr. David Lim, of the Port
MR. LIM: I would first like to say, that
was one of the most moving statements I have ever
heard. And it makes what I have to say, I guess,
pale in comparison.
I would like to thank the Commission,
Governor Kean, for allowing me to speak before you
today in regards to my personal experience on 9/11.
As Mr. Waizer said, if what I can tell you will
help you in any way, find a cause to prevent future
happening of events such as this, speaking from a
police officer's point of view, will be greatly
I saw, I saw a great number of my
brethren, 37 Port Authority police officers were
killed that day. Port Authority police only had
1,100 police officers at that time. And therein
lies my responsibility, the same as Mr. Waizer's, I
have to speak now for those who can no longer
I guess that's where it lies heaviest for
me. These men and women, like myself, were just
doing our jobs that day, something we do every day.
And only recently, I guess, it's appreciated,
unfortunately, through our great loss.
Someone asked why the Port Authority
police were in the World Trade Center, with the
exception of Governor Kean, of course. The Port
Authority police are in the World Trade Center
because the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey built the World Trade Center. They built it
back in the '70s and from the first time they dug
the first hole, there was a Port Authority police
officer present to provide security for that area.
When I first became a police officer, that
was back in 1980, I'll be perfectly honest, I
didn't know a lot of Port Authority police. I
wanted to be a police officer. I wanted to serve
the public. So I learned.
I learned that the Port Authority police
were responsible for most of the
public-transportation facilities in the bi-state
area, which of course includes tunnels, bridges,
airports, areas which obviously need security but
post-9/11 have now become the most highlighted
areas in this area, in this theater of terrorism.
But I digress.
I wanted to say a lot of things today
about the Port Authority, but I think, I guess, I
said enough about that. And I'm going to tell you
about what happened to me that day. When I tell
you this, I want you to remember what I tell you is
not the story of just David Lim, it's the story of
every police officer, firefighter, EMS, civilians
that were helping out that day.
As the governor, Governor Pataki, said to
you earlier, it was a day that we all came
together. We, everybody, pulled together to help
every else. You will understand that as I tell my
I myself have been a Port Authority police
officer for 23 years, the greater part of that at
the World Trade Center Command until I got into the
Canine Unit and have been doing that for the last
six years. And that's where my story begins.
I was working on 9/11, like I do every
day, with my partner, Sirius, my explosive-detector
canine, checking trucks coming into the World Trade
Center. This was considered vital, considering
what happened in '93. We did this every day with a
great feeling that we were accomplishing a very
The Trade Center itself, I can speak to
the security. We had delta barriers and all kinds
of security situations set up to prevent future
terrorist attacks after '93. On that day I had
just finished up searching a multitude of trucks
with my partner and I had retired to my office to
do my paperwork and have a little breakfast.
8:45 a.m. all that changed. I was in the
basement of Number 2 World Trade Center, yet I felt
the shock of the first plane hitting Tower 1. And
that could give you at least a start of the idea of
the power of that hit, if I was in the basement of
the other building. I secured my partner in his
kennel, told him that I had to go help the people
-- he was a bomb dog, not a search-and-rescue dog
-- and I figured he'd be safe there while I went to
assist. Unfortunately, that was the last time I
I went over to Tower Number 1 to the
mezzanine level by the plaza by the sound stage
where they would have summertime shows. I was
assisting people out of the A staircase as they
were coming out of the building. At this point the
debris was already falling onto the plaza.
Somebody screamed that a body was outside on the
plaza. I went over to investigate. And sure
enough, was the first body that I had seen.
It's not something that I'm going to
describe here, there's no point. It's just
something that I will never forget for the rest of
my life. Here, as a police officer, at that point
I guess 21-and-a-half-years, was what I thought was
the most important thing, I had a body, a DOA. I
had a lot of procedures to follow. And I went to
call it in on the radio.
And just as I did that, another body fell
about 10 feet away from that one. And all of a
sudden, what I thought was the most important thing
to take care of, this body, became inconsequential
in the fact that obviously things were going to get
a lot worse than this one body that I had seen.
I took it upon myself at that point to
start heading up into the building to assist before
people would start jumping out of the building. I
started going up the stairs and I saw a lot of
frightened faces. People were asking me what was
going on. At that point I already heard about the
airplane, but I lowered my radio to prevent people
from getting too scared.
I kept on going up, telling people to keep
going down, down is good. I remember running into
people similar to Mr. Waizer that were burned,
asking for help. What I did was I assigned those
people to people that were healthy to
help get them down. I felt the greater good was
for me to get to a higher point to try to assist
those people upstairs.
I got to the 27th floor and I saw a man in
a wheelchair waiting with his friend. I remember
this because it's very important. I went up to him
and he said he was waiting for the crowd to clear
and then he would go down. Coming up another
staircase, the B staircase, was the Fire Department
who said that they would take care of the gentleman
and that if I wanted, to proceed up.
Well, I tell you, I went into the
staircase that they came out of and, as you'll
hear, it was very important. As I went to that
staircase, there were more people coming down.
There were some clogs of people, but generally they
were calm and they were not too frightened. At
this point it was still rather early, but they were
going down orderly.
I got up to the 44th floor, Tower 1, the
sky lobby. I had made that my goal based on the
fact that there are express elevators that are
situated on that floor. My fear was that people
coming from the middle floors would get onto those
elevators and try to take the quicker way down.
I have learned from my training in ESU
that an elevator is probably not one of the better
places to be. And I apologize for that, you know,
it's just you didn't know, obviously, you know, at
the time. I'm talking about post-emergency.
And sure enough, just as I was starting to
get the people down, I felt another collision on
the left side. Looking out the window I saw this
rain of fire coming down and it blew out the
windows on the 44th floor. Fortunately, I was
right in the middle, I was not burned, but I was
knocked to the ground by the concussion. I grabbed
whatever people I had left.
And at this point, as you say, I knew we
were under attack. I thought it was an accident,
there was no reason to think otherwise at that
point. A horrible accident, something we actually
had trained for, I remember, in the '80s in case
something like that would happen. But as I started
going down and taking the people with me, I could
see the fear in their eyes growing.
The building now was starting to shake and
was not the stablest, you know, in other words, it
was not very stable. I'll just leave it at that.
As we were going down, I was clearing the floors,
getting people that were left behind that were
waiting. Most of them were either handicapped,
elderly, had someone coming with disabilities, but at
this point there was no more waiting. We had to
So I proceeded to gather them, right, and
start going, start heading down. We got to about the
35th floor, in that general area. I don't remember
specifically when I felt the building shaking. I
thought for sure that my building was collapsing.
It shook and it stopped.
Then I heard on the radio something I will
never forget, it was from our police desk over at 5
World Trade Center. And the transmission said,
"Tower 2 is down, all units evacuate Tower 1." I
couldn't believe it. What do you mean, Tower 2 is
down? I mean, it's the World Trade Center. Each
building, 1,477 feet, can withstand anything. But
it also raised in my mind if that building can
fall, so can mine.
And now the people I was with were very
upset, of course. I just told them, we have to
keep going. And we started heading down again. On
the 21st floor I ran into three of my supervisors,
Chief Romito, Captain Mazza and Lieutenant Cirri.
They were assisting a gentleman who has having
difficulty walking and breathing. They were making
a stretcher out of a soda push cart.
I told the chief about the other building
going down and that this collapse was imminent. So
he gathered the gentleman, one arm over his
shoulder, Lieutenant Cirri grabbed the other arm,
and we proceeded to take him down the building with
Captain Mazza, myself and our people. We went
As we were going down, and now we were
starting to lose power in the building, the lights
were going on and off. We had some emergency lighting in
the staircase and after '93, they'd painted stripes
and they glow and it was very eerie watching the
stairs as they lit up. I concentrated on the task
at hand, which was to get the people out of the
I got down to the fifth floor and I saw,
that is where I met Josephine Harris and Ladder
Company 6, Ladder Company 6, a fire company out of
Chinatown. Josephine Harris, who is a Port
Authority employee, had walked down 72 flights, and
she had a bad leg problem and she could go no
Captain Jonas, of Ladder 6, was attempting
to find a chair to put her in to help carry her
down. I told the captain it was too late. And
following my chief's lead, I grabbed Josephine by
one arm, Firefighter Tommy Falco grabbed the other
arm, with Billy Butler right behind us, we started
I remember my captain, Captain Mazza,
telling me to leave and let the Fire Department
handle that and to go with her. And I just said,
I'm helping out, just go ahead. Well, one more
flight down was as far as we got and the building
started coming down. I knew that was it because
the other building was already gone. The memory of
that is very sharp in my mind, something I'll never
forget. People always ask me, of course, but this,
I knew it was coming down.
All I could think of is, well, if I could
protect Josephine from the debris. So me and Tommy
were covering her and it started coming. And you
could feel the wind of pushing down as they were
compressing through the building, you could hear
the sound. It was like an on-rushing locomotive or
an avalanche. You could almost feel the sound of
the floors pancaking on top of each other as they
were collapsing. As we all know, they collapsed
Actually, one of the firefighters, Matty,
actually blew right by us as he went down. I
didn't even know that until afterwards. And they
just kept coming and coming. And I guess my final
thoughts were about my family. I thought about my
wife, my kids. Excuse me. I hoped they would
think well of me for what I did. I was very
fortunate. When the debris stopped falling --
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Just take your time.
MR. LIM -- first I thought I had died. I
heard nothing, I saw nothing. But then I heard a
voice, I heard a voice, the voice of Captain Jonas,
my new friend. The voice was, "Who's here?" And I
heard a fireman that was in the stairwell with us
shouting out the names of companies. I remember
saying, "Lim, Port Authority police."
We couldn't see each other. It was
totally black. We couldn't breathe. We had to try
to breathe through our shirts, but we were fairly,
in fairly good shape. We were alive. And we were
very grateful for that.
I hoped then that Captain Jonas and the
men of Ladder 6 and there were other fire companies
below us, of course, there was a total of 12
firefighters, Josephine and myself in that
stairwell. And for five hours, we fought to get
out of there. When I say we fought, we fought as a
There were times you may have heard in New
York that firefighters and police officers sometimes
don't get along. Well, we changed all that.
Between their actions and my expertise, after
working almost 20 years in the building, we did
manage eventually to work our way out.
We also managed to get ahold of our
families, I was fortunate to have a couple of cell
phones, and managed to get through to let them know
that we were okay. And that was probably one of
the hardest moments for me was trying to explain to
my wife that I might not get out of there. But
she's strong, a good cop's wife, she understood, I
was doing my job.
We ended up going up to get out through
the sixth floor stair, top of the staircase. We
had started smelling jet fuel in the staircase,
unburned jet fuel, and the fear of fire had caused
us to work even harder to get out. We saw a light
over the sixth-floor staircase and our first
thought was that the floor had power in it and it was
virtually, or at least partially, intact, we could
make our stand there.
We felt we would be there for a lot longer
than five hours. As it turns out, as that light
got brighter, it turned out to be the sun. We were
virtually standing on top of what was left of the
World Trade Center. When I say that, you have to
picture a straw in a pancake. We were in that
By all the engineers and everybody else
that tried to figure this out, there's no reason
why I should be sitting here talking to you right
now. It was just a small sliver of staircase from
the sixth floor down to the first floor, damaged,
though still enough to keep us alive, that
preserved our lives.
We finally got through on the radio to
Ladder Company 43 and they managed to come and
throw us ropes. We managed to climb down onto the
debris field in order to exit. They sent two of
their officers to stand by with Josephine for a
basket in order to carry her out.
Then came the trek to get out of Ground
Zero. And that in itself was treacherous. One of
our party had a concussion, Mikey Meldrom, so I was
helping him. And the field was still on fire.
There were things that we saw that, like I said, there is
no need to repeat.
So we attempted to exit actually through,
ironically enough, the U.S. Customs House over at
Six World Trade Center, but then we saw fire and we
heard what we thought was gunfire. And I guess in
my moment of stress, I thought we were under attack
and these guys had landed on the beach. And all I
could think of was, well, I've got 46 rounds, I'll
But as it turned out, it was just ammunition
going off. But you still couldn't go out that way.
We ended up going out by One World Trade Center and
exiting on West Street. We finally got out, I
think it was around 3:30 or so and we were beaten,
but we were alive, virtually with minor injuries.
Myself, I was taken to the hospital with a
concussion and some leg and back injuries which I
have recovered from. But I guess it's the mental
injuries that I still suffer at times. Yes, I
still have some nightmares, I still have trouble,
as you can see, talking about this at times, but I
think it's important that we as a people move on.
One of the questions that I'm usually
asked when I do speak about this is why don't I
retire. I'm a 20-plus man, I can retire any time.
And my answer is that I will retire at a time of my
choosing, not at the choosing of some knucklehead
from Afghanistan. No way is he going to determine
when this cop is going to quit.
I just again want to thank you for
allowing me to speak here. And I know, I know it's
obviously not quite as important as all the people
that we lost. I grieve for all those that I knew
that day, I grieve for those that I will never
know, but I also grieve for the best partner I ever
had. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you. Mr. Ielpi?
MR. IELPI: Good morning. Before I start,
let me say two things. One, I'm not used to
reading, I'd rather talk candidly, but I'm going to
have to read for time. And two, some of the things
I'm going to say are going to be sensitive to some
of the families that might be listening, so I'd
like to let them know ahead of time.
I come to you today as an ambassador for
the dead and on behalf of the many others who
toiled at Ground Zero to recover the victims of the
terrorist attack. My son Jonathan, a member of
Squad Company 288 at the New York City Fire
Department, was killed in the South Tower.
I am a retired firefighter and a grieving
father. I bring no political agenda to this
hearing. The only baggage I bear is a broken heart
and a resolve that the terrible events of September
11th not be repeated.
Ten minutes is a very short time to
summarize even one day of the horror and loss that
filled Ground Zero. It is far too short to describe
nine months of picking though rubble and debris, to
find torsos, fingers, arms, bones and legs. Far too
short to convey one year and seven months of
missing my son and looking into the sorrowful eyes
of his mother, his siblings, his wife, his
children. I can only summarize. I cannot
summarize an eternity, I can only share with you
some of the images of Ground Zero that I will carry
with me forever.
That morning when I arrived at the Trade
Center site, I got there about half an hour, within
a half an hour after the South Tower had come down.
I saw my first fatality, a New York City
firefighter laying by his apparatus. I continued
down the block. I got down to West and Vessey
where the walkway spanned the West Side Highway.
It had collapsed onto a number of fire vehicles.
We were able to crawl underneath of these vehicles
and start a search.
We were able to turn off some of the
engines that were still running. All of the souls
that ran underneath of this walkway to find shelter
were dead. My primary reason, of course, was to
find my son. My ultimate reason was to find my
son. I continued searching with a lot of my
friends that I had met. I had been a firefighter
for some 26 years and I know a lot of people on the
The searching continued in and out of
voids, under and around spaces, and over and above,
only to find death. We found no life. After the
first bunch of hours at the site, for the remainder
of those nine months, we were to find nobody alive.
We were only going to find death.
I continued that day in searching. It
became quite obvious as we progressed that it was
going to be a difficult day for my family. The
following days were much the same. I spent the
better part of nine months at that site searching.
I met a lot of wonderful people that came
from across this country to assist us. I cannot
begin to tell you how wonderful it was to see and
talk and listen to these people. These were men
and women that came to serve us, to serve us food,
to listen to us, to cry with us, to not say
anything to us.
We worked with operating engineers, we
worked with carpenters, we worked with iron
workers, we worked with police, we worked with
fire. I worked with a number of fathers who came
to look for their sons. I brought a picture along
with me that I will leave here. Many of these
fathers that came did not find their sons.
On December 11th, three months to the day,
I had left the site, I was home, it was about 11:30
at night, I got a phone call. It was Paul Ferro,
who was the Deputy Chief at the site. He was
working the night tour. When I heard his voice, I
knew what it was. Paul said, Lee, we have your
son. I said okay, Paul, I'll be right there.
I got my son Brendan, who is also a
firefighter, we hopped in a car. We had a fire
vehicle at our disposal. We headed back to the
site. At about 1:30 in the morning, my son Brendan
and I started our descent down into the site. And
this is within the slurry-wall area, bathtub,
otherwise known as, about 35 to 40 feet below
Over on the side was a stokes basket, and
my son was in it. He was covered with an American
flag. Paul Ferro came over to me and he put his
hands on my shoulder and he said, Lee, he's all
there. That meant something to me. And I will
explain it later.
I went over to my son. I knelt down. I
spoke to him. I still had to feel him from head to
toe to satisfy my own curiosity. Then with the
help of my son Brendan and some of the men from
Squad 288, we picked up my son and we carried him
up the hill. We placed him in an ambulance and my
son Brendan and I rode with him to the morgue. We
were able to bring home our son in one piece and we
put him to bed at home where he belonged.
We have a chart here, if I could just show
it for a second. The work that continued at the
site went on for almost nine months. The New York
City Fire Department used the GPS system to mark
every remain that was found. This map, you can see
the vast majority of remains, those are the towers.
Those towers sit within the slurry-wall
area. That area goes down six stories deep. Every
dot there represents a body part. We could not
represent all of them because we went from grade
level down to six stories below, so one dot may
represent 5, 10, 15, 20 body parts. Thank you. I
will leave that with you also.
We meet with the -- I belong to the
Coalition of 9/11 Families. We meet with the
Medical Examiner's Office every three weeks. I'll
give you just a couple of quick figures here.
Between Shanksville of course, Pennsylvania, and
the Pentagon, we know that some 3,000 lives were
taken that day. At the World Trade Center site,
2,792 souls were murdered that day, 19,934 body
parts were retrieved in nine months.
To date, 6,438 of those remains have been
identified. To date, 13,447 of those remains still
are unidentified and remain at the Medical
Examiner's Office. Fourteen hundred and seveny seven families have been
notified that their loved ones were found. 1,312
have not. Out of 2,792 souls lost at the World
Trade Center, there were only 292 whole bodies.
There will never be any more than 292 whole bodies.
My son was one of those whole bodies.
One night after all the recovery work was
over, I was at the site, six stories below grade at
bedrock, for a small tribute. There were many of
them. Afterwards, as I was ready to leave, I
realized that no one was working. As I started to
walk that long walk to the ramp that led out to
street level, a Port Authority cop that I know
drove by and said, "Would you like a ride up the
hill?" I said, "No, I think I would like to walk."
He understood and he left.
I had never been down there where there
was this fire. I walked over to where they found
my son. I cannot describe the overwhelming feeling
of warmth and sadness as I stood there. And I
could hear people talking. It was a very powerful
feeling. Now I guess I'm going to try to help you
hear those voices too.
We cannot change what happened on
September 11th, but it must not be forgotten and it
must never happen again. America's guardians
failed us on 9/11. You are now the guardians of
that legacy of that horrible day. Each of you
personally, not merely as a member of a commission,
now bear responsibility to see that the lessons you
learn at these hearings are remembered, and more
importantly, acted on.
I urge you not to fail the past or the
future. And I thank you for the time.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much.
COLONEL BIRDWELL: Good morning, Governor
Kean, members of the Commission. Thank you for
affording me this opportunity to share with you my
experiences from the events of September 11th.
It's also my distinct honor to be a representative
of those in our national defense, the Pentagon and
those currently serving overseas right now.
First let me establish where I was located
inside the Pentagon at the moment of impact of
American Airlines Flight 77. You have a slide
inside your packet that I provided that gives you
that layout. Inside the attached slide, you'll see
the impact point on the E-ring, the outermost ring
of the building. To the left of the collapsed
structure, my office window is circled in yellow.
The top right-hand portion of the slide is
called the corridor. The corridors are the spokes
of the building that connect the rings to one
another. The rectangular tan box designated with a
red X at the top of the building shows the location
of the elevators within the corridor.
As I stepped out of the men's restroom
inside corridor 4 on the second floor to return to
my office, I was passing in front of those
elevators at the moment of impact, in fact moving
toward the point of impact. The arrow originating
from my circled office window indicates the window
I was facing at the time of impact, approximately
15 to 20 yards behind that window inside the
As you can see from the slide, I had just
crossed the path of the plane in going to the
restroom and was just seconds from being in the
direct path of the plane at the time of the impact.
When an 80-ton airliner traveling at over 300 miles
an hour with over 10,000 gallons of petroleum jet-A
slams into a building 15 to 20 yards from you,
you may also discern that I sit here at the
miraculous hand of Christ.
In surviving the concussion and being
conscious through it, the blast, the fire, the
smoke, I am able to provide for you a glimpse of
the ghastly, firey death that many died in that
day. By virtue of surviving my injuries, I can
provide you the great detail of the emotional and
physical trauma of the critically injured.
As a husband and father, I can share with
you the physical and emotional strain of my wife
Mel and my son Matt as I experienced throughout my
hospitalization and continued recovery. Let me
share with you a little bit of that experience of
I too would offer the same thing that Lee
offered as well, to the family members in the room
today. At the moment of impact I went, in an
instant, from a well-lit corridor that I had
traversed many times to an earthly hell of fire,
choking black smoke, physical and emotional pain
and the disorientation, all of which seemed to last
First was the physical pain of the fire.
My body was burned with 60 to 65 percent total body
surface burn area on my back, legs, face, neck,
arms, hands, with approximately 40 percent of my
burns being third degree. Portions of my face and
each entire arm required complete grafting of skin
from those portions of my body that could donate
such skin. The heat, smoke and fuel vapor within
my lungs inflicted a serious inhalation injury on
me, as well. Second, I was disoriented and unable
to navigate my way out of the building due to the
loss of lighting, combined with the smoke that was
pouring out of the building.
I cannot put into words, there are none
sufficient in the English language, to describe for
you the abject terror and panic that I experienced,
not only facing such grievous, life-threatening
injuries, but at the same time the inability to
escape them. Third, I knew I was facing the
finality of my life. I thought about how I had
said good-bye to my wife Mel that morning, and my
son Matt, and how it would be my last.
In moments immediately after impact, I
reacted normally with the survival instincts of
trying to save myself. I attempted to get to my
feet but was unable to do so, given the concussion
and blast of the explosion and the subsequent
vacuum that had to be filled and the damage that
had on my sense of balance. After an undetermined
amount of time, I eventually accepted my death and
collapsed to the floor and waited for whatever that
feeling is of the soul departing your body. By
God's grace, I never felt that feeling.
Instead, I could feel liquid running down
my face, but it wasn't blood, it was cold. In fact
it was water. I had collapsed into one of the
functioning sprinkler systems inside the Pentagon.
That water was able to douse the flames on and
around me and I was eventually evacuated for
treatment at Georgetown University Hospital.
In my written remarks, I wanted to pause
and move on in the interests of time, but let me
share just a little bit of that with you, if I may,
Governor. With your permission, let me just share
that with you.
Inside corridor 4 on the second floor,
there are portions that were still under
renovation, portions that were, on my right side,
that were plywooded up, still under construction.
Portions on my left were badge-access doors that,
even though my badge was burned beyond recognition
at that point, even if it had functioned, I did not
have access to those areas. The corridor to the
A-ring, which is the innermost circle, the
innermost ring of the Pentagon, the fire doors had
already closed. I was only operating with
emergency lights and the will to survive and God's
grace am I still being alive.
As I moved, actually staggered, it was not
a walk, it was not calm, I was not able to run, I
got down to about B-ring where Bill McKennan and
Roy Wallace stepped out of the B-ring doors to see if
there were any survivors inside the hallway. I was
the only one there. Pieces of my skin were still
hanging off of me, pants burned, portions of my
polyester pants had melted to me. It's not a
description I wish to go into in greater detail
because Roy was already rather descriptive of it
for me already.
They and two other gentlemen carried me to
the A-ring through one of the passages that they
had within their area, took me to Redskins Snack
Bar. You may be familiar with that, Secretary
Lehman. At that point I was laid down for triage
with five other seriously injured people. I was
the first one evacuated.
Fortunately, I had a great Air Force
doctor, Dr. Baxter, give me a shot of morphine in
my foot and then in the other foot gave me the IV
bag. My feet were the only portion of my body that
they could determine was not seriously injured. I
was immediately evacuated by ambulance inside the
Pentagon up to North Parking, from North Parking
taken to Georgetown University Hospital by a Ford
Inside Georgetown University, I had yet
another seminal moment. Major John Collison had
accompanied me to Georgetown. I knew that when Dr.
Williams, the attending physician there, told me
they were soon to place me under general anesthesia
and intubate me that he was going to do the best he
could to save my life. But I also knew that I was
facing, in being under anesthesia, that my last
words were maybe those that I now speak.
I asked John to take the wedding ring off
my finger. It removed skin, it removed muscle, it
removed other tissue, but I don't recall it
hurting. I don't know if that was because of the
morphine that I received from Dr. Baxter or because
I was more concerned with the manner of my death
and how my life or my death was going to give
witness to those on the medical staff.
John took the ring off. I looked at the
hospital chaplain and asked to say a prayer, a
prayer of salvation, actually, rather, sovereignty
of God in my life, not of salvation. We said that
prayer. And after that prayer I had the peace of
God's concern in my life and his sovereignty in my
life to look at Dr. Williams and say, let's get on
with it, resting in his sovereignty.
I was fortunate, as you can imagine, to be
sitting here with you today. I was evacuated to
Washington Hospital Center Burn Unit by ambulance,
or by air ambulance, after the FAA had opened air
space inside Washington D.C. That evening I was
admitted where I would spend the next three-plus
months enduring 30 surgeries, 24 days on a
respirator, 26 days in intensive care, nearly 90
days breathing through a trache, numerous tank
sessions of sterile debridement in a solution of
water, iodine and chlorine -- and I can tell you
that is, short of being a prisoner of war, probably
the most horrific, painful experience you can
endure -- three days of maggots to eat the dead
tissue off my arms, to sterilize the infection, to
give me live tissue, living tissue, that the
doctors could then graft on top of, daily physical
therapy to the point of requiring a morphine
derivative, Dilaudid, prior to each session, in
addition to the scheduled pain medications.
The physical environment was agonizing,
but the emotional pain was probably far worse.
Seeing the anguish my wife was enduring on my
behalf, the separation she endured from Matt and to
complicate that emotional pain was my inability to
communicate with her for a good portion of my
hospitalization, and that physical incapacitation
combined with the pain medications that I was
Mel and Matt had already overcome the
immediate torment of those first few moments and
hours of watching the attacks. Mel had previously
accompanied me to my office when we made the move
from one part of the building to the other. She
knew that my office overlooked the helipad and in
watching the local news coverage, saw the helipad
and the row of windows overlooking it with fire
coming out of them.
Mel and Matt eventually learned that I was
alive and were quite overjoyed at that. The
greatest challenges ahead were dealing with the
medical setbacks that are indicative of not knowing
if I would survive. In our visits together,
especially Matt's, the overtone was always, is this
my last chance to speak with Dad alive.
By virtue of the hand of the Lord, an
outstanding group of medical professionals, the
presence of my church and the presence of the U.S.
Army family, I sit here before you enjoying the
remainder of my life. I trust that you will keep
my life and those of other citizens of this great
nation in mind as you go about the business of
determining how we can improve our processes to
I look forward to answering any questions
that you may have about my family's experience.
Again, thank you for the honor to be here with you
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Mr. Sincock?
DR. SINCOCK: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners,
I'm Dr. Craig Sincock of Woodbridge, Virginia. To
me, it is an honor to come to you today as a
citizen, an Army officer of 34 years, and as a
surviving spouse of September 11, 2001.
Before I proceed into the things that I
had written down, this gentleman right beside me,
Brian Birdwell, is the only survivor out of my
wife's office. He is now my dearest friend. He's
like a brother to me.
The Pentagon was my building and it was my
wife's building too, my wife, Cheryle. I was first
stationed there in 1985, brand new W-2 with the
Army. My wife came in 1987, working as an Army
civil servant. Both of us went to work there,
usually together, from those years until the events
of 9/11. I worked in just about every corridor and
most of the floors of that building. I met
countless thousands of people, both military and
civilian. Most of those people I consider as
My wife made several promotions through
the years as an Army civil servant. She was
excited about where she worked, who she worked for,
and the fact that she was doing her small part to
make the system work better.
On the day her world ended, Cheryle got up
at 3:00 a.m., got dressed, and drove herself to
work at 4:30. My last recollection of her was
standing in our bedroom combing her hair. We said
good-bye and I told her I would call her later to
see if she wanted to come home early. This was one
of those days when her illnesses made her very
sick, but being sick never stopped her from work,
from her duty.
I followed her to work about a half hour
later. This was our normal schedule for almost 15
years. And although I was on leave, I went to work
anyway. The belief was, year-end use-or-lose type
of leave in the military, but that did not mean I
did not do my job. And I credit my wife, Cheryle,
with showing me that side of the work ethic.
I called Cheryle at about 8:30. She
sounded like she was hurting. In fact, she told me
her head was just pounding. That meant usually
that her blood pressure was elevated, but true to
her form, she said no to going home at that time.
I told her I had been invited to participate in a
meeting in Rosslyn and I should be back in the
early afternoon. That was the last time I talked
to my wife. I know I told her I loved her and for
that I'm ever so grateful.
When the plane hit the Pentagon an hour
later, I felt the shudder two miles away in
Rosslyn. When I looked out the window and saw the
first plume of smoke go up, I simultaneously heard
the TV announcer in a back room say that the south
parking lot of the Pentagon had been hit by an
My heart stopped because I just knew that
was where Cheryle worked and something told me she
was in danger. I ran the two miles back to the
Pentagon, through Arlington Cemetery. I spent that
entire day, until 11:30 that night, working,
praying, and hoping at the side of the building we
called home. It was not until the next morning
that I got the official word from the Army that my
wife Cheryle, my bride of almost 25 years, was on
the missing list.
That is what happened to Cheryle and 183
others that day. What has happened to the families
and friends since that day is another story. I
like to think of 9/11 as an event and what we do
now as the journey after the event. Every once in
awhile, someone or something will take us back to
that day. Those are the triggers from the event.
We hope that as time goes by, the triggers become
less in frequency and their results less in depth.
This is the reason I said yes to coming
before you today. What you do here, the results
you obtain and the recommendations you send
forward, will, I sincerely hope, lessen those
triggers for all of us.
I found early on in my grieving process
that to hold onto anger brought on resentment. And
with resentment came sleepless nights, foggy days,
and bad memories. So you won't hear anger from me.
I won't talk about what people should have done,
for that would be to try to place blame somewhere.
That may be part of what you end up doing, but it
is not part of my responsibility.
I will however, give you some personal
I watched that day as everyone with any
authority tried to take charge of something, take
charge of anything, but no one was really in
charge. No matter how many times the scenario of a
plane crashing into the Pentagon during takeoff or
landing at National Airport had been practiced,
no one was prepared for this attack.
I know many of these in the Defense Protective
Service and there's not one of them that I would
fault for not doing their job and then some that
day. I know many of the building support personnel
and they too are above reproach and blame. I've
worked for many of the top-level and mid-level
managers of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine
Corps. Each one of them and their subordinates did
what their training and their instincts directed
them to do. Some of them died trying.
If there is anything to blame, it is our
systems, our bureaucracies and our inflexibility
towards change. That is normal for bureaucracies
and large systems. That is what happened on 9/11.
Those who are used to change, are trained to
respond to events demanding instant change, are the
police, fire and rescue. Bureaucrats do not like
change, in fact they fear it, for their programs
may go away and with it their very existence.
So when these same bureaucrats tried to
respond to 9/11 events, they were not prepared for
it, but we should not blame them for that because
we may have made them what they are. We do this
with our antiquated programming, budgeting and
execution methods. We do this by outsourcing
almost everything we do until we make our
government managers policy makers rather than
We cannot fault our fine nonprofit
organizations and the multitude of companies that
responded to the needs starting within many hours
of the tragedy. These people brought everything
they could think of, provided every service they
could, and extended themselves, usually at a loss
of profit. But within months of the event, the
attitude of these same people, not all of them to
be sure, but a lot of them, went back to the way
they had been before 9/11. They did what so many
of our own citizens did. They reverted to what was
comfortable and known. This is one of the prime
laws of systems thinking, which I happen to have a
doctorate in, that tells us that a system always
reverts to where it is comfortable. That's where
bureaucracies go, back to being comfortable.
Some of the organizations that responded
had gone through similar incidents and responses
like this before. Some of them already had
response models they could modify quickly. But the
vast majority of responders did not have a clue
because this was so much bigger, so much different
than anything they had ever seen before. And now
almost a year and a half has gone by and we still
don't have any more models of crisis response than
we had before.
I'm certain that some bureaucrats have
probably worked on a few of those and spent several millions
of dollars of public funds to try to get a model
going, but I suspect that when push comes to shove,
God forbid, those models will have become
shelfware. For until our bureaucracies start to
train themselves on how to change, on how to be
flexible and pliable, they will never be in a
position to respond properly to events such as
I trust that what you do here will be
guided by finding answers, not placing blame. I
trust that you will search out the truth, no matter
where it leads, and pass that truth to those who
can make changes that matter. I trust that you
will do the next right thing.
As you call your witnesses and try to find
out what happened and why, please try to remember
that those who were at the sites that day, those
who lost loved ones and friends, those who were
injured, are still going through their private and
individualized trauma and grief processes. Some
may be angry, many may be depressed, some may be
distraught and others may have their own agendas.
Try to understand that each of these people will
try to do their best given the circumstances that
You are now part of their healing process.
I know you will do right by them and right by our
great country, the United States of America.
Thank you once again for the honor of
being here, and God bless.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you all very much.
You're an extraordinary group of people. And I
thank you all so much for being here today.
Senator Gorton has a question.
COMMISSIONER GORTON: Mr. Waizer, was
there anyone else on that elevator?
MR. WAIZER: There was another woman, a
black, middle-aged woman, who I have tried to
identify. I think I know who she was. And if it's
who I think it was, she died in the hospital. She
didn't make it down to another ambulance. But I
have never be able to confirm that.
COMMISSIONER GORTON: I was going to have
a question for Mr. Lim, Mr. Chairman, but he
answered it. He went back to work. And I just
wanted to say that that was a great thing to do.
You really deserve our admiration, not only for
what you did on that day but you're back to work
MR. LIM: There's a great need for
bomb-dog handlers right now.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you. Any other
questions from the Commission?
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: I'd just like to
make a comment. When we were deciding what to do
for our first hearing, we considered many different
alternatives. And clearly we wanted to hear from
the families of the victims. We also wanted to
hear firsthand from people who had experienced the
tragedy themselves for two reasons. One, we knew it
would motivate us. And it has. We will
collectively keep your stories with us as we go on
this journey. And two, you have given us some
challenges to live up to. As you said, you are
speaking for so many others. And we have heard
you. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Yes, Senator?
COMMISSIONER CLELAND: Mr. Chairman, come
April 8th, I will celebrate 35 years after my
tremendous trauma and challenges, grieving all
that, physical loss and pain and suffering.
And this is an extraordinary story. The
nation needed to hear it. We needed to hear it.
We love you. We appreciate you. And we hope that
God continues to strengthen you in your struggle.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much. The
next panel, Stephen Push, Mary Fetchet, Mindy
Kleinberg, Allison Vadhan.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: We will call the session
back to order. I'd like to introduce, first of
all, Stephen Push from the Families of September
MR. PUSH: Governor Kean, Congressman
Hamilton, and the other members of the Commission,
thank you for inviting me to offer my views about
the Commission as it starts its investigation of
the worst terrorist attack in American history.
And thank you all for taking on this assignment.
You're doing a tremendous service for your country.
You have an extremely important task
before you. What is at stake is nothing less than
the legitimacy of the United States government.
The primary function of government is to provide
for the common defense. If the government cannot
do that effectively, everything else it does is of
I would like to explain to you what it was
that brought me before you today. I don't claim to
speak for all the 9/11 families, but I believe that
many of them have similar views concerning the need
for this Commission.
When my wife, Lisa Raines, was murdered
aboard American Airlines Flight 77, I was
immediately cast into a spiral of shock, disbelief,
and grief. Within two weeks, however, my strongest
emotion was anger. And I think I probably differ
substantially from Mr. Waizer and Dr. Sincock in
that. In fact, actually, anger is an inadequate
word to describe what I felt. What I felt was a
rage so intense it was like no emotion I had ever
felt before. But I haven't let go of this anger.
I've tried to pour it into working to see that
something like this never happens again.
Initially my rage was directed at the
hijackers. Why did they do this? What did they
expect to accomplish? What had Lisa done to them?
But as I read the newspapers and spent night after
sleepless night watching cable news networks and
searching books and the Web for information about
terrorism, I also became angry at my government,
the government that was supposed to protect Lisa
but that, as I eventually learned, had failed her
and the other 3,000-plus victims of 9/11.
I learned, for instance, that two of the
hijackers on Lisa's plane were known to the CIA.
In fact, the CIA even knew that one of them had a
multiple-entry visa to come into the country. They
knew that they were associated, I found out a
little later on that they were associated with the
people who bombed the Cole, the USS Cole, knew that
they had attended a terrorism conference in Kuala
Lumpur. Nevertheless, they were allowed to enter
the country, to live here for months and to board
the plane using their own names.
I also learned that, for 14 years prior to
9/11, the Government Accounting Office repeatedly
documented the ineffectiveness of the aviation
security system, but during that 14-year period,
nothing was done to correct the problems.
I realized that al Qaeda had first
attacked America in 1993, declared war on America a
few years later, and mounted a series of
increasingly daring and deadly attacks. While all
of this was happening, the Clinton administration
took only ineffectual steps against al Qaeda. And
after all of these clear signs that we were at war
with a ruthless enemy, the new Bush administration
put counterterrorism on the back burner until
I am now convinced that this tragedy did
not have to happen. 9/11 was foreseeable. And it
could have been prevented. But even if you don't
accept my word on that, I think everyone must admit
that at the very least 9/11 exposed serious
problems with our counterterrorism and
I'm not advocating conspiracy theories. I
personally don't believe that anyone in the
government had specific knowledge of what would
happen on 9/11. If only it were that simple, we
could then easily correct the problem by
investigating and punishing those responsible.
But I fear that what we're up against is
far more insidious. There has been a failure of
leadership in this country that cuts across decades
and political parties. Too many politicians put
reelection above national security. Too many
government managers favor process over results and
careerism over service.
I'm not maligning the many brave men and
women who protect us. I have great respect and
gratitude to those in the military and the
intelligence agencies and for the many others who
have dedicated their lives to public service, but
in too many cases, they have been poorly led.
I'd like to make a comment about something
that Mr. Ben-Veniste and one of the witnesses said
about not pointing fingers. I think this
Commission should point fingers. I'm not
suggesting that you find scapegoats, someone to
hang out to dry, but there were people, people in
responsible positions, who failed us on 9/11. They
didn't just fail us once; 9/11 occurred because
they were failing us over a long period of time.
Some of these people are still in responsible
positions in the government. Perhaps they
shouldn't be. And that's one of the things I think
you need to look at and think about.
I also hope that you will, in conducting
your investigation, talk to some of the rank and
file in the agencies that you will be looking at.
I notice that you have some people from the Fire
Department and the Police Department speaking
tomorrow. I don't know what level they're at, but
you should speak to some of the rank and file in
those departments and see if what the leaders
are telling you squares with what the rank and file
are telling you.
The same goes for the federal agencies.
I'm in touch with a number of former and current
employees of the Federal Aviation Administration
and the new Transportation Security Administration
who have horror stories to tell about our aviation
security. And I'd like you to listen to them.
Maybe not everything they say is legitimate, but
there is a lot there for you to look at that
requires serious consideration.
I'd also like to say something about what
Mr. Waizer said about these commissions coming to
naught in the end. If I have anything to say about
it, that's not going to happen. Your report is not
the end of the process, it's the beginning.
And I think I can speak for some of the
other families who are here today, we're not going
away. We're going to see that your recommendations
are translated into legislation, that the
legislation is translated into effective action by
Since 9/11, there have been some important
successes in the war on terrorism. Afghanistan has
been liberated, al Qaeda has been disrupted, and
many of al Qaeda's leaders have been captured.
But there have been far too many failures,
as well. For example, despite the expensive and
highly publicized creation of the Transportation
Security Administration, aviation security is still
little better than it was on 9/11.
Just last month, an investigative
journalist was able to defeat the carry-on-bag
screening process at a major American airport 10
out of 10 times. This is a year and a half after
9/11, months after the TSA has taken over
responsibility for all the airports, an
investigative journalist can carry unallowed items
through security a hundred percent of the time at a
major American airport.
And this is not just one incident. I just
mentioned this one because it happened long after
TSA had taken over. But I just this weekend
watched a compilation tape of stories that were
done by national and local television stations over
the period starting before 9/11 and continuing
throughout the period when TSA was training and
hiring and taking over, right up until last month.
And in every single one of those instances, they
were able to defeat the system between 50 and 100
percent of the time. I will provide you with a
copy of that tape. It's sickening.
The TSA's response to this latest story,
to this latest appalling failure rate, was to
assert that "proper screening procedures were
followed." I'm sure the families of the next
hijack victims will take great comfort in knowing
that "procedures were followed."
These ineffectual reforms of
transportation security focus almost exclusively on
addressing past attacks. And this seems to be a
recurring theme in the government. Let's respond
to the last attack. Richard Reid uses a shoe bomb,
so let's check everybody's shoes. Well, the
terrorists are probably a little smarter than that
and probably the next time it's not going to be
But most of what's been done by the TSA so
far responds to the threats that became evident on
9/11 and the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie.
Little has been done to address other
aviation-security issues, and these issues are well
known. Little has been done to address threats to
other modes of transportation.
We have to do much more than prevent a
repeat of prior terrorist attacks. We need people
in government who know how to anticipate new
tactics and develop methods to defeat them. Even
more important, we need to understand and change
the causes of terrorism. This will require a major
change in the government's mindset.
I urge you to look beyond al Qaeda and
beyond 9/11 and examine the underlying problems
that this country has not fully faced and has done
little to address. I urge you to ask the tough
questions and offer tough solutions.
For example, what changes need to be made
in our foreign policy, including -- no, not
including -- especially in our relations with
so-called friends such as Saudi Arabia?
Does the new Department of Homeland
Security really make America safer or has the
government just reshuffled the boxes on the
Can we obtain useful counterterrorism
intelligence from an intelligence community made up
of 14 different agencies when no one is in charge
of the entire operation?
Can the FBI, an agency steeped in a
law-enforcement culture transform itself into a
counterterrorism agency, or do we need to create an
agency similar to Britain's MI-5?
Are political campaign contributions from
the airlines undermining Congressional oversight of
These are just a few of the questions you
are going to need to answer. The list of questions
is too long for this brief testimony. I know that
other 9/11 families and many other people have
provided you or can provide you with far more
The families, the 9/11 families, aren't
asking these questions for our own benefit. We
have already been irreparably damaged. Our loved
ones have already paid the ultimate price. We ask
these questions for all Americans, for all people
who may be the next victims of terrorism, for
Thank you again for inviting me to
testify. And good luck in your search for the
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you. Mary Fetchet,
who is from Voices of 9/11.
MS. FETCHET: Good afternoon. My name is
Mary Fetchet. I tragically lost my son Brad in the
most devastating attack on our country, the attacks
on the World Trade Center. I am Co-Chair of Voices
of September 11th and a member of the family
steering committee for the 9/11 Independent
Commission. I'm honored to be here today and want
to thank Governor Kean, Mr. Hamilton, and all the
commissioners for the opportunity to discuss my
expectations for the 9/11 Commission.
I want to express to all of you my very
deep concern about the slow progress of the
Commission and stress the urgency we feel as
precious time is being wasted. I also want to
impress on you the importance of the Commission's
investigation in answering our mounting questions.
Your investigation will help identify the
systemic problems within and amongst government
agencies that contributed to the success of the
terrorists in carrying out this horrific attack on
It will also set a framework for the
necessary changes to insure national security. The
responsibility of the success of this investigation
rests on your shoulders. We have waited far too
long for this Commission to get up and running.
As a mother who lost her child, it is my
moral obligation to speak on behalf of my son and
all those that died on September 11th. They
deserve answers to how and why they were
senselessly murdered in their own country, nearly
3,000 innocent citizens at work and traveling on
American aircraft. I also speak on behalf of my
family and other families who are searching for
answers to how and why their loved ones died on
September 11th. We deserve answers to the long
list of questions we have.
Most importantly, I am here as a citizen,
like you and the rest of the nation, who continues
to feel unprotected at these volatile times. For
the sake of our children, we feel a great sense of
urgency. What were the failures? Who was
As I speak about my son, I would like to
share with you a picture which I took this morning
from his 15-year-old brother's bedroom. Brad was
24 years' old and the oldest of our three sons. He
worked at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods as an equity
trader on the 89th floor of Tower 2. Brad was an
understated, athletic, handsome young man, as you
can see from the picture, with a sparkle in his
eyes and a wonderful smile. Much like the 3,000
other innocent victims, he was hard working and
dedicated to his family and friends.
Brad was planning to become engaged to his
girlfriend of three years, Brooke. When Brad died,
my husband and I lost a son and our dreams for his
future, a wedding, a daughter-in-law and
grandchildren. His younger brothers have lost a
friend, a coach, a mentor, a confidant and a
It is incomprehensible that the
devastation was so great that our families are
being notified of minute body parts, such as a
finger, a jaw or a vertebra, or worse, nothing at
all. We have been notified three times of Brad's
limited remains and have had a memorial service and
a burial. We will wait until the notification
process ends before we have a final burial. It may
continue for years.
On September 11th, Brad called my husband
at work shortly after the first plane hit Tower 1.
Like other times when there was an emergency in the
building, he wanted to reassure us that he was
okay. He was shaken because he had seen someone,
quote, "drop from the 91st floor, all the way
down." He knew a plane hit Tower 1, but wasn't
aware it was a commercial jet.
The Port Authority directed my son's
company to stay put in their office, quote, "that
the building is safe and secure." My husband asked
Brad to call me at home and here's the recording of
his call left on my message machine at home around
9 o'clock a.m.:
"Hey Mom, it's Brad. I just wanted to
call and let you know, I'm sure that you've heard,
or maybe you haven't heard, that a plane crashed
into World Trade Center One. We're fine, we're in
World Trade Center Two. I'm obviously alive and
well over here, but it's obviously a pretty scary
experience. I saw a guy fall out of probably the
91st story all the way down. So you're welcome to
give a call here. I think we'll be here all day.
I'm not sure if the firm is going to shut down for
the day or what. Give me a call back later. I
called Dad to let him know. Love you."
Brad always tried to be strong so I would
not worry. Although he wasn't aware his life was
in danger, I can hear the fear in his voice. I
never had the opportunity to return his call, to
say good-bye and tell him I love him.
Brad made two calls to his girlfriend, the
last after the second plane hit Tower 2. The
message was brief. Sirens were sounding in the
background and he was franticly trying to escape
the building. Other families received similar
calls from their loved ones after the building was
These individuals knew they were going to
die. They were trapped above the fire, asphyxiated
or injured, and unable to escape. They died a
So I ask you, if the house next door to
your home was hit by a plane or on fire, would you
direct your family to remain in your home? How is
it that people would be directed to remain in a
110-story building supposedly, quote, "safe and
secure," when its twin tower is billowing in smoke,
and people are jumping to their death to avoid a
high-rise fire? How is it is that Brad was unaware
of the dangerous situation he was in 15 minutes
after the first plane hit Tower 1? Precious time
Unlike Brad's situation, Rick Rescorla,
Director of Security for Morgan Stanley, directed
his employees to leave the building, to disregard
the Port Authority's commands to evacuees to,
quote, "return up to their offices."
How is it that they were receiving such
conflicting information which ultimately,
senselessly, cost my son's life and the lives of
600 others in Building 2? What lessons were
learned after the bombing in 1993? Were there
evacuation policies in place? Were they followed?
No one in Building 2 should be dead today. What
were the failures and who is accountable?
Furthermore, what communications existed
to warn city authorities and the Port Authority
that hijacked commercial aircraft appeared headed
for their targets? More specifically, what was New
York City and the Port Authority told about the
findings of the Joint FBI and NYPD Terrorist Task
What were the breakdowns in communication
between the control towers, the FAA, NORAD, and
other government agencies? On a larger scale, what
were the CIA, the FBI, the INS and the military
doing to protect our country? What were the
systemic failures? Who should be held accountable?
September 11th has repeatedly been
referred to as a wake-up call. Our president said
on September 27, 2001, "We have awakened to a new
danger, but our resolve is great." As late as May
16, 2002, Condoleeza Rice stated that, "I don't
think anybody could have predicted that these
people would take an airplane and slam it into the
World Trade Center, take another one and slam it
into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an
airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a
But September 11th should not have been a
wake-up call. Nor was it a new danger. September
11th should have been predictable. The loss of
life in the 1993 bombing and the continued threats,
specifically on the World Trade Center and other
New York City landmarks, should have been the
In fact, Eleanor Hill from the Joint
Intelligence Committee concludes, "There was
considerable historical evidence that international
terrorists had planned and were, in fact, capable
of conducting major terrorist strikes within the
Despite increased chatter and the CIA
Director, George Tenet, issuing a declaration of
war on al Qaeda on December 4, 1998, the FBI and
CIA failed to communicate or coordinate their
efforts in providing national security. How could
this be that the two intelligence agencies
responsible for our safety are not coordinating
their efforts to protect our citizens? How could
this happen and who is accountable?
The Hart-Rudman Commission released on
February 2001 also predicted a terrorist attack of
great magnitude and loss of life on our own soil.
This report both identified the increasing threat
of terrorism and was also a blueprint for the
development of homeland security, which, if
implemented, could have prevented September 11th.
However, their recommendations to address these
threats were never implemented. The report sat on
It is also important to note that two
earlier presidential commissions on airline safety,
security and antiterrorism were established
following airline disasters, the Pan Am Flight 103
and the TWA Flight 800. However, these commissions
were bogged down by lobbying from the aviation
industry. Timetables were delayed, and financial
expenditures were given priority over the safety of
During this time what steps did the
aviation community take amidst the growing threat,
one which centered on using aircraft as bombs and
American cities as targets? If an effective
security system was in place, how did box cutters
get through security? What were the failures and
who is accountable?
Thankfully, we live in a country with
freedom of speech. Yet our elected officials with
oversight have neglected to implement prior
commissions' important recommendations to improve
airline and national security. We have a strong
military support, yet they were not able to protect
us within our own borders.
We have sophisticated intelligence
agencies that, for reasons unknown to the public,
are territorial and have been proven to be
ineffective, at least as far as protecting American
lives. Our nation is technologically advanced, yet
the technology is not protecting the skyways of
Before September 11th, I assumed we were
safe and secure living in the United States, that
the threat of terrorism was outside our country,
that government officials and other agencies were
competent, responsible individuals, coordinating
their efforts and acting in our best interests. I
found out the hard way that I was naive, that my
assumptions were wrong.
Unfortunately, the threat of terrorism
exists in our country. The building that Brad
worked in was unsafe and an identified target. And
government agencies with the responsibility to
protect us have major systemic problems
For 18 months our family has been denied
the truth that a thorough investigation would
reveal. As a family member, I am frustrated to
have suffered the loss of a son and yet to be
required to spend time away from my family and
fight for the establishment of a commission that
should have been in place on the day of the tragic
Following a recent mining disaster and
tragic Columbian aircraft explosion, commissions
were established immediately, with substantial
funding. It is now 18 months later. We're at war
with heightened alert. Yet the Commission has had
a slow start. A quest for the truth has to begin
at the top, with the support of the administration,
to require all government agencies to provide
necessary documents and act in full cooperation
with the Commission.
Security for all Commissioners and staff
should be expedited. Necessary funds should be
allocated for a Commission of this magnitude. The
findings of this Commission are of utmost
importance to developing an effective Homeland
I found a journal my son began writing at
age 21. On the first page he wrote a quote which
best describes how he lived his life: "You can tell
the character of a man by what he does for the man
who can offer him nothing."
I challenge you, the Commissioners, the
staff, and all those involved with the success of
this Commission to approach this important inquiry
with the same manner that Brad approached life, to
approach it with an open mind and with integrity,
above all, with a sense of urgency and a full
commitment to the time and energy that will be
necessary to do a complete and thorough job.
It is your moral and legal obligation to
insure that no stone is unturned. Most
importantly, each Commissioner must recuse
themselves in areas that they have a conflict of
interest. Our nation deserves this Commission to
be different. We want to prevent other families
from suffering the loss we have had to endure. We
want you to answer our questions, identify systemic
failures, and resolve problems.
Despite the cost, we want recommendations
that are implemented and we want accountability.
We want to know that changes are being made so our
families can feel safe living in this country.
Ultimately, you are accountable for the success of
In closing, I would like to offer my
sincerest condolences to the families of the brave
soldiers who perished in Iraq. I understand their
grief. May God bless my son and all those who died
as a result of September 11th and may their spirit
grant you the strength and wisdom as you proceed
with this important contribution for the sake of
our nation. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much.
Mindy Kleinberg from September 11th Advocates.
MS. KLEINBERG: My name is Mindy
Kleinberg. My husband Alan, 39 years old, was
killed in the World Trade Center on September 11th,
2001. As I testify here today about the 9/11
attacks, I will begin by saying that my thoughts
are very much with the men and women who are
involved in armed conflict overseas and their
families who wait patiently for them to return.
This war is being fought on two fronts,
overseas as well as here on our shores. This means
that we are all soldiers in this fight against
terrorism. As the threat of terrorism mounts here
in the United States, the need to address the
failures of September 11th is more important than
ever. It is an essential part of lessons learned.
As such, this commission has an extremely
important task before it. I'm here today to ask
you, the Commissioners, to help us understand how
this could have happened. Help us understand where
the breakdown was in our nation's defense
Where we were on the morning of September
11th. On the morning of September 11th my
three-year-old son, Sam, and I walked Jacob, 10,
and Lauren, seven, to the bus stop at about 8:40
a.m. It was the fourth day of a new school year
and you could still feel everyone's excitement. It
was such a beautiful day that Sam and I literally
skipped home, oblivious to what was happening in
At around 8:55 I was confirming play-date
plans for Sam when a friend said, "I can't believe
what I'm watching on TV, a plane has just hit the
World Trade Center." For some reason it didn't
register with me until a few minutes later, I asked
her calmly, "What building did you say? Oh, that's
Alan's building, I have to call you back."
There was no answer when I tried to reach
him at the office. By now my house started filling
with people -- his mother, my parents, our sisters
and friends. The seriousness of the situation was
beginning to register. We spent the rest of the
day calling hospitals and the Red Cross and
anyplace else we could think of to see if we could
find him. I will never forget thinking all day
long, "How am I going to tell Jacob and Lauren that
their father was missing?"
They came home to a house filled with
people but no Daddy. How were they going to be
able to wait calmly for his return? What if he was
really hurt? This was their hero, their king,
their best friend, their father. The thoughts of
that day replay over and over in our heads, always
wishing for a different outcome.
We are trying to learn to live with the
pain. We will never forget where we were or how we
felt on September 11th. But where was our
government, its agencies and institutions prior to
and on the morning of September 11th?
The theory of luck. With regard to the
9/11 attacks, it has been said that the
intelligence agencies have to be right 100 percent
of the time and the terrorists only have to get
lucky once. This explanation for the devastating
attacks of September 11th, simple on its face, is
wrong in its value, because the 9/11 terrorists
were not just lucky once, they were lucky over and
over again. Allow me to illustrate.
The SEC. The terrorists' lucky streak
began the week before September 11th with the
Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. The
SEC, in concert with the United States intelligence
agencies, has sophisticated software programs that
are used in real time to watch both domestic and
overseas markets to seek out trends that may
indicate a present or future crime.
In the week prior to September 11th both
the SEC and U.S. intelligence agencies ignored one
major stock-market indicator, one that could have
yielded valuable information with regard to the
September 11th attacks. On the Chicago Board
Options Exchange during the week before September
11th, put options were purchased on American and
United Airlines, the two airlines involved in the
attacks. The investors who placed these orders
were gambling that in the short term, the stock
prices of both airlines would plummet.
Never before on the Chicago Exchange were
such large amounts of United and American Airlines
options traded. These investors netted a profit of
several million dollars after the September 11th
attacks. Interestingly, the names of the investors
remain undisclosed and the millions remain
unclaimed in the Chicago Exchange account.
Why were these aberrant trades not
discovered prior to 9/11? Who were the individuals
who placed these trades? Have they been
investigated? Who was responsible for monitoring
these activities? Have those individuals been held
responsible for their inaction?
The INS. Prior to 9/11, our United States
intelligence agencies should have stopped the 19
terrorists from entering this country for
intelligence reasons alone. However, their failure
to do so in 19 instances does not negate the luck
involved for the terrorists when it comes to their
visa applications and our Immigration and
Naturalization Service, or INS.
With regard to the INS, the terrorists got
lucky 15 individual times because 15 of the 19
hijackers' visas should have been unquestionably
Most of the 19 hijackers were young,
unmarried, unemployed males. They were, in short,
the classic overstay candidates. A seasoned former
Consular Officer stated in National Review
Magazine, "Single, idle young adults with no
specific destination in the United States rarely
get visas absent compelling circumstances."
Yet these 19 young, single, unemployed,
"classic overstay candidates still received their
visas." I am holding in my hand some of the
applications of the terrorists who killed my
husband. All of these forms are incomplete and
Some of the terrorists listed their means
of support as simply "student" failing to then list
the name and address of any school or institution.
Others, when asked about their means of support for
their stay in the United States wrote "myself" and
provided no further documentation. Some of the
terrorists listed their destination as simply
"hotel" or "California" or "New York". One even
listed his destination as "no".
Had the INS or the State Department
followed the law, at least 15 of the hijackers
would have been denied visas and would not have
been in the United States on September 11, 2001.
Help us to understand how something as
simple as reviewing forms for completeness could
have been missed at least 15 times. How many more
lucky terrorists gained unfettered access into this
country? With no one being held accountable, how
do we know that this still isn't happening?
On the morning of September 11th, the
terrorists' luck commenced with airline and airport
security. When the 19 hijackers went to purchase
their tickets and to receive their boarding passes,
nine were singled out and questioned through a
screening process. Luckily for those nine
terrorists, they passed the screening process and
were allowed to continue on with their mission.
But the terrorists' luck did not end at
the ticket counter, it accompanied them through
airport security, as well, because how else would
the hijackers get specifically contraband items
such as box cutters, pepper spray, or, according to
one FAA executive summary, a gun, on those planes?
Finally, sadly for us, years of GAO
recommendations to secure cockpit doors were
ignored making it all too easy for the hijackers to
gain access to the flight controls and carry out
their suicide missions.
The FAA and NORAD. Prior to 9/11, FAA and
Department of Defense manuals gave clear,
comprehensive instructions on how to handle
everything from minor emergencies to full-blown
hijackings. These protocols were in place and were
practiced regularly for a good reason -- with
heavily trafficked airspace, airliners without
radio and transponder contact are collisions
waiting to happen.
These protocols dictate that in the event
of an emergency, the FAA is to notify NORAD. Once
that notification takes place, it is then the
responsibility of NORAD to scramble fighter jets to
intercept the errant plane. It is a matter of
routine procedure for fighter jets to intercept
commercial airliners in order to regain contact
with the pilot. In fact, between June 2000 and
September 2001, fighter jets were scrambled 67
If that weren't enough protection, on
September 11th, NEADS, or the Northeast Air Defense
System department of NORAD, was several days into a
semi-annual exercise known as Vigilant Guardian.
This meant that our Northeast Air Defense System
was fully staffed. In short, key officers were
manning the operation battle center, fighter jets
were cocked, loaded, and carrying extra gas on
board. Lucky for the terrorists none of that
mattered on September 11th.
Let me use Flight 11 as an example.
American Airlines Flight 11 departed Boston Logan
Airport at 7:45 a.m. The last routine
communication between ground control and the plane
occurred at 8:13 a.m. Between 8:13 and 8:20,
Flight 11 became unresponsive to ground control.
Additionally, radar indicated that the plane had
deviated from its assigned path of flight. Soon
thereafter, transponder contact was lost.
Two Flight 11 airline attendants had
separately called American Airlines reporting a
hijacking, the presence of weapons and the
inflictions of injuries upon passengers and crew.
At this point it would seem abundantly clear that
Flight 11 was an emergency.
And yet, according to NORAD's official
timeline, NORAD was not contacted until 20 minutes
later at 8:40 a.m. Tragically, the fighter jets
were not deployed until 8:52 a.m., a full 32
minutes after loss of contact with Flight 11.
Why was there a delay in the FAA notifying
NORAD? Why was there a delay in NORAD's scrambling
fighter jets? How is this possible when NEADS was
fully staffed with planes at the ready, monitoring
Flights 175, 77 and 93 all had this same
repeat pattern of delays in notification and delays
in scrambling fighter jets, delays that are
unimaginable considering a plane had, by this time,
already hit the World Trade Center. Even more
baffling for us is the fact that fighter jets were
not scrambled from the closest Air Force bases.
For example, for the flight that hit the
Pentagon, the jets were scrambled from Langley Air
Force, in Hampton, Virginia rather than Andrews Air
Force Base right outside D.C. As a result,
Washington skies remained wholly unprotected on the
morning of September 11th.
At 9:41 a.m., one hour and 21 minutes
after the first plane was hijack confirmed by
NORAD, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. The
fighter jets were still miles away. Why?
So the hijackers' luck had continued. On
September 11th both the FAA and NORAD deviated from
standard emergency operating procedures. Who were
the people that delayed the notification? Have
they been questioned?
In addition, the interceptor planes or
fighter jets did not fly at their maximum speed.
Had the belatedly scrambled fighter jets flown at
their maximum speed of engagement, they would have
reached New York City and the Pentagon within
moments of their deployment, intercepted the
hijacked airliners before they could have hit their
targets, and undoubtedly saved lives.
The leadership. The acting Joint Chief of
Staff on September 11th was General Richard B.
Myers. On the morning of September 11th, he was
having a routine meeting. The acting Joint Chief
of Staff stated that he saw a TV report about a
plane hitting the World Trade Center but thought it
was a small plane or something like that.
So, he went ahead with his meeting.
"Meanwhile, the second World Trade Center was hit
by another jet. Nobody informed us of that,"
Myers said. By the time he came out of this
meeting, the Pentagon had been hit.
Whose responsibility was it to relay this
emergency to the Joint Chief of Staff? Have they
been held accountable for this error? Surely this
represents a breakdown in protocol.
The Secretary of Defense was at his desk
doing paperwork when Flight 77 crashed into the
Pentagon. As reported, Secretary Rumsfeld felt the
building shake, went outside, saw the damage and
started helping the injured onto stretchers. After
aiding the victims, the Secretary then went to the
How is it possible that the National
Military Command Center, located in the Pentagon
and in contact with law enforcement and air-traffic
controllers from 8:46 a.m., did not communicate to
the Secretary of Defense, also at the Pentagon,
about the other hijacked planes, especially the one
headed to Washington? How is it that the Secretary
of Defense could have remained at his desk until
the crash? Whose responsibility is it to relay
emergency situations to him?
At 6:15 a.m. on the morning of September
11th, my husband Alan left for work. He drove in
to New York City and was at his desk and working at
his NASDAQ security-trading position with Cantor
Fitzgerald, in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center,
by 7:30 a.m.
In contrast, on that morning President
Bush was scheduled to read to elementary-school
children. Before the President walked into the
classroom, NORAD had sufficient information that
the plane that hit the World Trade Center was
hijacked. At that time they also had knowledge
that two other commercial airliners in the air were
It would seem that a national emergency
was in progress, yet the President was allowed to
enter a classroom full of young children and listen
to students read.
Why didn't the Secret Service inform him
of this national emergency? When is the President
supposed to be notified of everything the agencies
know? Why was the President permitted by the
Secret Service to remain in the Sarasota elementary
school? Was this Secret Service protocol?
In the case of a national emergency,
seconds of indecision could cost thousands of
lives. And it is precisely for that reason that
our government has a whole network of adjuncts and
advisors to ensure that these top officials are
among the first to be informed and not the last.
Where were these individuals who did not
properly inform these top officials? Where was the
breakdown in communication? Was it luck? Is it
luck that aberrant stock trades were not monitored?
Is it luck when 15 visas are awarded based on
incomplete forms? Is it luck when airline security
screeners allow hijackers to board planes with box
cutters and pepper spray? Is it luck when
emergency FAA and NORAD protocols are not followed?
Is it luck when a national emergency is not
reported to top government officials on a timely
To me luck is something that happens once.
When you have this repeated pattern of broken
protocols, broken laws, broken communication, one
cannot still call it luck. If at some point we
don't look to hold the individuals accountable for
not doing their jobs properly, then how can we ever
expect for terrorists to not get lucky again?
And that is why I'm here with all of you
today, because we must find the answers as to what
happened that day so as to ensure that another
September 11th can never happen again.
Commissioners, I implore you to answer our
questions. You are the generals in the terrorism
fight on our shores. In answering our questions,
you have the ability to make this nation a safer
place and, in turn, minimize the damage if there is
another terrorist attack. And if there is another
attack, the next time our systems will be in place
and working and luck will not be an issue. Thank
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Is Allison Vadhan here
yet? She's on the way and she has a statement and
we will put her on after the break.
SPEAKER: She's here now, she's right
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Here she is. All right.
You picked your timing very well. Are you all
right to go on right now?
MS. VADHAN: I'm all right, yes.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Okay.
MS. VADHAN: Thank you. I apologize.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much.
Allison Vadhan, Families of Flight 93.
MS. VADHAN: Members of the Commission,
Mr. Kean, honored guests, my name is Allison Vadhan
and I lost my very young 65-year-old mother,
Kristin White Gould, on United Flight 93, the plane
that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania while the
passengers and crew tried to overcome the
I'd like to thank the Commission for
inviting me to speak today. I've always had a
strong inner faith and I still believe that God
doesn't give us what we can't handle. Being here
today and your hearing my voice and our voices in
place of our loved ones is a privilege.
My mother, a graduate from Cornell
University and a medical journalist, preferred to
spend her vacation time visiting ancient cities to
learn about ancient civilizations. Before I knew
that she was flying that day, I had already
witnessed the second tower of the World Trade
Center explode into an orange fireball and I saw
with my own eyes the great black mushroom cloud
rise above the New York City skyline, not far from
my own home.
I'm sure most Americans today remember the
sinking feeling when it was obvious that not only
the World Trade Center had come under terrorist
attacks but that there were other planes in trouble
-- along with fires and explosions in Washington.
And then there was news about a plane down in
Pennsylvania. Before the day was over, we all knew
that this was war.
By the Christmas holidays, we faced the
anthrax attacks, the attempted bombing of the plane
from Paris to Miami, which was averted to Boston,
by Richard Reid, the discovery of an American, John
Walker Lind, who was captured as a Taliban rebel in
Afghanistan. How many other plans were there? It
felt like each day could be the next day for an
Most of us would turn on the TV first
thing in the morning to see if the world had
changed overnight. Finally, it seemed crystal
clear to citizens, as well as governments, that the
U.S. is a prized target for al Qaeda. And this
could possibly happen again and again and again,
whether they actually hit or just miss.
I'm concerned not only about my own three
children and if the U.S. will be as strong as it
has been in the 20th century. I'm also concerned
about what's already been taught to children in
Madrassa schools this year, last year, five years
Six days after my mother was killed, our
family traveled to Shanksville, Pennsylvania for
the memorial services for the families of Flight
93. After the services I went back to my hotel
room for some quiet time and when I turned on the
TV, a reporter in Pakistan was interviewing 8- and
10-year-old boys at school. Their computer screen
savers bounced pictures of Osama bin Laden. We
have discovered that there is another generation
being trained and raised to become terrorists when
they grow up.
I can tell you that forgetting and trying
to move on is a survival mechanism and it is part
of human nature. The pain of trying to envision
what my mother might have been going through and
experienced on that plane is so great that it's
almost only normal to try to forget about it and
think about something else. But trying to forget
is an indulgence for any American who saw what we
Al Qaeda and similar cells around the
world are training their young ones. If Americans
don't prepare for this next generation, we have
only ourselves in this room to hold accountable.
I'm concerned about civil liberties as an
excuse for not taking action to prevent terrorism.
I'm concerned about how many untold cases there are
of federal and local agencies not being able to
properly investigate a potential terrorist. At the
time FBI investigators could not obtain a criminal
search warrant to inspect the laptop computer of
Zacharias Moussaoui because supervisors in
Washington D.C. thought there was no probable
Now that we know our laws for
investigating are outdated and no longer
appropriate, I'm concerned that we will choose not
to fix them in the name of protecting civil
liberties, rather than protecting the lives of
President Bush effectively made us aware
that we are fighting a new kind of war. And if the
battlefield is here at home, waged by specific
groups from specific areas around the world, in the
name of a specific religion, I'm concerned that
avoiding racial profiling will supersede preventing
further terrorism. And the enemy knows this.
Terrorism is similar to the guerilla
warfare we hear about going on in Iraq: Militants
pose themselves as ordinary citizens and immigrants
here in the United States. They appear so clean
cut, they could fit in on any golf course. And
they do this to remain undetected until they carry
out their terrorist goals. If we're lucky, they're
dressed in their customary dress, they're wearing
their traditional non-Western clothing.
As long as we allow groups to be protected
from racial profiling, how can we win this new war?
And after seeing those little boys in the Madrassa
schools which are sponsored by Osama bin Laden and
the like, our children and grandchildren will, with
no uncertainly, face a very dangerous existence,
especially if we try to forget and move on.
The people who died on September 11th were
the first casualties in this new war. It is our
responsibility not to let them die in vain. I hope
we learn from our mistakes and prevent our children
from having to deal with the problems that their
parents and grandparents could have and should have
addressed with action and resolve.
Thank you for inviting me and other
families to speak today. I believe that we all
share the same goal in making our country and our
world a safer place. I hope the outcome of the
independent Commission is to learn from the past so
that history will not repeat itself. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you all very much.
This is an extraordinary panel and you have given
us a tremendous charge. I might say, in addition
to the fact of all the questions that you have
given us that we must answer to our satisfaction
and the satisfaction of the American people, in
addition the families' group, I didn't realize this
was appointed somewhat late, but there wouldn't be
a Commission if it was not for the work of the
victims and the families. And we're all very, very
aware of that.
I also want to say, as Chairman, that
every single time that this Commission has asked
the families to help in any way in the execution of
our mission, they have been there, from setting out
the mission to helping us get an adequate budget.
I just want to say to you all, as
representatives of the families, thank you very,
very much, and we look forward to working with you
in the future.
At this point, if I could recognize
COMMISSIONER CLELAND: Thank you very
much, Mr. Chairman. Miss Kleinberg has referred to
a meeting of the new Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was having, at that
moment of 9/11. He was having that meeting with me.
I was on the Armed Services Committee. And we were
talking about America's defenses at the moment.
My understanding of that is at the very
moment that we were talking about that, the aide, a
lieutenant colonel, was receiving a call from the
Pentagon. Basically the message was, as I
understand it, New York hit, Washington next.
And that scared one of my secretaries so
badly about that moment that the Chairman and I
rolled in and watched the second plane hit. And we
left the office immediately, but it was ironic that
we were talking about defending the country at that
very moment. I just wanted to add that for the
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Senator.
COMMISSIONER GORTON: Mr. Push, with the
exception of some of your co-sufferers from this
tragedy, I doubt that anyone in the course of the
last 18 months has spent more time or thought on
this entire matter than you have.
And in your written and oral testimony,
you have several questions that you think it
necessary for us to answer. I'd like to know
whether or not you have formed any tentative
answers to those questions that you'd like to share
with us. And let me just do one of them.
Do you have any strong and informed views
on whether or not the FBI can be an appropriate
counterterrorism agency or whether or not we should
have a separate British-type MI-5?
MR. PUSH: It is my opinion that we should
have a separate MI-5 type of organization. It
appears to me that the whole culture of the FBI is
antithetical to the skills that are needed in
counterterrorism. The reward system is geared
towards people who solve cases rather than prevent
And I realize that the director of the FBI
is attempting to change that culture, but we
haven't got the luxury of time. And I think we
should try a different model. Would you like me to
mention my views on these others?
COMMISSIONER GORTON: If you'd like to do
so. I may comment.
MR. PUSH: Sure.
COMMISSIONER GORTON: I have a friend who
is a United States Attorney in one of the districts
in Washington who has said to me, not at all
facetiously, recently, that he can't get the FBI to
investigate bank robberies anymore because they're
all looking for, spies and they may very
well be inconsistent charges.
MR. PUSH: As far as foreign policy, I
think we have to take, I realize that now that
we're at war with Iraq is not the right moment to
reevaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia, but
I think that we need to reevaluate our
relationships with the Middle East.
I think too many governments, particularly
Saudi Arabia, but I think this applies to other
Middle Eastern governments as well, who play a
double game, who pretend to be our allies while
secretly, or sometimes not so secretly, turning a
blind eye to their citizens, funding terrorism,
even the governments themselves setting up
newspapers that are blatantly anti-American,
anti-Semitic, schools and mosques that provide
hatred and violence.
And I think that we need to use the full
weight of our -- military action
like in Iraq will not always be appropriate, but I
think we should use the full weight of our foreign
policy, whether it be diplomatic or through foreign
aid or whatever to pressure these governments to
change until -- I believe that we'll never be safe
from Islamic extremism until the Arab Muslim
countries begin to experience democracy.
In the case of the Homeland Security
Department, I believe that it was done more to
appease the American public than to make
fundamental change. I think just
throwing a lot of agencies together under a single
department in and of itself does not in itself
provide a more secure environment. We really have
to rethink. And one of the things I've mentioned
about people who are still in responsible
positions, it's my understanding that the managers
who are responsible for the poor performance of
aviation security under the FAA have been
transferred to responsible positions in the TSA
and/or to contractors who work for the TSA. So we
changed the label it's operating under, we haven't
changed the fundamental problem.
In the case of the 14 agencies, I support
the recommendation of the Joint 9/11 Inquiry to
have a Director of National Intelligence. I spent
most of my time in the private sector. You would
never even dream in the private sector having 14
different departments in a company doing the same
thing, and nobody is in charge.
And as far as political campaign
contributions having an effect on aviation
security, I suspect they have. The airlines have
always gotten a pass from the government. I know
that they make the case that they're absolutely
vital to the national interest, and I believe they
are, but I believe they're in trouble not because
of regulatory requirements but because of poor
And I think that they have, they seem to
have plenty of money to spend on political campaign
contributions and on lawyers and they, before 9/11
and after 9/11, they seem to have successfully
evaded many of the requirements that the government
has tried to place on them.
And I think that, and this is a broader
issue, I'm picking on the airline industry because
they're the industry that I think had played a key
role in responsibility for 9/11, but this is just
the tip of the iceberg, I think, and maybe this is
too broad for this Commission to get into, but I
think the whole political campaign contribution
system in this country is warping the political
process. And the problems with the airline
industry are just one example of it.
COMMISSIONER FIELDING: Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. Just a general statement, if I may,
thanking this panel. Your stories are very
compelling, your advice is good and sound, and
obviously you have strengthened our resolve.
I know I speak for all of us, you're
obviously one of our best assets. Please, stay
with us, please keep giving us guidance, please
keep us direct. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Senator Gorelick?
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Yes, I might just
follow up on that. I was very impressed with what
both Mary Fetchet and Mindy Kleinberg had to say in
terms of the body of acknowledge that you have
brought to bear on this issue.
And I was struck by the fact that
laypeople, with no powers of subpoena, with no
access to inside information of any sort, could put
together a very powerful set of questions and set
of facts that are a roadmap for us. And I would
just ask you to briefly describe by what process
you have developed the factual basis that you have
laid before us today because it is really quite
MS. KLEINBERG: Hours and hours and hours
of reading articles, and you know, over the
Internet, we e-mailed each other articles.
Somewhere in October we became obsessed with
everything that was September 11th.
It started with, you know, any article
that had anything to do with September 11th we
started to pass back and forth. And then, you
know, if they had something to do with let's say
INS, we started to look up information about the
INS. So it's literally 18 months of doing nothing
but grieving and reading.
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Thank you for the
reading part, motivated by the grieving, I'm sure.
MS. FETCHET: I think initially we were
all just numb. And we were like the general
public. And I said to my friends, in fact, you
might read an article and say, gee, that's sort of
odd, they gave visas to the terrorists. And you
know, that's unusual or that's, you know.
So I think that as we progressed, our
curiosity took over. And we started reading and
really not only putting the articles together but
also connecting the dots. And you see, I mean,
they had more than enough information to really, if
not minimize, completely prevent this from
And the problem is, these agencies are not
communicating. They don't have protocol that they
have in place or they're not following it. So it's
just, I think our curiosity took over and we
started drawing conclusions to reading this
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Thank you.
MS. FETCHET. But we're turning it over to
you now because we're tired. Now it's your job.
MR. PUSH: And we want to see lots of
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Congressman Roemer?
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Thank you, Mr.
Having served in Congress and as a member
of the Joint Inquiry, I cannot thank all of you
enough and the people in the audience enough for
your participation in making sure that the Joint
Inquiry continued to dig hard and dig deep and get
at the facts and put out the starting point for the
Many of you could have taken your grief
and your sorrow and your pain and gone to the
sidelines. Instead, just as we see today the
pictures out there of your wife or your son or your
loved one, you came to every single public hearing
that we had on the Joint Inquiry.
And the members of that Joint Inquiry
looked out in the audience and saw those faces
every single day. And that had a huge impact on
that committee, that bipartisan committee of
Senators and Congressmen, trying to do their job
harder and harder and more effectively every day.
You were instrumental in the creation of
the Commission. It would not have happened
legislatively, getting through the House and
Senate, if it had not been for you. At a time when
many Americans don't even take the opportunity to
cast a ballot, you folks went out and made the
legislative system work. You can take great pride
I hope you will stay involved in this
Commission's work. And I hope that you will stay
involved in helping us implement recommendations of
the Commission. That will be one of the most
difficult parts we get to.
And along those lines, Steve, if you want
to, I just want to ask you a very quick question.
Maybe you don't answer it today, maybe you answer
it in six months. And Steve, you may have
partially answered it, but maybe you can all take a
quick try at it.
What two recommendations would you like to
see us pass at the end of the day to make the
country a safer place against this fluid, dynamic,
very lethal threat of al Qaeda and terrorists?
Steve, I will call on you first. You may
have mentioned two of them, the creation of the
Director of National Intelligence and an MI-5.
MR. PUSH: Yes, actually I think if I had
to pick only two, I would say the Director of
National Intelligence and a change in our
relationship to the Middle East, both. I mentioned
Saudi Arabia, but also I think we have to reexamine
our policy towards Israel, as well.
I support Israel, but we've turned a blind
eye to the expansion of settlements in the West
Bank and all of these things are interconnected.
I'm not a blame-America-first advocate. This was
the fault of the hijackers, and the hijackers were
the fault of a dysfunctional society in the Arab
Unfortunately, we can't just pin the blame
on them because they're killing us. So we have to
do whatever we can, use whatever leverage we have
to force changes there that will stop them from
continuing to create young people who hate us more
than they love life itself.
We can build a wall around America, and we
will never be able to protect ourselves as long as
there are people like that in the world.
MS. FETCHET: I think the two areas I
would like to see changes in would be the FBI and
the CIA working together. To me it's inexcusable
that you have two agencies that are supposed to be
protecting our citizens. And they have cultures
and territorial wars and they're not communicating
or coordinating their efforts.
I think the second thing is immigration.
I think we really do not know who is living in this
country. I was amazed to hear -- the learning
curve for all of us has been beyond straight up --
but when I sat in the Joint Intelligence hearings
and I heard that the watch list only goes one way,
that doesn't make sense to me. And I can't
understand how we're not monitoring people coming
and going. So I think those are the two areas.
And one other thing I'd like to include is
just to mention how thankful we are for the work
that the Joint Intelligence Committee did. They
really, worked hard. I
would like you to follow some of their
They were very frustrated with people not
showing up for testimony, people not complying with
subpoenas, and so, I've forgotten who mentioned it
to us, but they said subpoena early and often, and
that's another recommendation that I would have, is
make that list and get started.
MS. KLEINBERG: You know, I agree with
Mary and Steve. I also think that there's a part
about accountability that we, as citizens, we can't
hold the Director of Central Intelligence
accountable or the people that work for him or the
FBI, we're not in charge of hiring or firing them.
And there's no way, there's no report
card, you know, it's a matter of national security.
So Congressional oversight becomes extremely
important. And you know, our ability to, as
Americans, to get the story out so that we know
who's accountable and we know that we could use our
votes to ensure this accountability. That's one of
And the other is, I think there should be
full disclosure for public officials of any of
their business interests. You know, we have talked
a lot about conflicts on this Commission. And you
know, the onus is on you to rise above those
And I'm sure that you will be able to do
that when it is this important of a job, but I
think, you know, it's another area that has to be
looked at that when we put people into office,
whether it's a Congressman or a Senator or a
President, we have to take a look at what their
business interests are so that there are no
conflicts there either.
MS. VADHAN: Again, I'll just reiterate
what I have said in my statement. I think we need
to take a good look at the laws, how we investigate
possible suspects, how we investigate, how we keep
track of immigrants, and also take a look at, take
a good hard look at what we do know about September
11th and the people who were involved with
conspiring the terrorist attacks and finding out
why we decided to stop investigating or stop
following one of the hijackers in the middle of the
year, right before September 11th, we just decided
to stop following him.
We had been on his tail for over a year,
and for some unknown reason, we just don't know, we
decided to stop watching him. And we didn't hear
about him until he ended up on the plane, on Flight
93 that crashed in Pennsylvania.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Are there anymore
questions from the Commissioners? If not, you are
extraordinary people. Thank you so very much for
your testimony. I believe we're running late, not
unexpectedly, but I would ask, therefore, if we
could hold our break to 45 minutes. Let's catch
our 15 minutes that way, if we could be back here
in 45 minutes. Thank you all very much.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you all very, very
much for coming. I'd like to start by introducing
Dr. Sofaer, from Hoover Institution. Institute,
DR. SOFAER: Institution.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Institution. It's
Institution, all right. Thank you very much, sir,
for coming here today.
DR. SOFAER: Delighted to be here, Mr.
Chairman. It's a privilege, Mr. Chairman and
members of this Commission, to testify concerning
the prevention of terrorist acts against the United
States. My experience in this field is based on
service as a federal prosecutor with one of the
Commissioners here, Mr. Ben-Veniste, as a federal
judge, as legal advisor to the Department of State
and another Commissioner participated in making me
legal advisor, Fred Fielding, and as a scholar in
the area of national security.
And I am honored to say, Mr. Chairman,
that I serve with many in the federal government,
with many of the people who are sitting here as
Commissioners and I am privileged to be with you
This Commission has the formidable task of
explaining the terrorist acts of September 11th and
providing recommendations help to prevent such
attacks in the future. The cost of those attacks
is staggering, as you know: 2,819 lives at the
World Trade Center, including 343 firefighters and
paramedics, 23 New York City policemen, 124 killed
at the Pentagon, 271 people who died in the crashes
of the airplanes involved and the economic
consequences of it are tremendous and still haven't
been figured out. We know that New York City, this
great city, lost 146,000 jobs.
Those who were murdered on September 11th
remain in our minds and hearts. We owe it to them
to ask ourselves, what are the lessons of their
terrible deaths, have we made the changes to permit
us to say they did not die in vain.
The long process of introspection began
immediately after the attacks and continues. This
Commission will find no shortage of ideas as to how
America can defend itself more effectively,
including better intelligence, reorganization of
agencies, enhanced technologies, better
diplomacy and accountability. These are all
important subjects which the Commission must
My testimony, Mr. Chairman, though, will
focus on what I regard as most significant, the
failure to use force to prevent the terrorist acts
of 9/11 from happening. It is now the strategic
policy of the United States to use force
preemptively to prevent terrorists and their
states' supporters from attacking this country.
Until 9/11, however, the use of force was
not seriously pursued. When President Clinton
promised to bring terrorists to justice, he meant
that he would investigate them, try to capture
them, and when that was possible, see that they
were tried, convicted and sent to prison.
Preventing terrorist attacks became a game
in which national-security experts, the FBI,
prosecutors and intelligence personnel attempted to
learn where and when attacks were to occur before
they actually happened so they could do their best
to prevent it.
For many years prior to 9/11, I spoke out
as forcefully as I could against this approach to
fighting terrorism. My position was not original,
Mr. Chairman. It reflected the views of Secretary
of State George Shultz, and the views of his boss,
He proposed in 1983 that the United States
should adopt a policy of active defense against
terror. "Fighting terrorism will not be a clean or
pleasant contest," he said, "but we have no choice.
We must reach a consensus in this country that our
responses should go beyond passive measures,
passive defense, to consider means of active
prevention, preemption and retaliation. Our goal
must be to prevent and deter future terrorist
By the end of the Reagan administration,
the Shultz Doctrine had become national policy as
reflected by the bombing of Libya in 1987 for
arranging terrorist attacks on America.
Mr. Chairman, you know, and certainly
Co-Chairman Hamilton knows, that nothing stays the
same in Washington D.C. After the first President
Bush took over, the bombing of Pan Am 103 was
treated as a criminal matter and eventually
resolved after years of legal and diplomatic
maneuvering with the conviction of a single Libyan
Osama bin Laden fashioned his strategy on
the basis of this passive policy. He became
convinced the U.S. could be forced to leave Muslim
countries and abandon Israel if he launched attacks
that shed American blood. Nothing that happened
prior to September 11th gave bin Laden reason to
doubt his assumptions.
Al Qaeda was responsible for several
successful attacks on U.S. targets prior to
September 11th, as the Commission knows. And
throughout this onslaught, we responded precisely
as bin Laden anticipated.
In early 1993, al Qaeda operatives began
training Somali fighters to attack UN forces, and
in October that year, they participated in attacks
that killed 18 marines. We had boisterously
arranged to have the UN Security Council issue a
warrant for the arrest of Mohamed Aidid, but after
suffering these 18 deaths, we withdrew from
On February 26, 1993, a car bomb exploded
under the World Trade Center, killing eight people
and injuring over a thousand. We convicted most of
the perpetrators, but we left the organization from
which they came unscathed.
On June 26, 1996, car bombs killed 19
Americans in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and injured
another 200. The U.S. suspected bin Laden and al
Qaeda. All we did, however, was open a criminal
investigation. Bin Laden was not intimidated. On
October 12th that year, he issued a declaration of
war against the U.S., calling on Muslims to "fight
jihad and cleanse the land from these Crusader
In November of 1996, bombings in Riyadh
and at the Khobar Towers barracks killed another 19
American servicemen and injured 109. Bin Laden
called those attacks "praiseworthy terrorism," and
he promised more would follow. Once again, we sent
in the FBI.
In February 1998, bin Laden put his war
into the form of a religious order, declaring the
"killing of Americans and their civilian and
military allies is a religious duty for each and
And then August that same year, al Qaeda
terrorists car-bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya
and Tanzania, killing 224 people and injuring about
5,000. The U.S. launched a single ineffectual
missile strike on an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan,
on one of those big old mountains, and on a
pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.
When it came to legal action, though, we
pulled out the stops; we indicted bin Laden on 224
counts of murder. Characteristically, he failed to
show up for his trial. We settled for prosecuting
four al Qaeda operatives, after which prosecutors
triumphantly declared that they would continue to
investigate al Qaeda until bin Laden and his
cohorts were all brought to justice.
This so terrified bin Laden that he told
Time Magazine, "The U.S. knows that I have attacked
it, by the grace of God, for more than 10 years
now," in other words, why are they making such a
big deal out of this?
On October 12, 2000, a suicide boat
bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbor killed 17
American sailors and injured 40, in addition to
causing over $100 million of damage. We knew it,
it was al Qaeda's work, but the Clinton
administration did not bother to engage even in a
symbolic use of force, not even that one salvo of
missiles this time. Instead, it launched once
again a massive invasion of aggressive FBI agents,
incidentally, none of whom could speak Arabic.
At the turn of the millennium, we had some
very good luck. An attack plan for the Los Angeles
Airport was aborted when the perpetrator panicked
on his way into the U.S. from Canada.
U.S. officials knew that bin Laden would
strike again. They worried intensively, not about
whether an attack was coming, over where and when.
As the attack began on September 11th, the
President's advisors were sitting around a table in
the White House, worrying. They knew immediately
that the attack for which they were waiting was
Given these events, it is small surprise
that after the attacks of September 11th, bin Laden
was triumphant. He was a hero. His strategy had
worked. The U.S. had not stopped him.
Now we have heard many claims by former
and present officials in an attempt to explain why
they could not have prevented the 9/11 attacks.
The accumulating evidence undermines these claims.
But these excuses are, in any event, beside the
point. And that is the fundamental point of my
testimony to this Commission. They are beside the
The fact is that well before September
11th, the FBI, the intelligence community, the
Terrorism Czar, and everyone to whom they reported
all knew that additional attacks by al Qaeda were
being planned and would certainly be attempted.
They simply failed to do before September 11th what
was done immediately thereafter.
The horrors of that day finally galvanized
the nation into action. Now President Bush has
adopted three principles to guide U.S. policy:
First, that serious terrorist attacks should be
treated as acts of war, not merely as crimes;
second, that states are responsible for terrorism
from within their borders; and third, that we must
preempt attacks where possible.
These principles are strategically
necessary, morally sound, and legally defensible.
This Commission should confirm the need to adopt
active measures of defense. Where grave threats
are present, state responsibility exists and the
need for the use of preemptive force is
demonstrable, even if not imminent.
The notion that criminal prosecution could
bring a terrorist group like al Qaeda to justice is
absurd. And the UN Security Council has now
authoritatively established the responsibilities of
states in this regard in its Resolution 1373.
As for preemption, the Commission should
consider carefully the implications of a position
that would preclude the U.S. from acting in its
self defense merely because a real, terrible, and
certain threat was not also imminent. The
Commission should reject any standard of law that
would unreasonably restrict the President from
performing his or her obligation to protect the
The need for preemptive actions stems
ultimately from the conditions in modern life. We
are a target-rich country, huge, virtually
impossible to defend effectively. Every potential
type of weapon can be used against us, from the
most conventional to the most modern and
unconventional. We are vulnerable. Our entire
infrastructure is vulnerable and will be for many
years to come.
The area of intelligence is no less
subject to this reality. Many improvements should
be made to enhance capacities, but it is illusory
to believe that intelligence, even combined with
all presently conceivable advances in technology,
will enable us to know in advance of all the
attacks we will have to foil through passive
measures to achieve an adequate level of security.
We must, therefore, be able, when
necessary, to resort to active measures, and
necessity must be determined on the basis of all
relevant factors, not just imminence.
No national-security policy against
terrorism can be regarded as sound if it fails to
include preemptive actions as an essential element.
Nor should the Commission underestimate the
importance of preemption.
The historical record indicates that many
terrorist acts, attacks on the U.S., can be
anticipated. The most recent attacks were by al
Qaeda, a single organization responsible for most
of the attacks I have listed for you, led by a man
who announced his intentions to kill Americans, in
advance, and who demonstrated his capacity to do so
over and over again before he was finally stopped.
Other groups likely to attack us are also
well known, indeed, this panel has on it some of
the world's experts on those groups. It is true
that any war carries risks and the war on terrorism
is no exception. But the risks of using force must
always be weighed against the risk of inaction.
The Commission should keep in mind the
utterly helpless posture into which our
national security officials placed themselves and
the damage to which they exposed the nation by
failing to treat, as a proper part of their
authority and indeed of their responsibility, the
use of force against so well-established and
determined an enemy as al Qaeda.
Ultimately, we owe the dead, the living,
and the unborn a world of freedom and tolerance.
When all else fails, we must fight to preserve and,
in due course, extend those values. Freedom and
tolerance are not merely Western or American
ideals. They are enshrined in the UN Charter,
freely subscribed to by all Member States. To
allow their subordination to any ideology or
religion, however deeply felt, would undo the
principles upon which the future of this nation and
of humanity rests. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much.
Professor Dan Byman, who's got a class to teach,
somebody who works for a university who understands
very, very clearly is a top priority. He's from
Georgetown University. Thank you, sir, for coming.
And when you have to leave, we will certainly
PROFESSOR BYMAN: Thank you very much, Mr.
Chairman. Governor Kean, Vice Chairman Hamilton,
Commissioners and Commission staff, representatives
of the victims and survivors of the attack. I am
very grateful and honored to be here today speaking
In my testimony today I am going to
concentrate, in the interests of brevity, on key
intelligence and policy issues that proved a
problem before September 11th. The CIA has been
roundly criticized, as have other intelligence
agencies, for their performance in
counterterrorism. They particularly have been
faulted for not stopping the attacks of September
A closer scrutiny of the factual
background, however, suggests there was no single
action, no simple step, that, had it been taken,
would have stopped the attack. More broadly, the
intelligence community, and I would say
particularly the CIA, did well in providing
strategic warning of the al Qaeda threat.
Policymakers from both parties have
confirmed that the intelligence community informed
them of the identity of the foe, the scale of its
ambitions and its lethality before September 11th.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the intelligence
community could have done much better.
In my judgment, many of the problems the
intelligence community faced in meeting the
challenge al Qaeda stemmed from broader structural
issues, and I will discuss three today.
One issue was a large gap that existed
between the gathering of intelligence domestically
by the FBI and the overseas focus of the rest of
the intelligence community. As a result of this
gap, there was lack of sharing of information
between those tracking radicals at home and those
tracking radicals abroad.
There was little attempt to marry up this
privileged information that only the FBI held with
broader CIA information and vice versa. And the
working-level analysts and operatives often did not
know information was available, let alone its
Because of these problems, it is
unfortunate but reasonable to conclude that the
threat to the U.S. homeland received less attention
than the coverage of al Qaeda's activities
A second structural problem was that there
was no firm control of the intelligence community,
and as a result, prioritization was exceptionally
difficult. The CIA had responsibilities for
supporting more fighting in Iraq and the Balkans,
monitoring China and other rivals and so on. For
the FBI, dead-beat dads, drug money, infrastructure
protection, all competed for resources with
counterterrorism. There was no single plan that
everyone followed and because everything was
declared to be a priority, nothing really was.
A third structural problem was that before
September 11th, the FBI was not properly oriented
for counterterrorism. The Bureau often failed to
collect relevant information and the information
collected often was not disseminated outside of the
FBI and many times within the FBI. Few people in
the FBI with counterterrorism responsibilities knew
about al Qaeda. What knowledge that existed was
primarily confined to the New York field office.
The FBI culture fostered these problems.
Before September 11th, the FBI was
primarily a law-enforcement agency and it was
probably the world's best. But law enforcement
focuses on prosecuting cases, not on understanding
a broader network. Law enforcement emphasizes
gathering specific evidence, not collecting and
sharing all possibly relevant information.
As a result of these problems, the FBI not
only was not conscious of al Qaeda activities in
the United States but also didn't know the depth of
its own ignorance; it didn't know what it didn't
know. But concentrating attention solely on the
intelligence community misses the broader context
A broader review of the U.S. Government's
performance in both the Clinton and the Bush
administrations before September 11th suggests
several deep flaws and problems. As a result of
these, the intelligence community's successful
strategic warning of the al Qaeda threat was not
met with the proper response.
One policy problem was very carefully and
well discussed by my colleague here at the table,
Mr. Sofaer. I will simply add my endorsement to
his remarks that the use of force was not properly
considered as an option before September 11th.
A second problem was that U.S. policy left
the issue of terrorist sanctuary unresolved. In
Afghanistan, al Qaeda was essentially allowed to build
to an army of like-minded radicals outside the
reach of the United States. But even more
troubling, al Qaeda enjoyed a permissive
environment in the West, including in the United
States. It was allowed to recruit, raise money,
train and plot with relatively little interference
throughout much of the world.
A third policy flaw was the limited
defensive measures against terrorism in the United
States. Almost 20 years ago, the Inman Commission
investigated the bombings of the U.S. and Marine
barracks in Lebanon. And they concluded, "If
determined well-trained and funded teams are
seeking to do damage, they will eventually
Over 10 years later, the Cole Commission,
investigating the 1998 embassy bombings, came to
pretty much the same conclusion, "We cannot count
on having intelligence to warn us of such
But despite the finding that intelligence is
likely to be lacking, when facing a skilled
adversary and the intelligence community's
strategic warning of the al Qaeda threat, very few
defensive measures were initiated in the United
States before September 11th.
Now the problems I have briefly described
are problems in a pre-9/11 world. And much has
changed since September 11th. Since the attack,
funding for intelligence and counterterrorism in
particular has increased dramatically. Both
policymakers and the intelligence community are
intensely focused on terrorism and there have been
numerous bureaucratic changes to fight terrorism,
particularly in the FBI.
In its work, I hope the Commission not
only evaluates what went wrong on September 11th
but also the quality of changes that we have taken
since then as a nation to prevent the recurrence of
Mr. Chairman, the work that you and your
fellow commissioners are doing is essential if we
are to ensure the security of Americans and triumph
over the threat of terrorism. And I am confident
that the Commission's work will enable our country
to better meet future challenges and prevent a
recurrence of the nightmare of September 11th.
But I must conclude on a pessimistic note.
Al Qaeda is simply too skilled an adversary to
expect uninterrupted success. The United States
and every nation should recognize that any
improvements that occur will reduce the frequency
of attacks, will reduce the lethality of attacks,
but will not end them completely. Thank you very
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much. Our
next speaker we have is Mr. Brian Jenkins, from the
MR. JENKINS: Thank you very much, Mr.
Chairman. The written remarks that I submitted to
the Commission, which I believe are in your
briefing books, address the nature of the current
terrorist threat, the goals of our counterterrorist
strategy and the role of intelligence in dealing
Subsequently, I was asked by members of
your staff if, in my comments this afternoon, I
could specifically address the topics of al Qaeda's
mindset, their purpose in attacking the World Trade
Center, and how this attack has profoundly affected
The members of this panel were chatting
just before we convened here about the necessity to
change our vocabulary when it came to the
description of al Qaeda. This is not some
organization which we simply can depict in a chart
on the wall and draw Xs through its key figures.
Al Qaeda is more than an organization, it
is a global network of relationships. It is one
among a galaxy of like-minded terrorist
enterprises. It is a system, a process for
transforming the discontents of Islam into a
violent expression of jihad.
Al Qaeda also reflects a mindset, a
mindset that really transcends the specific members
that we may label as members of al Qaeda. Its
members believe, as others, that Islam is on the
Indeed, they believe that Islam's very
existence is threatened, not simply by the presence
of our troops in Saudi Arabia or our support for
Israel, but by the secular nature of our society,
by our vast commercial and cultural power, by the
destructive effects they see in globalization, by
their own marginalization in the world, in their
own societies, in the countries to which they and
their parents have migrated.
They really operate and are instructed in
a very harrowing, apocalyptic vision of death and
destruction, one that is informed by an conflated
history of centuries, from the Crusades, to the
sacking of Baghdad by the Mongol armies, to the
latest headlines on CNN. To respond to this, to
battle their way to what they regard as the age of
the tyrants and to achieve this utopian restoration
of the Caliphate, God commands that they mount an
aggressive attack and places no limits on its
violence. Only violence, cataclasmic violence, can
change that reality, defend Islam, and drive them
into this new age.
Therefore, it is absolutely consistent
that al Qaeda, as we see from the intelligence
reports, is determined to acquire and use weapons
of mass destruction, is determined to carry out
events on the scale of a 9/11. Fortunately, for
the time being, its capabilities in the area of
chemical or biological weapons trail its
ambitions, but it's certainly something that we
have to take as a presumption going forward.
Now what did these people hope to
accomplish by attacking the World Trade Center? As
a consequence of its sheer size, its soaring
height, its prominence on the New York skyline, the
World Trade Center was an obvious terrorist target
almost from the moment its construction was
completed. Both terrorists and terrorism's
analysts saw this.
The size also meant mass casualties. To
terrorists who in the 1990s seemed increasingly
intent upon large-scale violence, toppling the
towers could bring fatalities in the tens of
thousands, which we now know was the terrorists'
Symbolically, the World Trade Center
represented America's economic might, our ambition
to extend our brand of free commerce throughout the
world, the physical expression of globalization,
even before the term was coined. Bringing down the
World Trade Center, in their mind, would challenge
American authority and would demonstrate the power
of the attackers.
Of course having been attacked
unsuccessfully in 1993, that only increased the
possibility that it would be attacked again. We
recognized this immediately after the '93 bombing.
In contemplating all possible forms of attack, we
even included among the theoretical scenarios a
plane crashing into the building.
Now there wasn't a hell of a lot we could
do about that with protective measures other than
to recommend that there be the opportunity for
swift evacuation of the towers, and fortunately, a
lot of people did get out on September 11th.
Officials in charge of the property also
recognized that another major terrorist attack,
even if unsuccessful, would ruin its commercial
future. And I want to return to this point in
light of current concerns about the ruinous
economic consequences of another 9/11-scale attack
in the United States.
Al Qaeda's leadership also, in attacking
the World Trade Center, hoped by such an attack to
provoke an American retaliation. A feeble American
response like that described by my colleague here,
like that in 1998, would only confirm, in their
eyes, our impotence. On the other hand, an
indiscriminate massive response could be portrayed
by them as an assault on Islam and might provoke a
huge backlash that would also advantage al Qaeda.
Now destruction of the World Trade Center
obviated concerns about the commercial viability of
the property itself, but the 9/11 attack did have
cascading effects, devastating cascading effects,
on the American economy.
Abe correctly points out, calculating the
costs of 9/11 is tricky business, but in addition
to the lives lost, the damage to property, the
insured business-interruption losses amount to
perhaps $50 billion, total losses in revenue into
the hundreds of billions, increased security costs
at the federal level, tens of billions.
State and local governments are being
crushed by the incremental security costs.
Corporate security costs have increased by an
average of 40 to 50 percent, insurance premiums up
by 30 percent. Borders and ports slowed down just-
in-time deliveries, inventories increased at a cost. We have
spent the last three decades exploiting new
technology and new management techniques to remove
friction from the economy. We have spent the last
18-and-a-half months putting friction back in.
Now all of this imposes a cost, making
terrorism an effective mode of economic warfare.
Now I doubt that the terrorists were aware of this
on September 11th, but they cannot help but to
have observed these effects in the 18-and-a-half
months since. And that poses a challenge to us.
We cannot rely in our strategy of homeland
security on a gates-and-guards approach. We must
design security that is effective and efficient.
We must build critical infrastructure that is
strong and resilient, able to suffer damage and
continue to function. Above all, we must abandon
unrealistic expectations of total security and
instead adopt a more realistic acceptance of risk.
We must not allow terrorist attacks or fears of
terrorist attack to shut us down.
Now building a more effective defense is
going to require intelligence. And let me just
make a final comment on intelligence. There has
been a great deal of debate in the federal
government about how we should reorganize to
improve our intelligence collection and analysis
here in the United States. We've talked about
restructuring the FBI, we've talked about creating
a domestic intelligence-collection service,
patterned after the British MI-5.
In my own view, we can do a lot more by
taking advantage of local-level intelligence
collection, and I think that might even be better
than creating another federal entity.
There's great potential at the local
level. Local police departments know their
territory, they are recruited locally, they often
have a composition that better reflects the local
ethnic mix, they have often more native fluency,
foreign-language capabilities. Unlike federal
officers, they don't rotate from city to city every
three or four years.
To take as an example, you heard from the
New York Police Department this morning. The NYPD
is one of the most effective departments in the
country. They have devoted a thousand of their
officers to intelligence collection, about
two-and-a-half percent of their total strength. If
police departments across the country were to
dedicate a similar portion of their strength to
intelligence collection, we would have a national
intelligence capability of 15,000 to 18,000
Now in order to make it work on a national
basis, they would need better training, they would
need a common curriculum, they would need some
better technology, and, above all, they would have
to be linked so that the results of their
investigations could be shared across
They're ready to go. We don't have to
wait several years to create another entity in
Washington. We don't even have to build a new
building. So I think that in looking at
intelligence solutions, we might want to look to
our local capabilities before we look to another
Washington solution. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Dr. Ranstorp is from the
University of St. Andrews.
DR. RANSTORP: Thank you much, honored
members of this panel, this Commission, members of
the Senate, members of Congress, ladies and
gentlemen and honored guests. I am honored to be
I am not going to go into the
introspective of what happened on 9/11, but
hopefully, I can contribute to some future
prescription, looking at it from the outside,
looking at U.S. terrorism policy in a global
I applaud the introspective and noble
purpose of this Commission. We must understand our
historic shortcomings to better order our future
steps in security. To no one is this quest more
important or heartfelt than the families and
friends of those fallen on September the 11th, some
of whom are assembled here today.
Now while nothing will compensate them for
their loss, the search for some semblance of
justice lies not only in assessing the intelligence
and policy failures. And let me say that it's not
just in the context of the United States, but also
there were not only intelligence failures but also
intelligence failures in terms of policy failures
that contributed even on the outside of the United
States and that contributed to this over the past.
But we also must look towards the future
to ensure that September the 11th will never
again be repeated. Let me emphasize something
that has been echoed here before. There is no plan
that is absolutely watertight. There is no one
overarching solution that will defeat terrorism.
We can say with certainty that what Osama bin Laden
and al Qaeda set in motion on September the 11th is
likely to reoccur in different places under
different circumstances in the future.
Much of our future success lies in knowing
our adversary. Let me echo what Brian Jenkins
said, in our conception of al Qaeda -- and that's
something I spent a lot of time on in my written
contribution to this Commission -- how it adapts,
and in prescribing countermeasures which would
stand the rigors of an ever-changing global
Now we have deconstructed in myriad ways
our intelligence failures and have offered some
potential solutions in addressing these and in
breaking down the bureaucratic barriers. Today,
unlike before September the 11th, there is an
unprecedented U.S.-led coalition, including -- and
me emphasize this -- including over 90 countries
overtly and covertly that have degraded the
capabilities of al Qaeda.
For instance, a number of those
responsible for the planning of September the 11th
attacks and other terrorist operations are in U.S.
custody, including the mastermind of al Qaeda's
planning, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
Now the response of the United States to
al Qaeda has been focused and highly successful,
both visibly and otherwise. And I laude President
Bush's 4D approach to fighting terror, to defeat,
to deny, to diminish and to defend, and I believe
this strategy strikes the requisite balance of
offence and defense. And let me stress the
necessity of offence to counter terrorism with a
Further, the recent establishment of the
Terrorist Threat Integration Center is a powerful
testament to the progressive strategy of the
administration and sends a commanding signal to
terrorists and their supporters that the United
States will continue to bring to bear the full
measure of its intelligence capabilities to thwart
Now my expertise as a foreign scholar of
Islam, militant Islamic movements and terrorism
lies not in assessing or critiquing the structures
or responses of the U.S. intelligence community,
the counterterrorism bodies, or other institutional
bureaucracies, or in pinpointing the precise
shortcomings that led to September the 11th, 2001.
There are those better equipped to address the
What I can do is possibly think about this
in more of a global perspective in highlighting not
only challenges but also possibly a roadmap toward
the future, in order to preempt, to prevent another
attack upon the interests of the United States, at
home or abroad.
Now it is essential that the United States
in this global war on terrorism continues to craft
and to evolve comprehensive new strategies and
tactics that balance a changing adversary with a
rapidly changing global environment. It is
absolutely necessary not just to take a defensive
approach but also think globally. And the United
States is doing that at this moment.
Counterterrorism policy has never been,
will never be in the future, divorced from other
strands of foreign policy, regional initiatives, or
fail to take into account, for example, the nuances
and the significance of the Israeli-Palestinian
Yet, as Vice Admiral Thomas R. Wilson
indicated, even the resolution of this
Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not bring an end
to the systemic problems inherent to the global
landscape that foment terrorism and enable
organizations such as al Qaeda to thrive and to
Countering al Qaeda depends upon
understanding its true character, as well as the
environment in which violent jihadism operates.
Only then can prescriptive solutions be applied and
the flow of capabilities and the threat-based
intelligence be translated into building effective
countermeasures within a strategic framework.
Now Brian Jenkins offered, I would say, a
way in which one should look at al Qaeda, not as a
static phenomenon. It is not a static
organization. It exists on a number of different
levels. We have to think about what comes after al
Qaeda, post-al Qaeda, and the systemic environment
is very difficult in producing, potentially, future
generations that will follow the message of bin
Laden and al Qaeda.
Let me go deep down into some of the
prescriptions and highlighting some of these
prescriptions I think are important. The first
one, not only understanding the threat, we have to
continuously reevaluate the threat itself in
adjusting our response not only internally but also
Another issue we need to counter with
great urgency is the issue of identity theft. Not
only is this a problem within the United States but
also has been the basic building blocks for al
Qaeda to function without philanthropic donations,
without official donations on a large scale. And
we need to work harder on this issue because if
there is one common theme that we see, it's the
issue of identity theft. And we saw some of those
9/11 hijackers utilizing that in order to not only
gain entry into the United States but also to
garner requisite resources.
The second issue I want to highlight is
countering terrorism finance. Now more resources
need to be expended in a more coordinated fashion
on the financial front in the war against
Now beyond the existing goal and efforts
to deny terrorist groups access to the
international system, to impair their ability to
fundraise in different theaters of operations and
also, of course, to expose and incapacitate the
financial networks used by terrorists, more focused
global coordination is needed.
We need better trained, we need
multilingual financial analysts, and accountants
are crucial. Closer knit multi-agency
coordination is vital to monitor the changing means
and contours of terrorist finance and how it flows
as they provide vital -- and I would take this sort
of as a measure from the European perspective, if
one can't follow the contours of the organization,
a good way is to follow how the finance flows in,
understand how it's structuring, how it's changing,
how it's adapting to the security measures.
However, it is a simple and true reality that
terrorist finances flow far quicker in the
international financial system than any one
law-enforcement agency can react to.
Operationally, linking funds in one
country with a terrorist crime in another is
extremely difficult to prove in a court of law, let
alone tracking the money in today's international
financial system. We have to focus and we have to
look at the nexus not only between terrorism but
also between organized crime.
There are numerous black holes that we
need to address, numerous areas of sustained areas
of lawlessness that fuel and that feed the ability
of terrorism to garner resources and operational
capacity. And I can think of not only areas
continuing in the Middle East, even in Eastern
Europe, the former Soviet Union, but also in
America's own back yard in Latin America.
Apart from that, we also need to
understand how al Qaeda works, not only as an
organization but also in assessing their
terrorist-attack mode, understanding the
psychological makeup of the terrorist and
decision-making procedures and how do they
identify, how do they gather intelligence of
potential targets, how do they select peculiar
And that is urgently needed. We need to
centrally collate lessons learnt from intelligence
gathering, from interrogations, from military
manuals and from identifying weaknesses in our own
Now instituting protection of our nuclear
power stations, providing protection and security
of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear
weapons against attack and theft, while also of
course overall improving our response and
resilience towards the use of these weapons, is
Insufficient degrees of physical
protection, security of chemical and biological
facilities in the former Soviet Union and
elsewhere, coupled with the availability of
freelance scientific expertise, increases the
spectre of catastrophic terrorism.
Now even if al Qaeda may be far away, or
may be close to the using or succeeding in using
what I call a CBRN attack, it is very clear that
the media also will play a critical role in
allaying the broader psychological effects for the
public, with or without major fatalities.
It is still questionable whether there are
sufficient contingency plans in coordinating public
information between the public contingency offices
in any country and major media outlets, yet the
framework for this type of coordination will be
absolutely critical in mitigating the effects of
such an attack, both in terms of dissemination of
public advice but also in ensuring infrastructure
and societal economic continuity.
Let me finish off by saying that the new
terrorism represented by September the 11th
presents special and new urgent challenges to the
West and international community, especially not
only to the United States, but to Europe. In
Europe right now there is a feeling that there's a
question of not if but rather when terrorism
globalization and weapons of mass destruction may
be fused into one, an attack will be imminent.
The fundamental first step but also
critical step is building on lessons learnt, on
cross-border cooperation, in looking at U.S.
counterterrorism in a global arena. And we have to
understand the changing nature of the threat
itself. The United States has made significant
inroads in readdressing weaknesses inside the
United States but also outside, not only overtly
but also covertly, in building a tremendous
multilateral intelligence cooperation with many
But the simple lesson is that the United
States, if it wants to protect itself for the long
term, cannot do this alone. It needs allies. It
needs multilateral cooperation. This is not a war
on terrorism, it's a ceaseless struggle that goes
beyond any administration that will and should
remain at the heart of protecting the homeland
nationally and its interests abroad.
More than ever it is critically necessary
to prevent, coming back to what my fellow panel
members had mentioned before, not only to prevent
but also to preempt, beyond U.S. borders,
terrorist cells, otherwise, September the 11th may
repeat itself with potentially higher levels of
Now as a testimony of the great strength
of New York City and the American people to
overcome but never to forget, we owe it to the
victims, their families and the country to be ever
vigilant in the face of evil, not only from the
U.S. perspective but also with those allies that
responded to the tragic events of September the
11th. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much, Dr.
Ranstorp. Are there any questions from the
Commission? Senator Lehman?
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: I would like to ask
Professor Sofaer, the first part of your testimony
I found very compelling with regard to the vision
that stretched over a number of administrations
where prosecution and bringing the terrorists to
justice, and I believe Reagan used that term
numerous times as well, superseded and dominated
the sharing of information at the expense of that
prosecution, as I think you pointed out or in some
of the previous testimony, the Joint Investigation,
the CIA, sometimes DIA, sometimes learned important
intelligence only by reading the trial transcripts
of some of the 93 perpetrators.
As a former prosecutor and distinguished
legal advisor, could you get a little more specific
of how could we establish a procedure or a process
within the government to bring that a little more
back into balance so if it was necessary to perhaps
sacrifice a conviction in order to prevent a
disaster that that balance can be made on a
DR. SOFAER: With pleasure. I think what
the present government and the present Department
of Homeland Security has been trying to do,
Congress is trying to do right now, is overcome
those barriers. Once you adopt the criminal-law
model as your primary model, of course it has to be
part of any effort to prosecute criminals, but once
you adopt it as your primary model, a number of
very complicated things happen. Evidence that a
national-security strategist might think is very
important is treated as unimportant by someone who
wants to make a case. He's always thinking about
whether the evidence is admissible in a courtroom.
I mean, there are so many points like this
that support what you have just said, Secretary
Lehman. In general, what you have to do is
subordinate the interests in criminal prosecution
to the interests in protecting the country. And I
would think that that's a no-brainer.
We subordinate the interests of criminal
prosecution to Congressional investigations because
our public needs to know things and our legislators
need to know things. I would think that it would
follow from that premise that we would subordinate
the interests of criminal prosecution to the
interests of protecting the country.
And that needs to be done institutionally.
You need to have a body of some kind in Washington,
a counterterrorism center of some sort, that's
capable of doing that. And I must say, I don't
think that the combination of the CIA and the FBI
is that body. Frankly, it's the first evidence
I've ever seen of them cooperating effectively, and
that is in precluding the development of an
independent intelligence operation that would in
fact lead to the protection of the American people.
I have the highest regard for both
agencies, but to think that that is going to solve
the problem is a terrible mistake. And I think the
President was sold a bill of goods. I hope he
changes his mind and reconsiders and helps to give the Department of
this authority to create a real counter-balance to
the interests of two agencies that have utterly
failed to cooperate and will continue to fail to
cooperate because they have radically different
agendas, and the underlying issues, as you pointed
out, aren't changing.
So you need to have, as you said, a
different institutional structure that puts in
place this notion of the nation's security as
preeminent. I do want to say that I think Attorney
General Ashcroft has made the protection of America
his chief priority but that still the agencies
under him are still geared to achieving
predominantly other things.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: And it's not just
the federal. I think we would very much appreciate
on the Commission your giving further thought, in
your career combining policy with the
prosecutorial, to perhaps give us some
recommendations down the road for specific ways to
This is not just a federal problem. If a
New York cop who speaks Farsi picks up a piece of
intelligence and is involved in a case, the
district attorney can put it under seal and it's
gone into the mole hole until that case is
And saying we're going to put national
security ahead of prosecutions. It's all fine, it's
motherhood, but if we don't have specific
procedures and changes to recommend, then it's just
so much hot air.
DR. SOFAER: Can I get a little help from
the Rand Institution? I mean, I'd like an office
there and a little bit of an opportunity to consult
with some of the experts. That's a wonderful
subject and I'm very serious in suggesting that it
will take some, several talented people to put
together a detailed plan of the kind you're talking
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: That leads right
into another theme that all three of you have
touched on, and that is the sharing of
intelligence. And all through the post-9/11
period, some people have pointed to MI-5 as a
better way of dealing with this contradiction
between law enforcement and intelligence.
I would be interested if each of you could
tell the Commission, either now or later, after
further reflection, what other examples, in your
experience, in Europe and elsewhere in the world,
where they're getting it right and we're getting it
wrong in the handling of counterterrorism, not just
intelligence, but across the board.
DR. RANSTORP: Could I comment on this?
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Yes.
DR. RANSTORP: I think there's a great
sort of reflection of what went wrong in 9/11 from
the U.S. perspective, but let's make one thing very
clear. This was not just a U.S. problem, this was
a problem that we had in Germany. I mean, the
German intelligence had these cells under
investigation, dating back to 1998.
However, the legislation was not up to
speed in what kind of adversary we were facing.
The same with Britain. I mean, the only country
that I can think of that has had it right is a
country, France, which have had very much
less-restricted laws in terms of dealing with the
problem of Islamic radicalism, but that is of
course at the expense of civil liberties.
So when we look at this issue, we cannot
just look at it from the U.S. perspective, we have
to look at it from a global perspective,
particularly with our European allies who
constituted part of this coalition, but also
It's no accident, first of all, that 15 of
the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, given al
Qaeda and bin Laden's desire to create the
response, vis-a-vis United States and Saudi, nor is
it an accident that they stationed themselves in
Germany having analyzed, having probed, having
known exactly where the weakness is.
We know that from the interrogations. We
know that from having the benefit of the doubt of
the interrogations, the evidence that we had in the
past that we're dealing with an exceptionally savvy
adversary who would know and understand our
And therefore, I would be hesitant to sort
of try to import a model like MI-5 into the United
States. Rather, we have to rely, and we're doing
that now, we're getting things right in terms of
counterterrorism cooperation not only between the
United States and European allies, but more
importantly, with friendly Arab allies who have
provided invaluable information and assistance in
not only understanding al Qaeda but also what may
come after al Qaeda.
And therefore, I think that my
recommendation, as a foreigner to this country, and
having looked at this problem for a long time, is
that we have to not only look at this problem from
a U.S. perspective in trying to get the modalities
right in terms of the structure, but also looking
at how can we overcome the intelligence-sharing
issues that, despite September the 11th, still
plagues some of the cooperation, even among our
most valued allies, in other words, the
prioritization of intelligence.
MR. JENKINS: Mr. Secretary, I'd like to
take you up on your offer to have an opportunity to
reflect on that more, but let me just make a couple
of comments which are perhaps sobering comments.
First of all, if you ask people, you know,
should we have something like an MI-5, a lot of
people will say, yes, and then you ask what is it,
and they haven't the vaguest idea. So there's some
mystique about this notion. The fact is, most of
the Western European nations, many of the nations
around the world, do have more than one
intelligence service. They do divide their
The British have MI-5 and MI-6. The
Germans have their intelligence service, the Bundes
Criminal Amt, the Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz,
to deal with different aspects of intelligence.
The French divide it. The Italians divide it.
That is a common feature for very, very good, good
The problem of intelligence, of sharing
among intelligence agencies, is chronic. Creating
another entity may be a solution, but it doesn't
automatically mean that intelligence will be
shared. Instead of having two rival agencies, we
can create three and four rival agencies. Simply
sharing information, to most intelligence services, is
an unnatural act.
The third point I'd like to make is that I
am willing to concede that we can learn a great
deal from the intelligence services of the European
countries, many of whom have dealt with terrorist
threats on their turf longer than we have dealt
with it here. At the same time, we have to keep in
mind again the realities.
It took the British 15, 20 years to
effectively penetrate the IRA. There were still
surprises. Large bombs went off in the heart of
London. That's dealing with an adversary that
speaks roughly the same language, and not something
headquartered in distant Afghanistan. So we want
to be careful about that.
Final point, and it relates to something
that Magnus had said which I think is important.
We do have to figure out how to create capability
at an international level. We have achieved since
September 11th an unprecedented degree of
cooperation among intelligence services of a number
of countries in going after al Qaeda.
What we have to figure out how to do now
is how to institutionalize that and to create
permanent machinery and procedures that will allow
us to orchestrate -- and I use the word orchestrate
here -- traditional law enforcement, intelligence
collection, responses, whether in the form of
arrest, special operations, or application of
military force, and to do that across the globe in
a very, very effective way, since this is the type
of adversary we're going to be dealing with.
DR. SOFAER: Could I just add one thing,
Mr. Secretary, and that is that I hope you did pay
a little bit of attention to what I said, where we
can drive ourselves nuts trying to come up with
different ways to figure out everything about
everybody that might attack us, when and where
they're going to do it.
The fact of the matter is that we have
excellent strategic intelligence. And Dan Byman is
absolutely right about that. We knew who was going
to attack us, we knew where he was, we knew he
could do it. And we knew he wanted to do it and
was determined to do it. And how much more do you
need to know before you actually do something to
stop an enemy?
I hope that you won't be offended that I
repeat that. I just think that there is a tendency
among us all, we're all civilized people, we all
sort of tend to get drawn into this game of trying
to manipulate things around so somehow we can make
the world safe without raising a hand in violence
or anger, but ultimately -- and that's the right
attitude -- but ultimately, when it's pretty clear
you're not going to talk someone out of wanting to
kill you that you have to do something about him.
And when I hear stuff about the Middle
East and Israel and stuff, I just, obviously I have
always been, I've worked hard on Israel peace
issues. When I was in the department, Chairman
Hamilton, you remember that we worked together on
many things involving Iran and we showed our good
will in many ways to these countries, but can you
imagine that a peace treaty between Israel and the
Palestinians would be anything but anathema to
these people, these people who hate us?
The last thing they want is a peace
treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. They
would be determined to destroy it, to tear it down.
Go read what Islamic jihad says. They're our next
enemy, Islamic jihad. And I'm telling you, they
have told us they want to kill us. They have
already started doing it.
And we have to pay attention to these few
organizations that are around the world who are
determined to attack us for the reasons that these
gentlemen have so brilliantly articulated.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: That leads into
another question, Professor Ranstorp. You're a
well-known expert on Hizbollah, for instance, and
other groups. As Mr. Jenkins has so well
elucidated, this, what we call al Qaeda, is really
a set of or an archipelago of groups, some that
will last a short time, some a long time.
Hizbollah has lasted a very long time.
How would you describe the relationship
today between Hizbollah, Hamas, the group that just
got hit up in northern Iraq, and these other parts
of the archipelago and how much should we focus on
them, as well as the core of al Qaeda?
DR. RANSTORP: Mr. Secretary, a very good
question. It's a very broad question. I think we
have to understand that al Qaeda is one of three
things, first of all, before I address the issue of
First of all, at the higher level, we're
talking about an organization that have command and
control structure. It's very organized. We have
made major dents into the organization. We
The second level, which is probably the
largest level, we have those working in the service
of al Qaeda, those concerted groups who are
operating on a national level, trying to confront
not just the United States but also their own
regimes and trying to effect regime changes.
Thirdly, we have those that are inspired
or are sympathetic to the means and modes of al
Qaeda. In terms of the cooperation between the two
groups, there's very little corporation, there has
In terms of Hizbollah itself, I would
recommend to divorce Hizbollah as a movement and
those individuals who have been part of Hizbollah's
past, who I would more characterize as half Iranian
intelligence agents and half Hizbollah operatives,
who are standing with one foot in Iran and one foot
in Hizbollah, who the United States is pursuing
with extraordinary vigor.
The movement itself knows it may be on the
sort of third phase on the war against terrorism.
It's exceptionally sensitive to that issue. It is
of course bounded up into the U.S.-Iranian dynamic
in terms of its relationship, but it is of course
an organization with global reach.
I mean, it's an organization just like al
Qaeda, if one disturbs the bee hive, they may come
back at us. We have to treat this issue with
extraordinary care. Otherwise, we may be in for
possibly retaliation from the organization.
In terms of other organizations, of course
there are other ones in Lebanon, not just Hizbollah
elements but also we have an organization called
Asbat al-Ansar. And certainly there were connections
between Asbat al-Ansar in Ein-el-Helweh, a refugee
camp, with Ansa al-Islam, and connections also to
the assassination of Lawrence Foley in Jordan. So
there were these loose connections that are more
based on logistical aspects than any common
ideology. So we have to treat this on a
I wouldn't say that there is a
full-fledged cooperation between Hizbollah and al
Qaeda. They have different goals. They may focus
in on the Israeli-Palestinian issue as a mobilizing
tool, but certainly we should treat them as
separate. And Hizbollah certainly knows that they
may be the next face in the U.S. war on terrorism.
And they are very sensitive to that issue.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Do they have any
current plans or operations that you're aware of
targeted in the United States?
DR. RANSTORP: I would say this, that
there are, there have been, according to my
assessment, according to my contacts and support,
that should there be a confrontation between the
United States and Iran, they could cause some
damage inside the U.S. mainland.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: That raises a very
interesting dimension also that Mr. Jenkins had
raised, the fact that this is a kind of a
missionary organization and that it depends on
interrelationships and sponsors and sanctuaries.
What would your judgment be if we were
truly effective in draining the financial swamp, I
mean cutting off principally the Saudi money that
flows through various channels and through the
various foundation networks, if we were successful
in doing what Mr. Push had recommended so
eloquently earlier and really putting the heat on
those sources that like to have it both ways, would
that dry up al Qaeda and other groups, related
MR. JENKINS: Going after finances is
useful, to the extent that it can reduce some of
the resources that are available to these
organizations, that is of benefit. It is also,
quite separate from how much money you can dry up,
it is a source of useful intelligence itself, that
is, it tells us a great deal about connections
between various entities, so it has a separate
In terms of being able, however, to dry it
up enough to halt terrorist activities, that, I
must say, I'm somewhat skeptical of. To be sure,
the cash flow of organizations like al Qaeda was
significant, but a lot of that
money was used to support the Taliban, a lot of it
was used to support the training camps and
infrastructure in Afghanistan itself, which they no
Can we squeeze it down enough to reduce
money to support actual terrorist operations? That
I'm less certain about because that, you know,
we're talking about estimates of the cost of
September 11th on the terrorists' side, we're
probably something in the area of a half a million.
A terrorist operation, major large-scale terrorist
operation, we're talking about something in the
hundreds of thousands.
Given the volume of money sloshing around
the world in legitimate and illegitimate channels,
through formal and informal structures, the notion
that we can squeeze it down into the
hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars level, I'm not so
sure we can do that.
So we can put a dent in these
organizations, we can make the support that they
provide for some of these more radical movements,
proselytization activities, support for some of
these madrassas, we can do that. Can we deny the
money necessary to buy the bombs, to recruit the
people to carry out these attacks? I'm a lot less
certain about that.
DR. SOFAER: I'm not sure we can close the
madrassas down. I mean, do you think about how we
would ever have the ability to close madrassas down
in western Pakistan?
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Money talks.
DR. SOFAER: Money talks, yeah, but I
don't know how this country could go along and
convince the government of Pakistan to do that when
the people of Pakistan want those madrassas.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: But are they not
supported by the Saudis financially?
DR. SOFAER: I'm sure. I'm sure they are.
I'm sure they are.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Is there nothing we
can do there?
DR. SOFAER: Oh, we can do plenty, I just
think there's a limit.
DR. RANSTORP: Mr. Secretary, if I may
add, beyond the philanthropic aspects of this, let
me say that I have looked into every single arrest
in Europe and beyond. The common feature is what I
outlined as the number-one issue, and that was,
every time you catch an al Qaeda suspect or al
Qaeda operative, you will have 15 to 20 different
Through these, he can easily, with or
without Saudi or other financing, be able to garner
the requisite resources, the building blocks of
being able to launch terrorism through credit-card
fraud, bank fraud. And that's an issue what we
need to tackle with great urgency if we're going to
be able to find these individuals, to weed them
out, and to put a stop to this preemptively.
DR. SOFAER: It isn't, Mr. Secretary, if I
may say, it isn't the teaching of Islam that we
should be trying to prevent or inhibit. It's the
teaching of one type of Islam, the Wahhabi type
brand of Islam. So if we can modify our effort and
narrow it and target it to those uses of funds that
threaten us as human beings and appeal to Muslims
in the world and say, ‘stop teaching your children
to kill us,’ that is really what we want you to do.
Teach Islam, go ahead, but that branch of
Islam, if we can narrow it, then we might succeed
because if the Islamic world sees this as an effort
to squeeze the financing of Islamic institutions,
we will never get anywhere.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: One last question.
How close is al Qaeda to having usable weapons of
mass destruction? I'd like to hear it from all of
DR. RANSTORP: Well, I was asked by CNN,
when they found the terrorist tapes, to come and
analyze them, the so-called dog tapes, it was
visual representation of the fact that they were on
their way to using chemical agents.
I think al Qaeda is very close to, and
particularly in two spheres, number one, the ricin
arrests we have had in Europe, we have had them for
about a year and a half, I mean, we have known
about this issue for a year and a half, over a year
and a half, since 9/11.
And it's not a weapon of mass destruction,
it's a weapon of mass disruption. It would have
huge economic consequences, psychological
contingent of fear.
Perhaps more worrying is al Qaeda and al
Qaeda elements in the former Soviet Union are
searching for radiological material. And you have
those two elements. On the one hand, chemical
agents, that there's a program, an active program
to try to acquire them and to also possibly deploy
them. On the other hand, you have a lot of
And in many ways I think the prevailing
view in Europe among security officials that I have
spoken to is that it is not a question of if but
rather when that they are deployed, perhaps not in
the United States, but possibly in Europe.
MR. JENKINS: Depending on how you define
weapons of mass destruction, in fact they have
them, I mean, we know that they have chemical
capabilities and biological capabilities. The
construction of a radiological dispersal device
takes nothing more than some source of
radioactivity, which is readily available in
society, and some explosive or other means of
If we're talking about using those on a
scale that would create mass destruction, mass
casualties, then they're probably far, far from
that, but as Magnus points out, the issue here is
not the body count but rather the effects. We
should perhaps be talking about weapons of mass
That is, if we go back to the incident in
Tokyo and the attack involving nerve gas in Tokyo
subways, 12 people died in that attack, 5,500 were
treated at hospital as a consequence of that. Of
those 5,500, 1,200 were actually exposed to the
chemical. The other 4,700 were illnesses brought
about by anxiety, I mean real heart attacks, real
respiratory problems, asthmatic attacks,
psychosomatic attacks. And that's something that
we would have to expect.
Simply by mentioning the words biological
or nerve gas or radioactivity in the same sentence
with terrorism is going to get us some real effects
here. So the issue is not whether they can carry
out the terrorist equivalent of a Chernobyl or a
Bhopal, but rather simply how they could use these
in order to create a tremendous amount of fear,
alarm, national panic, and economic disruption.
I mean, we remember from our own
experience, which is not al Qaeda connected, but
with the anthrax letters that we experienced in the
fall of September 2001, five people were killed,
but we closed down a portion of a Senate office
building for months while we tried to get things
down to the ‘manageable number of spores,’ I think
was one of the quotes.
If we talk about a major transportation
system or a major commercial property, I'm not
quite sure what the public reaction would be to the
manageable number of spores. It's going to have
tremendous psychological consequences, not just
DR. SOFAER: I would just add one remark,
one comment to what my colleagues have said, Mr.
Secretary, Mr. Chairman, and that is that you
should not consider the potential of al Qaeda or
terrorist groups to use these weapons on their own.
You have to take into account the potential of
cooperation with a state.
We have on the record, in the last year
and a half or so, two statements that I consider
highly significant. One is by former Prime
Minister Rafsanjani where he suggests that a
nuclear device in Tel Aviv would put an end to
Israel, whereas a nuclear device in the Arab world
would simply take some casualties and they'd get
over it and move on.
And another statement and most recently
made by the former Head of Intelligence of
Pakistan, General al Haq, where he said essentially
the same thing, we could use a nuclear device and
put an end to Israel.
Most of this, both these comments were
directed at Israel, but clearly the option is
always there of going to a terrorist group if you
are hostile to the United States or any other
western country, including Israel, and having them
do your dirty work and providing the terrorist with
the ability to do that. Indeed, that is probably
the ultimate fear that we have to confront.
MR. JENKINS: I'm going to take exception
to the comments of my colleague on that point. I
am not absolutely convinced that national
governments, even those we may identify as rogue
states, are so ready to put weapons of mass
destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, things
that have signatures, in the hands of groups they
do not absolutely control. They would bear the
And indeed, I think this is, however, the
point where probably Abe and I would find common
ground on this, that we can affect this by policy.
We can ensure that people well understand that we
will take appropriate action to deal with that,
whether it's action after the fact or whether it's
action before the fact, that will be treated, that
the notion that this can be done with some
successful degree of subterfuge through some
terrorist operative and that that will necessarily
fool us or deter us from going back to the source,
I think in wake of the headlines we're looking at,
as we speak, that becomes a fairly credible
argument. So as I say, we affect that by our
DR. RANSTORP: Mr. Secretary, may I sort
of continue beyond the state using those types of
weapons. What concerns security and policy-makers
in thinking about al Qaeda for the future is
possibly not so much what is happening right now --
because we have a very good handle on that, there's
an unprecedented coordination among 90 countries --
it's the potential for al Qaeda or post-al Qaeda to
become an incubator of specific states, I’m
thinking particularly about the consequences of,
for example, Pakistan.
We've got al Qaeda eventually taking over,
post-Al Qaeda taking over other structures like
Saudi. So al Qaeda is very patient. What
represents al Qaeda is very patient, thinking about
strategy over the long term.
I think we equally have to craft
strategies. They are thinking about these issues
over the long term. It is not going to be easy
decades ahead, but I hope we will be able to
prevent another catastrophe that we had like here
in New York City.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Congressman Roemer?
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Well, in his usual
fashion, Secretary Lehman has thoroughly delved
into a host of the very important topics here. And
let me just merely try to follow up on a couple of
them while we have your very helpful expertise and
counsel and insight before us.
With respect to the body count and the
number of people that terrorists are willing to
take, kill, especially as we reflect back on
September 11th, let me read a quote:
"Terrorists want a lot of people watching
and a lot of people listening and not a lot of
I read that not to embarrass anybody, not
to, you know, try to throw that around at all.
It's a quote from 1975. It's a quote from one of
the panelists. And it is very, very perceptive in
showing how much terrorists have changed. And Mr.
Jenkins and I talked a little about that before the
hearing. It has been a monumental change in what
terrorists can do with what they have access to do
and what they are willing to do.
Mr. Jenkins, you said that back in 1975.
It was very accurate back then. Why do you think
it has changed to such a degree today?
MR. JENKINS: Well, I am the culprit. And
I believed it then. And in fact I think for many
of the groups, even groups that we would label
terrorists today, that that still applies. That is
so long as an enterprise thinks in terms of a
political ideology or a political agenda, that's
what we were talking about in the 1970s when I
wrote that, so long as there's a sense of political
agenda, then there's a sense of political
And that imposes constraints that we
recognized in the 1970s that terrorists, using
primitive weapons that we knew they had, weapons of
explosives, weapons of fire, could kill a lot more
people than they did. And yet they didn't do so,
not because of some technological ceiling, it had
to be because of some self-imposed constraint. And
over a period of time, through interrogation of
terrorists and interviews in prisons, through trial
testimony, we learned what those constraints were.
They worried about group cohesion, not all
of whose members might have the same stomach for
violence. They worried about their perceived
constituents. They always imagine themselves to
have legions of supporters. They wanted to provoke
public alarm but not to provoke so much backlash
that would change the rules and threaten their own
And therefore, terrorists have a notion of
some kind of a red line, some type of a line beyond
which the violence would be counter-productive.
Now those constraints were not universal and they
were not immutable. And over a period of time,
they changed. And they changed in part because, as
terrorism became commonplace, there was a built-in
requirement to escalate.
Hijacking airliners may get you a headline
in 1971. When you're up to the 150th hijacking,
you're page 5 news. So they had to escalate. But
I think the real change, the qualitative change
that came about, that was referred to as a
so-called new terrorism in the late '80s and 1990s
was the decline of ideology as a driving force for
political violence, and increasingly, either ethnic
hatreds or religious fanaticism.
Now if one believes that instructions to
act, instructions to kill, are handed down from
God, however that God may communicate with an
individual, then you really don't worry about the
constraints of conventional morality, you don't
worry about constituents on this planet. They are
infidels or pagans or nonbelievers who will burn in
And it is that, the fundamental change in
the quality of terrorist violence, so that by the
1990s, large-scale indiscriminate violence was
becoming increasingly the reality of contemporary
Now projecting that is scary because what
it means, if the willingness is there because of
technological advance, that power, power I mean
crudely, simply is the capacity to kill, to
destroy, to disrupt, to alarm, to oblige us to
divert vast resources to security, that that is
descending into the hand of smaller and smaller
groups whose grievances, real or imaginary, it's
not always going to be possible to satisfy.
Putting that another way, the bands of
fanatics, irreconcilables, lunatics that have
existed throughout history, are becoming in our age
an increasingly potent force to be reckoned with.
And how we, as a society, as a democratic society,
are going to successfully cope with that and remain
a democratic society to me is one of the major
challenges of this century.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: So your argument is,
quite simply, constraints are coming off, the
technology is going up, and we can't afford even a
single mistake, given that these terrorist groups
could get access to the kind of weaponry that their
ambition already has them seeking to get.
MR. JENKINS: Exactly.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: You talked a little
bit, you talked a little bit in your testimony
about how we got it so wrong throughout the 1990s
in calculating the enemy. Al Qaeda's vision, al
Qaeda's organizational capabilities, al Qaeda's
money and fundraising.
The Clinton administration didn't get it
right, they got it wrong in a lot of ways. The
Bush administration didn't get it right, they got
it wrong in a lot of ways. The Europeans, the same
I can't help but recall the words from one
of the counterterrorism chiefs in the Joint Inquiry
hearings of the FBI who said he was 98 percent
certain in 2000 that the attack would come from
overseas and be overseas and it wouldn't be in the
United States. We not only got it wrong, there was
no hand-off to get it right domestically. And if
you might comment on how we do get it right in the
Mr. Jenkins, you talked a little bit about
an intriguing proposal, with 15,000 to 18,000 local
sheriffs and police officers that could help us get
it right at the local level.
Could you flush that out a bit more and
talk a little bit more in detail about that, and
would that replace what the Bush administration has
proposed a T-TIC center [Terrorist Threat Investigation Center] here, or
them; how would that work together as a fusion
center in getting information out to the local
MR. JENKINS: That is simply one among
many proposals. It's a rough-and-ready response.
We're talking about needing a lot more collection
capability on the streets. And that is one
approach to getting it. I'd say it probably gets
us there faster than the creation of a new federal
agency and the deployment of additional federal
agencies, but by itself, it's not going to work.
Here we have to really address a broad
variety of proposals, some of which have been
discussed in this panel. Part of the problem, as
has been mentioned, in terms of the FBI's
unwillingness to share information relating to
investigations that might ultimately result in
prosecution, that itself reflects a trajectory in
our domestic-intelligence capabilities over the
In the 1960s, much more of the FBI's
counter-intelligence efforts in what we would call
terrorist-related crimes was aimed at prevention,
but because of abuses that were recognized in the
1970s, we imposed new rules, new constraints, that
basically said at the federal level, and these were
repeated at the state and local level, we don't
want intelligence in the prevention business
anymore. We want you in the prosecution business,
that the prevention business is just too intrusive
in a free society. So we imposed new guidelines in
the bureau, at the state level. These were
repeated by police commissions throughout the
By the beginning of the '80s, it was
recognized that perhaps some of these constraints
were having a serious impact on
intelligence-collection capabilities, and so they
were relaxed somewhat, began to swing a little bit
the other way, but really there was at the same
time, there was a perceived decline in the
terrorist threat domestically in this country. And
so in fact, because they were difficult to manage,
because they were politically risky, because they
were in some cases costly to operate, we continued
to dismantle domestic-intelligence capabilities.
That reversed somewhat in the 1990s as we
began to perceive a more serious threat again, but
we really didn't rebuild the capabilities. And it
wasn't until September 11th that we recognized we
had a failure of intelligence in terms of looking
at this. When I say, "failure," I want to put that
in quotes. I am not one who believes that if we
had had just a little better intelligence
collection, we could have connected the dots, as
the phrase goes. This is very, very tough.
When you read the last page of a mystery
novel first and then read the novel, all of the
clues are obvious. Going forward, it's a lot more
complicated than that. But we probably can do it
better. Now that we have pushed back into the
prevention business, then that should allow us to
more easily share some of this information across
lines without some of the constraints imposed by
prosecution, which was the real constraint. So
sharing has to be made better.
The analysis does have to get there and
does have to get better. We also have to keep in
mind that we can't judge intelligence solely on the
basis of identifying and preventing an attack. Of
course we're going to do that, but intelligence is
also aimed at disrupting your opponent's capability
We don't know how many attacks we may have
thwarted since September 11th. It's a good many.
And we can identify some clearly, but there may be
many more that were aborted because of increased
security or because of good intelligence that we
will find out about years from now when we catch
more of these people and interrogate them.
Better sharing, better analysis, better
mechanisms across national frontiers, to work more
closely with our allies, take advantage of this
unprecedented cooperation I mentioned before.
When we can get a good flow of information
from the streets of our cities across to, whether
it is an investigating magistrate in France or an
intelligence operative in the Middle East, and
begin to assemble that kind of information and
analyze it and repackage it and send it back out to
users, whether it's a policeman on the beat or a
judge in Italy or a Special Forces Team in
Afghanistan, then we will be getting close to the
kind of capability we need to deal with this kind
of problem. That's going to take a couple, a few
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: More than a few
years, I would suspect. Several years. Professor,
you talked a little bit about the problems of
communication and information sharing between the
CIA and the FBI. The Joint Inquiry's findings
agree very much with those systemic and endemic and
How do you fix it? Do you create more
agencies to do it and more stove-piping? How do we
get either those agencies to talk to one another
and share information or do you create this new
Terrorist Threat Integration Center? Where do you
put it, Homeland Security or outside of it? How do
they communicate with the local people? Give me
some tangible suggestions here.
DR. SOFAER: You're really in good shape.
Your Executive Director happens to be the former
Executive Director of the Markle Commission, a
Commission Task Force Report on this very subject.
And he was the principal author, Philip Zelikow was
the principal author of that report.
And that report does a lot to move policy
in the right direction on those issues. They're
very complicated. And the Markle Commission is
continuing its work and trying to develop a sort of
a distributed intelligence framework where you have
less top-down evaluation, the kind of thing that
Brian had suggested earlier with the New York City
police force and the other local police forces, but
on an intelligence, computer-based intelligence
I think it's very, very complicated and
important that it be done, but I think that's the
way it's got to be done, through experts. We've
got people in the room, I'm privileged to be on
that task force, who I don't even understand when
they start talking about distributed networks and
all these other things.
And they clearly have a handle on how to
use information and also how to control your
seeking of information so that you maintain civil
liberties. They have a handle on those issues that
is really highly sophisticated at this stage in the
private sector. And that's where we really have to
turn to them and ask them to guide us in these
very, very complicated issues.
But don't forget, Congressman, that when
you know who your enemy is and he's killed you a
few times, you can sort of skip the dots on a
particular incident and go take him out before he
comes back and kills our people again. Don't
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: There has to be an
offensive and a defensive strategy.
DR. SOFAER: Absolutely. That's right. I
think that it is very hard to keep, it's so hard to
keep the attention of commissions and government
officials away from this process of examination,
this going deeper and deeper into intelligence,
trying to figure out things.
There is a certain point at which that you
have figured it out, you know what the issue is and
who the enemy is. And when you get to that point,
when you can indict someone twice, he had been
indicted twice before 9/11, when you can do that,
my God, you've waited around too long. You already
solved the problem, you know who your enemy was.
You know he is going to come kill you.
I think this is an important point not
just for this case but for other cases. There
aren't that many big terrorist groups in the world.
There are some. And you have got here, with Brian
and Magnus, we've got here really two of the great
experts on this. Magnus has written the work on
Hizbollah. I mean, no one knows more about
Hizbollah in the world, I don't think, than Magnus.
And the fact of the matter is, there's
Hizbollah, there's Islamic jihad, you know, you can
make a list. It's not that long a list. And part
of what you should do to keep America safe is focus
on those people who say they hate us and they want
to kill us, because those are the guys who are
going to do it, Mr. Secretary.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Magnus, let me draw
you in here and ask for your international insight
You mentioned earlier about al Qaeda and
other terrorist organizations, but specifically, I
believe your words were that al Qaeda is dispersed
from Afghanistan, but they're still an organization
that has tentacles in a host of different places
and are very much able to attack us from where
they're going, whether that be in Indonesia or
Malaysia or other parts of the world.
Can you draw this out a little bit more
clearly for us in terms of how we expect they have
dispersed, where they are, and how this 90-country
international coalition continues to focus on this
international law on terrorism and what are the two
or three most effective ways to do that?
DR. RANSTORP: Well, let me say that from
the American people's point of view, they can rest
assured, from the international perspective of what
I see, Europe, Europe's contribution, we have 500
people in custody in Europe in many, many different
countries, we have thwarted many plots, and that
is that we are getting things right.
Fortunately, unfortunately, 9/11 was the
wake-up call for that. It was a tremendous secret
war of intelligence hunters out there trying to
learn as much as possible about al Qaeda, about how
al Qaeda is changing from different regions.
And of course, it is very difficult. It
is not affected by the war against Iraq, rather,
those are institutional linkages that are already,
it's not affected in terms of the sharing and
cooperation between a number of countries.
There have been some countries that have
been tremendously helpful. Among them, of course,
Pakistan, but also Jordan, particularly Jordan's
role in contributing, and not only protecting
itself and its royal family, but also in
illuminating our understanding of how the al Qaeda
network works, alongside the Egyptians and other,
shall we say, coalition partners. So we are
getting things right, but there are also of course
tremendous challenges because they do exist.
Al Qaeda's network has a presence in over
98 different countries around the world. It has a
global reach. One of the areas we have not tackled
very much is in America's own back yard, Latin
America. We know that there has been some al Qaeda
Of course, there are other problems there
as well. There's a sort of al Qaeda elements,
other Islamic extremist elements who are not only
dispersed in Latin America but of course the world.
It's a tremendously difficult issue.
And I think one of the issues and one of
the things that I put in my recommendation is that
we should coordinate our response, particularly
because terrorism is fusing together with organized
crime and even ordinary crime, that we should put
together our efforts, particularly within the U.S.
structures, of the war on terrorism as well as the
war on drugs, because as we speak right now, we
dealt with Afghanistan, it was a huge blow for al
The issue of reconstruction in Afghanistan
is still a major issue. As we speak, there are
Taliban and al Qaeda suspects flooding back into
Afghanistan or using a large portion of the
country. It's a lawless zone. It's a blind spot
in this war of terrorism.
And it's not just Afghanistan, it's not
just in certain portions of Iran, it's not just the
fact that Iran has facilitated al Qaeda transit out
of that area. There are large proportions in the
world where we do not have effective central
authority, where the authority does not have the
capability. And the United States have been not
only hunting down al Qaeda cells but also providing
The United States is the only country with
global intelligence reach on a tremendous level.
And I think that, you know, we may want to sort of
do an inventory of how we can do things better, but
I think that we have gone a long way of ensuring
that al Qaeda will at lease not strike with ease
against the American homeland or against U.S.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: You mentioned the
need for central authority. I think a half a dozen
commissions throughout the 1990s have recommended
the creation of a Director of National
Intelligence, somebody with centralized power and
authority within the intelligence community that
has the responsibility for a budget, that can
implement policy and, if they declare a war on
terrorism or al Qaeda, they have the resources to
marshal the intelligence community forward to get
Six or seven commissions have recommended
it. We are probably moving in the other direction,
in reality, from accomplishing that.
Do you have views on whether or not,
Professor, should we create a DNI, Mr. Jenkins, Mr.
DR. SOFAER: I'm not sure we should, Mr.
Congressman. I think that our reluctance to be
strong and act positively, actively in our self
defense leads us sometimes to overwork on the
passive measures to the point that we do create
real threats to our civil liberties.
I think that an active defense would
facilitate, in fact, less reliance on internal
control of our own citizens. And so I worry about
setting up institutions in this country that would
change the nature of our life.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Mr. Jenkins?
MR. JENKINS: First of all, I thought at
one time we had created someone that was supposed
to be in charge of the intelligence community and
it didn't quite work out that way.
There's a tendency, by the way, to try to
approach a particularly gnarly problem like this
one by the creation of some sort of a czar. This
is a recurring theme in our governmental approach.
I'm not sure. I'm not going to make a powerful
argument against it, but I'm not automatically
convinced that it provides an answer that simply a
new organization or a new head of organization gets
There are rather procedural issues, there
are issues of imperative, there are issues of
incentives that I think we have to address quite
apart from the issue of government reorganization.
The fact is, my own view is that we do
have the basic building blocks now to do this
thing. We are making progress. We do have to
improve and we will improve as we go along. Every
time we create another entity, that may expand our
capabilities in one sense, but at the same time, it
becomes a distraction.
I mean, I'm not going to argue against the
creation of a Homeland Security Department.
Bringing together is a good idea, but at the same
time, how it is going to function, how it is
actually going to integrate them in this major
post-merger environment now that has been created,
and effectively operate, that becomes, that almost
tends to slow you down somewhat in terms of dealing
with the actual process that we want to deal with.
So as I say, I'm not going to argue against it, but
I'm not sure an Intelligence Czar or a
Counterterrorist Czar is automatically going to get
I do think, and this is a cultural
problem, it's not a government-organizational
problem, that we, being a very pragmatic nation,
that we like to view things in terms of finite
achievement -- there's a problem, we identify the
problem, we solve the problem, move on to the next
problem -- and that we are so desperate for closure
after September 11th that we're looking for some
way, organizationally, that we can put the lid on
this thing and say we have now solved that, we are
now moving on.
Instead what I think our message is here,
and I'm not putting words in the mouths of my
colleagues here, but that this is an open-ended
thing we're engaged in here. Our pursuit of al
Qaeda itself must be unrelenting. If it takes us
two years, if it takes us 20 years, this enterprise
must be destroyed to reduce its capabilities to
attack us and also as a lesson to other
organizations around the world, that if you do
this, this will be the response of the United
States and we will spend the rest of our lives
hunting you down.
At the same time, where we can
appropriately use the term "war", and I think
language needs to be precise here, where we can
appropriately use the term "war" for dealing with
an al Qaeda or its successors, that we're also
simultaneously engaged in an effort to improve the
security of our homeland against catastrophes like
And as I pointed out here, that's going to
take certain kinds of strategies, both intelligence
strategies, response strategies, infrastructure,
the way we do security, to do it in a way that
doesn't cripple our own economy, that doesn't
create some sort of a neo-medieval society where we
spend the rest of our lives living under the
At the same time, another court of our
activity must be to combat terrorism. Now here the
verb is important. Combat implies an enduring
task. We're going to do the things that we can
internationally to improve the exchange of
intelligence, to improve travel documentation, to
improve border security, aviation security, all of
the things, financial controls, all of the things
that we can do to make the environment
operationally more difficult for the terrorists,
whatever group they belong to.
We are doing all these things
simultaneously, some we will succeed. Ultimately,
we will destroy al Qaeda. These other tasks that
we're talking about, these are tasks that are going
to take years, probably decades.
And there will be other commissions to
follow this one that will be examining and making
useful contributions to improve things along the
way. But the notion that we can come up to some
moment and say, we have won, the terrorists have
lost, probably not in my lifetime.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Sir?
DR. RANSTORP: I think Brian echoed
exactly my sentiment in terms of looking at this as
a ceaseless struggle. I think there is, from the
outside, I have to preface my comments as being an
outsider, a foreigner to the United States, that
there's an over-tendency to look at trying to
hermetically seal the U.S. or immunize itself from
a future attack.
It's important that we do the work that
has been done so far in terms of homeland security,
in terms of the possibility of centralizing
intelligence, in making intelligence flow, not just
from the top between different agencies but also,
as Brian said earlier, more importantly, the front
line of defense, the local law-enforcement
officers, the police, equipping them with the right
I think, thinking back, and I was in the
United States in 1998 on the day on which President
Clinton ordered air strikes against Afghanistan and
instituted some protective measures, in part to try
to protect the U.S. against what I would call
catastrophic terrorism, but I would have to say
this, that we have to balance our protective
measures, our defensive measures, with more
aggressive preemptive action.
I mean, logic would prevail that once they
start moving towards the target, we've already lost
half the battle. And therefore, we have to work on
multilateral cooperation, we have to work on making
it as difficult as possible, we have to create the
sense of insecurity for the adversary, for al
Qaeda, so that they're not able to plan
undisturbed, but they also have to worry about
their own security and the fact that they may
become apprehended by the U.S. in the future.
Therefore, I think, you know, we have gone
a long way towards getting it right. A lot of the
measures we don't see because they're occurring in
the quiet, occurring in the intelligence sphere.
Therefore, you know, on the one hand, we're
creating different structures and trying to
centralize different decisions, pooling
intelligence and intelligence analysis, but there's
a tremendous force, an unseen force out there that
are hunting these people down, that will seek
justice, no matter how long it will take.
And that goes not only for al Qaeda but
also for those forces that killed the U.S. Marines
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: At the end of the
day, this Commission will be about some
recommendations. And what I am hearing very
clearly from you is that part of those
recommendations might be in fact communicating to
the American people that this war, this combatting
terrorism, as Mr. Jenkins says, one needs the sense
of urgency that we have when our troops go into
Afghanistan or Iraq, and secondly, that this is
long-term, almost ceaseless struggle, that will
take a lot of time, that despite the
recommendations that this Commission makes in May
of 2004, al Qaeda may be out there in 2014. I see
MR. JENKINS: If not al Qaeda, the son of
al Qaeda or the grandson of al Qaeda or some other
Look, we have been dealing with terrorism,
fortunately not at the scale of 9/11, for many,
many years. And it's not because of an absence of
intelligent people who have been addressing this
topic, it's because this is a very, very big
challenge. This thing is going to go on. It's not
simply going to be a matter of how we can
reorganize our intelligence collection or how many
National Guardsmen we can deploy or how much
concrete we can pour around every identifiable
piece of critical infrastructure we have in this
Ultimately, it is going to be our own
sense of urgency, our own tenacity, our own
determination, our own courage, to a certain
extent, our own stoicism about accepting that there
are going to be some failures, there are going to
be some losses, and in the process -- and I think
this is very, very important because it's long-term
and because we are America -- our own continuing
commitment to the values for which this country
It's not something that we can simply
reorganize, toss the values, forget the rules, and
go off and blast away and fix things up and come
back and restore the old rules and say we'll go
back to whatever normality was on September 10,
2001. We don't get to go back. It is a different
world. It is a long-term contest. And so we
better do it in a way that we can maintain the
sense of values.
I'm not saying we don't change the rules.
We can change rules. Every country that has dealt
with terrorism has been obliged to change the rules
of detention, of intelligence gathering, of trial
procedures, but the countries of Europe that have
done this, they have done this as democracies and
We can do the same, but we cannot, we
cannot violate fundamentally those rules and
maintain the support we will need domestically and
internationally for what promises to be a long-term
DR. SOFAER: I would agree with all that,
Mr. Congressman. I just want to say that I think
this Commission should make it clear that the duty
to protect and defend the American people includes,
very explicitly, the duty to go out and stop a
known enemy that has killed Americans from doing it
again, that that duty is a clear, precise duty.
You're not supposed to sit in Washington
with a bunch of experts trying to make dots and
connect ideas to figure out when someone is going
to kill you and where he's going to do it if you
know there's someone out there that is determined
to do it and capable of doing it and you know where
So this Commission should, I think, make
it clear that presidents don't have the option of
sitting back and playing that game, that part of
fighting terrorism is that when you know there's an
enemy who rises up to kill you, and the words that
should be familiar to all of us in all three of our
religions, that you rise up and kill him first.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: I'm going to interrupt
this shortly because we have already kept our panel
more than we expected.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Thank you for your
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Do you have anymore
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: No, I'm all done.
Thank you very much. I want to thank the panel,
too. You've been terrific.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Senator, you have a
COMMISSIONER CLELAND: Mr. Jenkins, all of
you, you've been eloquent to a fault. Thank you
Mr. Jenkins, right at the end of your
incredible, wonderful presentation, you talked
about, in effect, defeating al Qaeda, that is a
specific goal, they did rise up to kill us and did,
and they declared war on us. And I couldn't agree
more. Then you went to combatting terrorism.
What that reminded me of was an experience
I had in Malaya, or now it's Malaysia. I was in
Vietnam, '67, '68, fighting guerillas, terrorists,
suicide bombers and the like, took a little R & R
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and read a book called
The Long, Long War. It was about the British
experience in combatting guerrillas, terrorists,
suicide bombers. And one of the things they
learned was that the terrorist doesn't lose, he
wins. The terrorist doesn't lose, he wins.
So for those who came after us, you're
exactly right, and that's specific. We know who
did it and we must kill or capture them or else
they will do it again. What little I know about al
Qaeda, that is true. Within the combating of
terrorism, doing what you can in terms of strategic
offensive abroad, strategic defensive at home, that
is the long, long war.
What I want to pose to you is a couple of
problems with this. One of the problems is that in
terms of stirring up the bee hive, Mr. Ranstorp,
your point about the Hizbollah, it seems to me that
Osama bin Laden deliberately has stirred up the bee
hive to create an overreaction by Western
democracies, particularly America, so that we would
then trigger more recruits for his jihad.
In his declaration of war, for instance,
bin Laden states that the stationing of American
forces on the soil of the Arabian Peninsula
constitutes the greatest aggression committed
against the Muslims since the death of the prophet
Mohammed in AD 632. Well, we don't believe that,
but that's his rhetoric.
The point being, is it your understanding,
Mr. Jenkins, that to the extent to which we
increase our footprint on Arab soil, Muslim soil,
and appear to be the Crusaders of old trying to
take over Islamic lands, which fulfills his
rhetoric, that as we do that, we stand in
difficulty or difficult trouble, or potentially
potential trouble of creating really a backlash
against us and more terrorist activity?
Talk to me a little bit about it. We
created an air base in Saudi Arabia and one in
Iraq. We have a presence in the Middle East in
many, many ways. Talk to me a little bit about the
potential dangers that you see about increasing
what -- another article is called the Pax Americana
in the Middle East -- and how that could possibly
generate a greater terrorist threat ultimately in
terms of a backlash against us.
MR. JENKINS: This is not easy because
this is a balance and, as you know, policy is
always a matter of trade-offs. To not respond
forcefully to the events of September 11th, to me,
would have been unimaginable. In responding,
whether it's responding to September 11th or
whether it's what we are currently engaged in in
Iraq, clearly unavoidably, does raise risks. It
raises risks that our opponents will be able to
exploit these, we know they will, in order to
increase their recruiting.
So the challenge for us becomes can we
respond forcibly and effectively in a way without
signalling a desire for dominion, a desire for
Imperialist rule, a desire, communicating the
desire that we wish to remake the world in our, in
our image or in anything that suggests that we're
opposed to a religion. Now that is hard to do.
I'm not sure that there's a single formulaic answer
to that specific question.
By the way, the question to our opponents
would be unimaginable, it would be utterly bizarre
because while we may say that we're not engaged in
a war on Islam, correctly so in that we're not
interested in dominion and that we make separations
between what people believe and how they behave and
we respond to how they behave to us, these
bifurcations of a spiritual world of belief, of
political developments, are completely foreign to
them. This is all of a single piece. So can we
operate in this territory and do it.
In Afghanistan, although we're not home
yet in Afghanistan, in Afghanistan we were
successful. We used military force, we destroyed
al Qaeda bases. And there was no uprising of
Islam. There was no worldwide surge in terrorism
against us as a consequence, as a consequence of
Now, as I say, we're not there yet. And
one of the things that we also have to figure out
how to do to ensure, and I think a mistake made the
first time around in dealing with Afghanistan is
that probably, without being Imperialists, we can't
afford to leave too many black holes on the planet,
can't afford to have too many badlands where these
type of things can find a petri dish they need to
grow and survive.
So we're going to have to actively go out
and, in one way or another, not always with Special
Forces or smart bombs or other applications of
military force, we're going to find out how to
address some of these.
That doesn't mean straying off into what
to me is illusions about addressing root causes.
It is not demonstrable that there's any causal
relationship between poverty and terrorism. We
will address, we will address poverty in the world,
we will address lack of education, we will address
political oppression because it's the right thing
to do, not because we have any illusions that it is
going to end terrorism.
As I say, in doing so, we run these risks,
but I think we have to take these one at a time and
get them right.
COMMISSIONER CLELAND: Mr. Ranstorp?
DR. RANSTORP: Connecting with what Brian
said, I think the environment is such that we're
moving towards greater complexity. I mean,
unfortunately, if you look at the Middle East, for
example, U.S. economists have estimated it will
take economic growth rate five times that of the
United States to get the region on an even keel.
There's been a youth explosion. There's
been demographic growth. There's no link between
poverty and terrorism, yet it's that environment
which so easily lends itself to certain radical
nodes of radical Islam. I think that we have,
following 9/11, we addressed many of those issues.
We are aware of them.
We do not have the capability of reaching
into so-called black spots. We're simply not
perhaps developing our own capabilities, but we're
outsourcing this. This is not just the United
States' problem, this is a Western problem, not
just a U.S. problem, but also a European problem.
And therefore, we're working hand in hand in trying
to alleviate this.
But we have tremendous challenges. I
think one of the issues particularly we have to
grapple with is the global feeling of
anti-Americanism, in using public diplomacy to much
greater effect, in thinking ahead about tactics and
strategies, explaining better to the world why
American is doing what it is doing.
And you can see that's happening now as an
integral part of the war against Iraq. In the war
against the hearts and minds and the war against
Islamic extremism, it's very difficult to do, but
it has to be done at some level. It has to be, it
has to be confronted.
I have spent 15 years working, mapping
Islamic extremists. And let me say that one of the
issues where it is both the strength and the
weakness which we have to tackle with greater
ingenuity and innovation is the issue of their
legitimacy. We have to tackle at the root heart
their legitimacy. And there are many ways one can
do that, but it will take a greater ingenuity. It
has to take greater effort. And it is not going to
be an easy road ahead.
COMMISSIONER CLELAND: Thank you, Mr.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you. Mr.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: I know it's
CHAIRMAN KEAN: This is going to be the
last question, just to let these people go.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Also a biblical
expression. Both Judge Sofaer and Mr. Jenkins have
commented on the concept of creating a new domestic
intelligence agency from different perspectives.
Judge Sofaer, you have mentioned that you
opposed it, and one of the reasons that you stated
was because of the greater threat to civil
liberties. And Mr. Jenkins said that he thought
that the basic building blocks to do the work were
And perhaps that ties into the
extraordinary presentation of Miss Kleinberg
earlier this morning. She talked about all of the
things that were missed by our intelligence
agencies that could have, in fact, on the basis of
information in hand, had they been working
cooperatively and done the work that was expected
of them, could have identified at least some of the
terrorists involved in 9/11.
I wonder whether you would each expand
upon that because one of the major objectives I
think we have in making our ultimate
recommendations will be related to whether a new
system of domestic intelligence should be
instituted or whether in fact we can make do with
what we have with significant improvement.
DR. SOFAER: I think the latter. I think
we can make do with what we have with significant
improvements. I think we ought to use DHS more
than going back to the FBI and CIA. I think that
we're not going to make much progress if we rely on
those agencies exclusively.
I think the list of failures and
opportunities that the Joint Committee has put
together with Miss Hill, her report has been very
impressive. And I can't imagine that the
Commission needs to spend a lot of time building on
I mean, it's just clear that we lost, we
missed a lot of opportunities. And I think we can
do a lot to correct that if we don't rely
exclusively on the same agencies that missed those
opportunities, incidentally, without any
accountability whatsoever. There's be no
accountability whatsoever for those missed
MR. JENKINS: Again, I think we could have
done it better prior to September 11th. I'm not
sure that that would have prevented the September
11th attack. I just don't know that. Putting
aside the issue of whether could have or could not
have identified the attack coming, how do we
approach this, how do we approach it now.
I notice that you used the word, can we
make the system better. I think you said system.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: That supposes a
fact that perhaps is not yet in evidence.
MR. JENKINS: That is, my point is that I
think there's a key word there that we want to
focus on, can we make this into a system and how do
we achieve that. It's not a question of can we
create another entity or not create another entity.
That, to me, is a tactical question, it's a
The root, how do we create a system out of
the capabilities that we have now and that we can
reasonably create? We can enhance those
capabilities. There's a variety of ways we can do
that, one of which I have indicated already, but
how do we procedurally, what is the machinery for
creating a system?
If that requires a new entity, then so be
it. I'm not convinced that it does yet, but I am
persuaded that we need to do something to bring
about a system.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Mr. Ranstorp,
do you care to comment?
DR. RANSTORP: No, I totally agree that
there has to be an integrated system. I think
we're on our way there. I think though within,
this is the European experience, within bearing in
mind civil liberties, I think that cannot be the
casualty of any system. I think protecting and
preserving them is something that we all cherish.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Dr. Sofaer, Mr. Jenkins,
Mr. Ranstorp, thank you very, very much for the
enlightening discussion. We are adjourned until
9:00 tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 5:10 p.m., the proceedings
were recessed, to reconvene at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday,
April 1, 2003.)