Area legislators react to the Sept. 11 report

July 23, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

Members of Congress representing the Tri-State area responded Thursday to the Sept. 11 report released earlier in the day.

The remarks of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., were among the strongest in tone.

"On Sept. 11, our government didn't connect the dots. In Iraq, we are even more culpable, because the dots themselves don't exist," he said in a news release.

"During a critical time in our nation's history - an 18-month period spanning the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003 - the credibility of the intelligence community was significantly compromised," he said.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said, "Reform of our intelligence agencies must be broad, deep, authentic and undertaken with a sense of urgency. This will send a message that America will not be intimidated; that we stand ready to protect and defend our homeland. Our national security, our national honor and our standing in the world depend on it."


Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he supports having a special session to address the recommendations of the commission.

He also said, in a news release, "There is no doubt in my mind that had all of the information been available in a coordinated matter, that 9/11 could have been prevented."

Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., in a news release, spoke of the work being done on the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which he is a member.

"We are currently looking at ways to reorganize our overall intelligence structure, including the concept of a director of National Intelligence. We are taking steps to improve coordination among agencies. We are addressing the difficult questions surrounding the need for a domestic intelligence capability. And we are fundamentally rethinking the way we approach intelligence."

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md, said it is necessary to "find out why America failed to prevent that terrorist attack. That is important, but our country's bigger challenge is to prevent the next unimaginable, asymmetric attack. Today, the Congressional Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Commission issued its report warning that America is vulnerable and virtually unprotected against a devastating EMP attack."

Staff writer Ryan Tuck contributed to this story.

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