Nancy Pelosi released this statement today:
"Two years ago, the bipartisan and independent 9/11 Commission released its report, outlining urgent and achievable recommendations for securing our nation. Implementing the recommendations would have fundamentally changed the way the executive branch and the Congress deal with matters related to terrorism – making us more unified and more effective.
"Yet, two years later, the Bush administration and the Republican Congress have either failed abysmally to act on many of the critical recommendations, or have failed to implement them effectively. Republicans have: voted down legislation to ensure interoperability of communications for first responders; continue to distribute homeland security funding without regard for risk, vulnerability, or the consequences of an attack; and have failed to develop a comprehensive national strategy for securing our transportation systems. The failure of Republicans to fulfill these recommendations has a simple consequence: the American people are not as safe as they should be.
"Democrats have proposed a new direction for America that will keep our country safer. On the first day we control Congress, we will begin by passing all of the 9/11 Commission recommendations."
Of course she fails to mention the real policy of the Democrats when it comes to protecting this country. That would be to retreat from any military confrontation and negotiate with terrorists. Hell, with North Korea firing missiles they still care little about a missile defense system:
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has now defied world opinion by test-firing a Taepodong-2 missile capable of hitting San Francisco. The fact that the missile failed is small consolation, since we are also now seeing in Lebanon a further proliferation of missiles from Syria and Iran that can reach deep into Israel. Does anyone doubt that Iran, or some other adversary, will build an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. as soon as it is able?
All of which makes the U.S. political debate over missile defenses worth revisiting, not least because some Democrats are still trying to strangle the program. In the House, John Tierney of Massachusetts this year proposed cutting the Pentagon's missile-defense budget by more than half. His amendment was defeated on the House floor, but it won the support of more than half of his Democratic colleagues, including would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Meanwhile in the Senate, Carl Levin (D., Mich.) offered in June to cut off funds for the ground-based interceptor program that Mr. Bush recently activated in Alaska in anticipation of the North Korean launch. Mr. Levin wants to stop new interceptors from being built, but Senate Republicans wouldn't bring his proposal up for a vote. Mr. Levin has been waging his own private war against missile defenses for a generation, to the point of outflanking Russian objections on the political left.
They care little for intelligence operations such as those that listen in on phone calls from Al-Qaeda (NSA Wiretap Program) nor tracking their finances (SWIFT Program). Their idea of interrogating terrorists is saying pretty please with sugar on top. When it comes to backing our friends when they are in a fight for survival against terrorism, they tend to back the terrorists: (via Hugh Hewitt)
The final vote on the House resolution supporting Israel was, unlike its counterpart in the Senate, not unanimous. Eight voted against the resolution and four voted "present. All but one, the libertarian leaning Ron Paul, were Democrats, and not just backbenchers. Conyers, Dingell, Rahall, Stark and Abercrombie are ranking members –and presumptive chairs if Democrats regain a majority in November– of Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, Resources, the Health Subcommittee of Ways and Means, and the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of Armed Services, respectively.
If Democrats win in November, all these gavels fall into hands of Members who voted against Israel even as she was under a massive and continuing barrage of terrorist rocket attacks.
She also fails to mention that the only reason the 9/11 Commission was formed was to cover up the fact that it was their polices that allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place, namely the "Gorelick Wall", the cut & run attitude of the Clinton administration, and treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem.
It is clear in the summer of 2004, that the U.S. Intelligence Community's failure was monumental. Assigning blame to anyone besides Congress, however, is fruitless. Funding is always the culprit, and legal limitations placed by years of libertarian abuse and sensitivity to privacy and race issues may have contributed largely to 9/11. Clearly the failure of the Intelligence Community to change itself is a leading cause of many of the problems we point to today. However, leadership in both the Legislative and Executive branches, especially in the cause of driving change into the Intelligence Community, also can be found lacking.
And while some will claim changing huge bureaucracies "overnight" is an impossible tasking, it is also clear that post 9/11 — literally within days, many changes took place without the benefit of Congress and year long studies.
In our estimation, however, a mindset toward traditional domestic law enforcement activities instead of focusing on prevention probably contributed more to the disasters in New York, the Pentagon and in the field near Philadelphia. Had the FBI been focused on dogging the footsteps of every student visa holder or other temporary alien visitor, a classical approach to counter espionage, things would undoubtedly have turned out differently. Whether the insane and politically correct Department of Justice regulations were at fault, or whether the FBI was not given enough information by its sister organizations does not remove the responsibility for proper leadership. Too many careers would be put at risk to fly in the face of bureaucratic principles in place one would suppose and therein lies the major failure of the FBI.
By now, it is also clear that prior to 9/11, the interaction between key elements of the Intelligence Community agencies tasked with providing for our homeland security was a dismal testament to overreaction to the excesses of the 60s and 70s. And we paid dearly. From political correctness in personnel activities within the agencies to careerism preventing focused and aggressive pursuit of terrorists all contributed heavily to missing some very important clues to the coming events of 9/11. Even the FISA process contributed, with agents opting to "take other avenues" to get warrants and perhaps adding delays in inspecting a key piece of evidence — a laptop with the plans for using aircraft as missiles.
Moreover, the sensitivity to immigration and racial overtones contributed to a lax visa and immigration policy that truly defies logic. The 9/11 pilots did not go unnoticed, there just seemed to be no real focus on their clandestine activities which would ring the alarm bells. In essence, not only did the alarms not ring, there was no button to press — no effective way for a citizen let alone an officer of the government to execute a rapid response to any of the telltale clues.
With all that said, the chief failure is one of intellectual prowess. It's been called time and time again, "Connecting the Dots". The saying is appropriate. Dot's imply an invisible trail. And while the trail now looks anything but invisible, it takes a certain mindset to draw the appropriate conclusions without the weight of 9/11 to prod your thinking. Post 9/11 it seems ludicrous that a mildly paranoid officer of the FBI would not "pull it all together", however, given the conditions at the time, it is sadly understandable.
In the end Nancy can forget being Speaker. The Democrats will not control the House come November at which point she will be run out as minority leader:
Hostility between the House's two top Democrats has reached the point where Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's aides whisper they would rather not regain the majority if it means Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi becoming speaker of the House.
Hoyer would not challenge Pelosi for speaker. But if Democrats fail to carry the House this year for the eighth straight election, there will be pressure on Hoyer to run against her for minority leader.
She also fails to mention that the only reason the 9/11 Commission was formed was to cover up the fact that it was their polices that allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place, namely the “Gorelick Wall”, the cut & run attitude of the Clinton administration, and treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem.