Remarks highlight that “there is still work to be done” to protect the homeland

January 21, 2010

WASHINGTON /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Former 9/11 Commission Chairman and Vice Chairman Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton today testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In their testimony, Governor Kean and Congressman Hamilton, now co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) National Security Preparedness Group, discussed the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day and the state of intelligence reform.

“Today, we are appearing in our capacity as co-chairmen of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG), a successor to the 9/11 Commission. Drawing on a strong roster of national security professionals, the NSPG works as an independent, bipartisan group to monitor the implementation of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations and address other emerging national security issues,” said Congressman Hamilton in his testimony.

“In the five years since the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, the U.S. government has made significant strides to correct the shortfalls and mistakes evident on September 11, 2001. But as we’ve seen from the recent terrorist incidents at Fort Hood and in the skies above Detroit, there is still work to be done,” said Congressman Hamilton in his testimony. “The DNI has achieved a meaningful measure of success in its first years,” Governor Kean continued. “But is a work in progress closer to the beginning of reform than the end.”

[efoods]As part of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which passed five years ago, created the DNI and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). “The DNI has been hobbled by endless disputes over its size, mission and authority,” said Congressman Hamilton in his testimony. “Nonetheless, the determination of the terrorist to attack the homeland remains unabated as demonstrated by these events and underscores the critical need for creating the DNI and the NCTC.”

“The Director of National Intelligence was given substantial authorities to accomplish these missions [to protect our country],” said Governor Kean in his testimony. “However, to be sure, there are ambiguities in the law. These ambiguities can contribute to mission confusion and lack of clarity about lanes in the road. But the burden is on the President to be clear on who is in charge of the Intelligence Community and where final authority lies on budget and personnel matters. The President’s leadership is crucial and must be continuing or we run the risk of mission confusion and decrease the prospect of long and lasting reform that was recommended after September 11, 2001,” concluded Governor Kean.

The BPC’s National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG) is the successor to the 9/11 Commission and 9/11 Public Discourse Project. Its purpose is to monitor the implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations and report on new national security threats. Since July 2009, the NSPG has been conducting an ongoing review of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act and the effectiveness of the Director of National Intelligence, a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

The NSPG is composed of a distinguished bipartisan group of experts including former U.S. Secretary of Energy and U.S. Senator E. Spencer Abraham; Peter Bergen; Dr. Stephen Flynn; Dr. John Gannon; Dr. Bruce Hoffman; former Congressman Dave McCurdy; former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III; former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge; Frances Townsend; former U.S. Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh; former Congressman Jim Turner; and Lawrence Wright.

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