Friday, December 9, 2011

"9/11 --- 10 Years Later," a conference at Rutgers University today


Governor Tom Kean, co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, was a keynote speaker. Among other things the former NJ governor said:

We are dealing with an evolving threat. According to the Secretary of Defense, we are within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda. But now, the terrorists are recruiting American citizens. We experienced our first homegrown suicide bomber.

What Congress must do:

1. Congress's oversight of the intelligence community is "dysfunctional." The oversight committees have no influence, and often cannot get straight answers, because they don't control the purse strings. This must change,

2. Congress must set aside a radio spectrum for use by first responders in common nationwide.

I asked him about balancing civil liberties with homeland security. He claimed that I had asked a "wonderful question." His reply:

When a disaster like 9/11 strikes, national security wins out over civil liberties 100% of the time. The 9/11 Commission he co-chaired recommended a Civil Liberties Commission be created and placed right in the White House. Congress passed this proposal. Bush named someone, so did Obama, but the nominees were never confirmed. So there still is not such a commission or committee, even 10 years after the attacks. Obama's national security advisor told Kean, "We'll get around to it."

Observed the governor, "We need someone to present us with the argument before we can have a debate." He added he doesn't know why this recommendation has never been implemented. "I'm lobbying for it," he claimed.

Others at the conference agreed with the governor that homegrown terrorism is the new threat. I have often said so:

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