Commission declares US lagging in counter-terrorism
Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal
In the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. has failed to make sufficient progress on nine counterterrorism actions, ranging from border screening to terrorist-detention standards, according to the former leaders of the commission that investigated the hijackings.
Areas of success include reducing impediments to intelligence-sharing and airline-passenger screening, according to former 9/11 Commission co-chairmen Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, who issued a report Wednesday on the commission’s recommendations.
“We’re better off than we used to be,” Mr. Kean said in an interview Tuesday. “But there are glaring gaps.”
Nine of the 41 recommendations haven’t been fully implemented, the report says. They require urgent attention “because the threat from al Qaeda, related terrorist groups, and individual adherents to violent Islamist extremism persists.”
Tenth Anniversary Report Card
Read the report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group, led by Messrs. Kean and Hamilton, the former leaders of the commission that investigated the hijackings.
Among the greatest continuing threats to the U.S., they say, is a pattern of increasing terrorist recruitment of U.S. citizens and residents. They also warn of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure such as electrical, financial and communications systems, saying that defending against such attacks “must be an urgent priority.”
The unfulfilled recommendations include the failure to establish an entry-and-exit system using biometric technology. While the Department of Homeland Security has built an entry system that checks fingerprints and other data against terrorist databases, it doesn’t check people as they exit the country.
Another unresolved issue is establishing a standardized secure form of identification, the report says. The creation of a civil-liberties board to ensure that government actions are monitored for their privacy has also stalled out, the report says.
The report highlights insufficient progress on several other items: Policies on terrorist detention are still fuzzy, and there is a limited ability to provide unified command among responders in an emergency.