US remains vulnerable: 9/11 Commission

As Pak Taliban demonstrated their ability to reach the US with the recent Times Square terror plot, key members of the 9/11 Commission have expressed frustration.

Washington: As Pakistani Taliban demonstrated
their ability to reach the US with the recent Times Square
terror plot, key members of the 9/11 Commission have expressed
frustration that more progress has not been made on their
recommendations like sharing of vital intelligence.

Almost six years after issuing a landmark report on
terrorism, former 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and his
Deputy Lee Hamilton said they were concerned by roadblocks to
sharing intelligence and the plethora of Congressional
committees that oversee the Department of Homeland Security.

"We were advised the other day that we should all feel
pretty good about the (federal government`s) accomplishments,"
Hamilton said yesterday while testifying before the House
Homeland Security Committee.

"The problem, of course, is that the attacks keep coming
-- over Detroit (on Northwest flight 253), in Times Square, at
Fort Hood," he was quoted as saying by CNN.

He said the threat from al Qaeda remains serious. "The
conventional wisdom for years has been that al Qaeda`s
preferred method was a spectacular attack like 9/11. But the
defining characteristic of today`s threat seems to be its

"The defining trait of today`s terrorist threat is its
diversity. As you well know, the Attorney General (Eric
Holder) has stated that the Times Square attempted attack was
directed by the Pakistani Taliban," he said, referring to the
botched May 1 attack by Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad.

The attempted attack on an American airliner in December
last year was the work of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,
he said. In both of these cases, al Qaeda affiliates thought
previously as regional or local threats demonstrated their
ability to reach the United States.

"We`re well aware of the threat emanating from the
tribal regions of Pakistan. We`ve also come to appreciate the
increasing threat of homegrown terrorism as some Americans
have become radicalised," Hamilton said.

He said that recognising the evolving nature of the
threat, America needs to consider what policy recommendations
should follow this new assessment.

"The public is willing to accept anything in the name of
security. And they`ve accepted all sorts of inconvenience...
The public is with us. And so what we need is technological
and governmental will to get these things done," Kean said.

Hamilton and Kean also lamented at the inability of
Congress to streamline its oversight of Department of Homeland
Security, saying it must answer to more than 100 committees
and subcommittees, draining its resources.

"I don`t know of any tougher problem" than reorganising
Congress, Hamilton said. "I know how difficult and sticky it
is and what passion it arouses in Congress." But, he
concluded, "You have to get your house in order."