WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Thursday said the belated release of the Joint Intelligence Committees’ heavily redacted report into the September 11th terrorist attack raises the question, “Did the Bush Administration do everything that could have been done once it knew that Osama Bin Laden was determined to use an airplane hijacking to strike at the United States?” Lieberman said it was essential that the independent September 11th commission, created by legislation authored by Lieberman and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., aggressively pursue the questions left unanswered by redactions made to this report.
“Our security is only enhanced when Americans know the full story,” Lieberman said. “Truth and integrity mean opening up the books to the American people… Today’s report demonstrates that the Bush Administration has, even today, failed to demand a full accounting of intelligence failures, in order to ensure that they have been corrected.” Following is Lieberman’s statement: Today’s report from the Joint Intelligence Committee is chilling in its account — showing in hindsight a trail of clues that a better functioning, better integrated intelligence system might have grasped to prevent what happened. We now know, for example, that the opportunities to catch at least two of the 19 suicide hijackers were more numerous than we had known previously. We confront the disturbing specter of activities known, opportunities missed and actions untaken. There were enough warnings, enough signals, and enough information to force us to ask forthrightly: Did the Bush Administration do everything that could have been done once it knew that Osama Bin Laden was determined to use an airplane hijacking to strike at the United States. John McCain and I sponsored the 9/11 commission because the safety of our nation depends on learning the lessons of September 11th. I call on the Administration to give it the full cooperation it needs to complete its work. The Bush Administration resisted an independent commission and, when it finally agreed to its establishment, has failed to provide the information and cooperation that commission needs to get the job done. Half-cooperation with the Commission’s requests is unacceptable and wrong. Our security is only enhanced when Americans know the full story. Truth and integrity mean opening up the books to the American people. And I sponsored the Homeland Security Department, again over the opposition of the Bush Administration, and I call on the Administration to fully fund the needs of our first responders – police, firefighters, emergency workers — who need the resources to protect us. And I call for an overhaul of our intelligence system and its leadership to overcome the increasingly apparent flaws. We need to know what has been done – and what might not have been done – to provide for the common defense against those terrorist attacks. Today’s report demonstrates that the Bush Administration has, even today, failed to demand a full accounting of intelligence failures, in order to ensure that they have been corrected. Indeed, we do now that we still do not have a single, consolidated terrorist watch list. We cannot solve problems without acknowledging what went wrong. We cannot make America safe from continuing threats if we do not admit what needs to be done. We cannot be better guarded in the future until we probe any failure of intelligence agencies in the past. The Bush Administration must understand that a full, an independent, and a searching inquiry into the events of 9/11 is more important than partisan considerations. That we must discover the whole truth. That we must take every action to secure our homeland and our families But continuing inaction by this administration leaves us in imminent danger of further attack. All of us hope that this never happens again. And we know our nation must be better defended from terrorism if we are to make “never again” a reality.