WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., Thursday introduced legislation that would create a bipartisan commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and evaluate the United States? preparedness for, and response to, the attacks.
“We want this commission to be nonpartisan and independent,” Lieberman said. It must be a hunt for the truth, not a witch hunt. The initial weeks and months after September 11 were – understandably and appropriately -preoccupied with mourning and healing, and then with the war on terrorism. But since the first stage of the war is now drawing to a close with the defeat of the Taliban – and with many perplexing questions left unanswered – this is the right time to begin in earnest the process of finding answers to our questions.”
“To prevent future tragedies, we need a thorough, nonpartisan, independent inquiry into what happened on September 11th, and what we can do to protect our people and our institutions against the enemies of freedom in the future,” said McCain. “I am confident that with the President’s support, this commission’s recommendations can serve as a guidepost for the reform and invigoration of America’s homeland defenses.”
The bill would establish the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, composed of 14 appointed members. Four members, including the Commission?s chairperson, will be named by the President, and ten members will be selected by Congressional committee chairs. No more than seven members may be of the same political party.
The Commission will report on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, including proposing organization, coordination, planning, management arrangements, procedures, rules and regulations, to the President and Congress twice – initially, six months after the Commission holds its first meeting, and again no more than one year after the submission of the first report. The primary functions of the Commission will be to:
Conduct an investigation into the facts and circumstances relating to the attacks of September 11, 2001, including any relevant legislation, executive order, regulation, plan, practice, or procedure; and
Review and evaluate the lessons learned from the terrorist attacks regarding the structure, coordination, and management arrangement of the Federal Government in detecting, preventing, and responding to terrorist attacks.
A BILL TO ESTABLISH THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED STATES
Introduced December 20, 2001
By Senator Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. and Senator John McCain, R-Ariz.
The bill would establish a 14-member, bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States which would examine the facts and causes relating to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and report on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures that can be taken to prevent future acts of terrorism.
The Commission?s Composition
The 14 members of the Commission will be appointed as follows:
? 4 members, including the chairperson of the Commission, will be appointed by the President of the United States
? 10 members will be appointed by congressional leaders. The chairperson, in consultation with the ranking member, of the following committees will appoint one member:
– Senate Committee on Armed Services
– Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
– Senate Committee on the Judiciary
– Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
– Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
– House Committee on Armed Services
– House Committee on Energy and Commerce
– House Committee on the Judiciary
– House Committee on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
– House Committee on International Relations
Additionally, Commission membership will meet the following qualifications:
? No more than 7 members of the Commission may be from the same political party
? Members should be prominent U.S. citizens with national recognition and backgrounds in government service, law enforcement, the armed services, legal practice, public administration, intelligence gathering, commerce, and foreign affairs
? No current government employees may be appointed
No more than six months after the Commission?s initial meeting, it will submit an initial report to the President and Congress. A second report, containing findings, conclusions, and recommendations, must be submitted to the President and Congress no later than one year after the submission of the initial report.
Function and Scope
The primary functions of the Commission are:
? to conduct an investigation into the facts and circumstances relating to the attacks of September 11, 2001 including any relevant legislation, Executive order, regulation, plan, practice, or procedure
? review and evaluate the lessons learned from the terrorist attacks regarding the structure, coordination, and management arrangement of the Federal Government in detecting, preventing, and responding to terrorist attacks
? submit to the President and Congress reports containing findings, conclusions, and recommendations, including proposing organization, coordination, planning, management arrangements, procedures, rules and regulations
To achieve these functions, the Commission will be allowed to:
? hold hearings
? require, by subpoena or otherwise, the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents
? secure information, including information needing security clearances, services, as well as funds, facilities, staff, and other support services from Federal agencies.