Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins today chaired the fourth of a series of hearings in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee to examine the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The witnesses who testified in today’s hearing are family members of victims who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“As this Committee wrestles with the issues, as we wade through the alphabet soup of the 15 agencies that comprise our intelligence community and debate questions of budgets, personnel, authority, and accountability, we must never forget that we are not doing this as an exercise in bureaucratic reshuffling. We are undertaking this task because 3,000 innocent people were murdered by terrorists on American soil,” said Senator Collins.
“The September 11th attack was an attack against the entire nation and the entire world. The victims came from 37 states and Puerto Rico, and from 17 other countries. The victims were fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives,” added Senator Collins. “Our witnesses today come from the families who lost loved ones in the attacks of September 11th. They remind us why we are here.”
The 9/11 family members who testified at today’s hearing were: Mary Fetchet, Founding Director of Voices of September 11th, Stephen Push, a leader of Families of September 11th, and Kristen Breitweiser, Founder of the September 11th Advocates.
“Since 9/11, many family advocates have applied themselves with great energy and devotion to discovering what went wrong,” said Senator Collins. “Their knowledge is extensive. Not because they are government policymakers, but because they are driven to find answers to their personal tragedies. This is a position they did not choose to be in, but one where they are determined to make a difference. And they have.”
Senator Collins also pointed out that six Mainers died in the 9/11 attacks.
The Governmental Affairs Committee has been tasked by Senate leaders to examine two key recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, the proposed creation of a National Counterterrorism Center and a National Intelligence Director position. Senator Collins expects the Committee to hold several more hearings over the coming weeks. The Committee’s goal is to approve legislation by October 1st.