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: 8 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 8 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.