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Still Unprepared for a Terrorist Attack, Warns New Hart-Rudman Task Force on Homeland Security
Council on Foreign Relations ^ | 2002-10-25 | Report of an Independent Task Force -- Gary Hart and Warren B. Rudman, Co-Chairs

Posted on 10/26/2002 3:43:26 PM PDT by Lessismore

A Year after 9/11, America Still Unprepared for a Terrorist Attack, Warns New Hart-Rudman Task Force on Homeland Security

Full text and executive summary: "America Still Unprepared - America Still in Danger,"

An Independent Task Force Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations

October 25, 2002 - A year after 9/11, America remains dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic attack on U.S. soil, concludes a blue-ribbon panel led by former Senators Warren Rudman and Gary Hart-co-chairs of the now famous Commission on National Security that warned of such a terrorist attack three years ago.

The Independent Task Force, which came to this sober conclusion and which makes recommendations for emergency action, included two former secretaries of state, two Nobel laureates, two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former director of the CIA and FBI, and some of the nation's most distinguished financial, legal, and medical experts. One of the country's leading authorities on homeland security, Council Senior Fellow Stephen Flynn, directed the Task Force.

If the nation does not respond more urgently to address its vulnerabilities, the Task Force warns, the next attack could result in even greater casualties and widespread disruption to our lives and economy.

The critical need to make specific preparatory acts is made even more imperative by the prospect that the United States might go to war with Iraq and that Saddam Hussein might threaten the use of weapons of mass destruction in America.

The Task Force credits the Bush administration, Congress, governors and mayors for taking important measures since 9/11 to respond to the risk of catastrophic terrorism, and does not seek to apportion blame about what has not been done or not done quickly enough. The report is aimed, rather, at closing the gap between our intelligence estimates and analysis-which acknowledge immediate danger on the one hand-and our capacity to prevent, mitigate and respond to these attacks on the other.

Among the risks that still confront the United States:

-- 650,000 local and state police officials continue to operate in a virtual intelligence vacuum including having no access to terrorist watch lists provided by the U.S. Department of State to immigration and consular officials.

-- While 50,000 federal screeners are being hired at the nation's airports to check passengers, only the tiniest percentage of containers, ships, trucks, and trains that enter the United States each day are subject to examination-and a weapon of mass destruction could well be hidden among this cargo.

-- First responders-police, fire, emergency medical personnel-are not ready to respond to a chemical or biological attack. Their radios can't talk with one another and they lack the training and protective gear to protect themselves and the public in an emergency. The consequence of this could be the unnecessary loss of thousands of American lives.

-- An adversary intent on disrupting America's reliance on energy need not target oilfields in the Middle East. The homeland infrastructure for refining and distributing energy to support our daily lives remains largely unprotected to sabotage.

-- Our own ill-prepared response has the capacity to hurt us to a much greater extent than any single attack by a terrorist. America is a powerful and resilient nation and terrorists are not supermen. But the risk of self-inflicted harm to our liberties and way of life is greatest during and immediately following a national trauma.

To deal with these and other weaknesses, the Task Force makes a number of recommendations for emergency action, including the following:

-- Make first responders ready to respond by immediately providing federal funds to clear the backlog of requests for protective gear, training, and communications equipment. State and local budgets cannot bankroll these necessities in the near term.

-- Recalibrate the agenda for transportation security; the vulnerabilities are greater and the stakes are higher in the sea and land modes than in commercial aviation.

-- Strengthen the capacity of local, state, and federal public heath and agricultural agencies to detect and conduct disease outbreak investigations. The key to mitigating casualties associated with a biological attack against people or the food supply is to identify the source of infection as early as possible.

-- Empower front line agents to intercept terrorists by establishing 24-hour operations centers in each state that can provide access to terrorist watch list information via real time intergovernmental links between local and federal law enforcement

-- Fund, equip, and train National Guard units around the country to ensure they can support the new state homeland security plans under development by each Governor. Also, triple the number of National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Support Teams from 22 to 66. TASK FORCE MEMBERS

Gary Hart (Co-Chair) Of Counsel, Coudert Brothers Former Senator, Colorado

Warren B. Rudman (Co-Chair) Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison Former Senator, New Hampshire

Charles Graham Boyd Chief Executive Officer and President, Business Executives for National Security Former Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command

Warren Christopher Senior Partner, O'Melveny & Myers LLP Former Secretary of State

William J. Crowe Senior Advisor, Global Options Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Stephen Friedman Senior Principal, Marsh & McLennan Capital

James Kallstrom Senior Executive Vice President, MBNA America Former Director, Office of Public Security for the State of New York

Joshua Lederberg President-Emeritus and Sackler Foundation Scholar, Rockefeller University Nobel Laureate

Donald Marron Managing General Partner, Lightyear Capital

Philip A. Odeen Chairman, TRW, Inc.

George P. Shultz Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University Former Secretary of State Former Secretary of the Treasury Former Secretary of Labor Former Director, Office of Management and Budget

Anne-Marie Slaughter Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Harold E. Varmus President and Chief Executive Officer, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

John W. Vessey Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

William H. Webster Partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency Former Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Steven Weinberg Director of the Theory Group, University of Texas Nobel Laureate

Contact: Lisa Shields, Director of Communications, 212-434-9888

TOPICS: Announcements; Government; News/Current Events

1 posted on 10/26/2002 3:43:26 PM PDT by Lessismore
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To: Lessismore
I'm conflicted. On the one hand, it's true. We aren't prepared. On the other hand, this panel is a blue-ribbon list of liberal losers. They are about the last people capable of dealing with the situation.
2 posted on 10/26/2002 4:07:37 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: Lessismore
So when do we get our Homeland Security if we are not prepared?
3 posted on 10/26/2002 4:51:34 PM PDT by abclily
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To: abclily
We don't unless we take back the Senate and keep the House of Reps.
Senator "Roadblock" Daschle wants to keep that bill from passing and will sit on it or kill it.
That way he can blame the next attack on his country on the Bush administration's lack of having their act together with john Ashcroft...
And on and on and on...
4 posted on 10/26/2002 5:21:53 PM PDT by RadicalRik
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To: RadicalRik
Don't expect any help from the Federal government until the lack of defense gets so unpopular that it starts registering on our leaders decisions. We need borders controlled and coordination in communications with local law enforcement. The rest of the bureaucracy that is being demanded for homeland security is a hindrance to getting on top of the problem. Local people and local enforcement will be the front lines in any defense.
5 posted on 10/26/2002 6:16:16 PM PDT by meenie
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To: Lessismore
They left out the most important step: deport Muslims who are here illegally or who never should have been let in in the first place (such as those who list "hotel" as the destination on their visa applications).

Until we start doing this, we are not really serious about preventing another terrorist attack. It's all posturing.

6 posted on 10/26/2002 6:22:40 PM PDT by Katie_Colic
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To: Lessismore
650,000 local and state police officials continue to operate in a virtual intelligence vacuum

Um... that's one way of saying it... although there are only certain jurisdictions for which I would put it exactly that way...

7 posted on 10/26/2002 11:18:20 PM PDT by john in missouri
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To: Lessismore

But of course, this won't get any publicity. All the news will be about the "huge" anti war protest...until the next terrorist attack...

8 posted on 10/27/2002 1:25:35 AM PST by LadyDoc
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To: RadicalRik
Time for ADHD Peter Pan Daschle to grow up.
9 posted on 10/27/2002 3:01:24 AM PST by abclily
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To: Lessismore
Senators Warren Rudman...

Would someone in the Republican party kindly tell this man to take a hike? Just about every stupid "blue ribbon panel" that is thrown together includes this liberal RINO idiot. Don't go away mad, Warren, just go away.

10 posted on 10/27/2002 7:18:46 PM PST by Major Matt Mason
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To: Lessismore
pssssssst....I'll let you guys ('n gals) in on a little secret. As long as there is no border security, there can be no homeland security.

do ya think someone should tell George this?
11 posted on 10/28/2002 9:34:04 AM PST by taxed2death
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