Smith Welcomes Release of 9/11 Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Chris Smith (R-Hamilton), a leading advocate in Congress for the legislation that established the Independent Commission to investigate the September 11 terrorist attacks, welcomed the release of the commission's report today and praised the hard work of the panel members.
"I welcome the release of the 9/11 Commission Report and I applaud the hard work done by the members of the commission, especially Chairmen Tom Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, who did an exemplary job," Smith said.
"I would also like to thank the family members who lost loved ones in the tragic attacks for their hard work and perseverance in working with Congress and the Administration to establish this important panel. Several of these family members, including a dedicated group of women from central New Jersey who lost their husbands on September 11, did yeoman's work in both helping to establish the commission and in ensuring that it went about its work in a comprehensive and deliberative manner.
"Their hard work will help provide a safer and more secure America and prevent others from suffering similar tragic losses," he added.
Smith was the lead Republican in the House who pushed for the comprehensive independent investigation to thoroughly probe the many breakdowns that occurred on or before September 11, including intelligence gathering and information sharing; aviation security; border patrol, customs, and immigration lapses; and problems encountered by first responders on the day of the attacks.
"As the former Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights that probed the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, I look forward to helping to lead efforts in Congress to enhance oversight of intelligence operations and to implement many of those recommendations that will break through the communications problems and lack of information sharing in our intelligence agencies.
"Lessons must be learned from past failures in an effort to ensure our nation is adequately trained and prepared to anticipate, respond to, and thwart future attacks," Smith said.
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, Smith conducted aggressive oversight hearings to determine what could be done to improve security at U.S. Embassies. Following this extensive review, Smith wrote landmark legislation - the Embassy Security Act (PL 106-113) - that authorized record amounts of funding to make substantial security improvements to U.S. diplomatic facilities.