9/11 commissioner says U.S. should spend more on anti-terrorism | VailDaily.com

9/11 commissioner says U.S. should spend more on anti-terrorism

NEWARK, N.J. – The country is less vulnerable to terrorists since the 2001 attacks, but billions more must be spent to be prepared for another assault, Sept. 11 commissioner Bob Kerrey said Tuesday.”I still don’t believe that Congress and the Bush administration are giving enough to thwart a terror attack here or to train first responders in (the New York) region,” said Kerrey, a former U.S. senator from Nebraska, during a lecture at Rutgers University’s campus in Newark.More money must be spent to upgrade emergency communications systems, he said.”We’re $5 billion or $6 billion short of getting people trained to a level that would make me comfortable,” said Kerrey who led the independent commission that investigated the attacks on the World Trade Center.The commissioner also said the Bush administration reduced the terrorism risk by invading Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden enjoyed sanctuary from 1991 to 2001. During that time, the U.S. government mistakenly viewed al-Qaida’s bomb attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 as “one-off incidents,” he said.”One of the big mistakes was that we kept the secret of Osama bin Laden from the people of the United States. … After Sept. 11 we realized we were in a war,” Kerrey said.Kerrey said another terrorism attack would likely be carried out by a lone entrepreneur with strong financial backing, rather than an elaborate network. The New York region would be a likely target because it is the nation’s financial and media hub, he said.Barry Zelman, 51, who lost a brother on Sept. 11, asked Kerrey why the federal government didn’t act on warnings of a possible terrorist attack contained in a 2001 White House briefing.It was the federal government’s failing in not taking bin Laden’s threat seriously, Kerrey said.”We had every reason to believe there was going to be an attack in the U.S.,” he said. “You could have hauled an AK-47 onto a plane on 9/11.”Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism