This is a new article. As such is has been set to unassessed. This article has been assessed as havingUnknown importance.
Good scope? Timeline? wikified? + red links < 10? all red links fixed? referenced? Illustrated? Googled and added info? Checked 9/11 records archives? Checked Wikinews? Checked Wikisource?
PROCEEDINGS CHAIRMAN KEAN: The official start of our first public hearing is going to be an extraordinarily important job, we believe, for the country. In my capacity as the Chairman of the Commission on Terrorist Attacks in the United States, I am honored and humbled to convene this first public hearing.
Since my colleagues and I were appointed at the turn of the year, many people from all walks of life, and actually from other nations even, have inquired about our work. And many offered their help. What they really wanted, however, were answers.
Their questions fall into three basic categories: First, they wanted to know what led to the terrorist attacks upon our country September 11th, that took the lives of almost 3,000 Americans and forever changed the lives of millions of others. There was not a person alive that day whose life was not changed in some way by September 11th.
Those who perished in those attacks or those who were wounded had done nothing to warrant it. They were going about their business. They were doing their jobs. They were flying to see family or to conduct business or to spend time with loved ones or going or returning from vacations.
They didn't personally know their assassins. Those who attacked them had no particular human target in mind. They just wanted to kill as many people as possible. They didn't care who the victims were. All they had to do to warrant their killing and maiming, they wanted to target buildings or certain airplanes.
Most of whom who died or were injured were Americans. The deceased and survivors were of all backgrounds, races, religions, creeds and even nationalities. They only had one thing in common. They were all at the time doing their best to keep ours, the finest, strongest, most productive, creative, diverse and welcoming democracy that has ever been created on the face of the earth, and, you see, that's what the terrorists sought to destroy.
They wanted to extinguish the very freedom, vitality and diversity that characterizes the American way of life and makes it the bastion of hope for so many others in the world.
And they sought to do this by killing thousands of our people, disrupting the life pattern of this country as a whole, and by instilling what they hoped was fear, not only in our nation but in all nations that allow ideas to compete freely and fairly in the open marketplace.
The American people want the answers to so many questions around 9/11. They want to know who were these people and how could they have done this terrible thing to so many innocent people. What kind of fanaticism drove them to do this?
They also want to know how such a dastardly attack could occur and succeed in a nation as strong as ours, militarily, economically and technologically. They want to know what, if anything, went wrong on that specific day, what evidence did those charged with safeguarding the security of us all, what evidence did they have that might somehow have averted this tragedy and how did they use it.
What evidence then was available? What could have been done to avert this tragedy? What if people had acted differently on that day and the days leading up to September 11th? And finally, most importantly, they want to know what can be done to prevent future terrorist attacks of this scale and how can we make this country safer for all its people.
In conversations I have had with family members of people who perished in the attacks against the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in that plane crash in a small field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, they told me time and again that the one thing they were concerned about was to make sure that their loved ones had not died in vain.
It's horrible enough to see someone you love struck down in this manner. It would be even worse for the rest of us to do nothing to prevent other families from having to endure such grief and pain in the future.
As Chairman of the Commission, I want to say that I consider this task the most important part of our work. We must not allow the people who were struck down to simply become statistics. Each represented a life that was interrupted. All had families, colleagues and friends who care deeply about them, all who perished had dreams that are now unfulfilled. All became the first casualties of what has become a war against the United States, declared by international terrorists.
The victims did not know, when they said good-bye to their loved ones when they departed for work or the airport on that fateful morning, that they would be part of such a war. They had no weapons and they didn't even know the identity of their enemies.
We will, I know, in this country construct memorials, and we should, to honor these people, but the greatest service we can pay those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who survived the blaze is to do all we can to assure that no one ever again experiences the kind of anguish that they endured.
I know there's nothing we can do on this Commission to bring anybody back to life, but those who were taken from us on September 11th, we can work to assure that no future families suffer in this way, the way so many people have suffered. And this is what our Commission intends to do.
I want to say a word or two about the purpose of today's hearing. In the parlance of Congress, this is not an investigative hearing but an informal one. Today we will not, as we'll be doing in the future, be cross-examining witnesses. The Mayor and Governor are coming. They are coming to welcome us. We will have questions for them probably later, but today we will not be doing that.
We will be doing that on, as I say, a number of other occasions. And some of our meetings will be in public, some will not be in public because of the kind of sensitive materials that we will be dealing with. On those occasions, we will be able to have extensive discussions with many people who will be testifying today and tomorrow.
On this first day of our hearing, we will be seeking to ascertain what those who feel a personal stake in our deliberations think is important for us to study.
We will hear from people who have lived and survived the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We will hear from representatives of families of those who died in those attacks. We will hear from the governor of this great state and the mayor of this great city. And finally, we will hear from a number of others who have a particular interest in the events of that terrible day.
Tomorrow we will hear from people who have particular expertise in national terrorism, the kinds of actions that made the attacks on September 11th possible, and the kinds of measures that might be taken to avoid such future events.
Before I turn over the floor to our Vice Chairman, Lee Hamilton, I want to say a couple, two additional things about what this Commission will and will not attempt to do and something about the Commission itself.
As I said, our purpose is to find out why things happened, how they could have happened, and what we can do to prevent their ever happening again. We will be following paths and we will follow those individual paths wherever they lead. We may end up holding individual agencies, people and procedures to account.
But our fundamental purpose will not be to point fingers, it is rather to answer fully the questions that so many still have and, most importantly, as I say, to prevent and to do everything we can to make the American people safer so we will not have this kind of thing ever happen again.
As we were getting ourselves organized, I asked members of the Commission staff, were there any precedents for what we were about to do. And I came forward with two commissions. Both came into being in the aftermath of other national tragedies.
Those who are old enough to remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the assassination of President Kennedy remember those commissions well. Neither fully satisfied the hopes of those that created them.
It seems there are no real precedents for what we're about to attempt. To succeed, we are going to need the cooperation of the Congress, the national administration, federal, state and local law enforcement and other agencies, think tanks, foundations, university professors, business, industry and labor, survivors, witnesses, and ordinary citizens. And I thank them in advance for their help.
Finally, about the Commission itself: We were created by the United States Congress for a specific purpose. I have outlined in a general way what we hope to do. The Commission operates in a strictly nonpartisan nature. Five of us happen to be registered as Republicans, five of us as Democrats, but we're not going to operate as party members, and the staff is not partisan.
All of us, in one capacity or another, have served in government. None of us still do. None of us have any agenda but getting to the truth to make ours a safer country.
I want in particular to single out the Vice Chairman of this Commission, Lee Hamilton. I have long admired Congressman Hamilton for his public service, in the truest sense of the word, and what he has done for this country. I am very honored to be able to serve with him on this particular Commission.
Today marks the first occasion when the American people will have an opportunity to see who we are. Each of us had our own reasons for accepting the call to serve on this Commission.
For eight years I have had the honor to serve as Governor of the State of New Jersey. I was born here in this great city, attended graduate school at Columbia, met my wife here. I've spent almost my entire life living and working around this region.
I remember when the World Trade Center was built. I must have been in it hundreds of times. I appointed half the commissions to the Port Authority when I was Governor. I was well acquainted with many of its employees and knew some of those who died on September 11th as friends.
As a private citizen, I sat on the board of a company who lost over 80 people on that terrible day. I delivered the eulogy at that memorial service. As a university president, I counseled students who were grieving on that terrible day and afterwards.
Not far from where I live, a young pastor of a rural church that serves no more than two- or three-thousand families told the local newspaper he had performed nine funeral masses on a single day. I didn't lose any member of my family on that particular day, but I did lose a lot of friends in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and that flight.
Adlai Stevenson said, when he learned of John Kennedy's assassination, each of us who was alive will carry the memory of that particular death until the day of ours. That is how we feel about September 11th.
Thank you, and I will now call on Congressman Lee Hamilton, the Vice Chairman of the Commission.
VICE CHAIRMAN HAMILTON: Good morning, Governor. Thank you for a very moving and eloquent statement.
Governor Kean is an inspired choice to lead this Commission. He's the only member of the Commission appointed by the President, and I commend the President for his appointment. The other members of the Commission are appointed by members of Congress.
I am very pleased to serve with Governor Kean on this Commission, as Vice Chairman, and I have appreciated already his remarkable leadership as I have talked with him over the phone every day now for the past four or five months.
I'm pleased and privileged to be joined by my fellow Commissioners. Each bring remarkable and unique experience from public service and from private life. They really are an exceptional group, a talented group, that gives me high confidence that this Commission will successfully complete its awesome task. Each of us believes that this is as serious an undertaking as any in which we have been involved.
The Commission exists to understand what happened on September 11th and to protect our nation against future attack. Our mandate is to look back, to learn the vital lessons of 9/11, to look forward, to make recommendations that leave the United States and its people safer.
Our primary task is to answer one essential question: What can we do to prevent another 9/11?
Our mandate is breathtakingly broad. After all, 9/11 was not simply a failure of a single person or department of government but rather a systemic breakdown of our government's defenses, our preparedness for catastrophic terrorism and our understanding of a new world in which threats develop an ocean away and strike us with horrifying impact within our own borders.
Thus, our mandate, as stated by the Congress and reaffirmed by the President, extends to many areas of policy. We are specifically mandated to scrutinize intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy, immigration and border controls, the financing of terrorism, commercial aviation, Congressional oversight of counterterrorism efforts and other areas that we, as a Commission, deem relevant.
In all we do as a Commission, we will strive to be independent, impartial, thorough, and nonpartisan. The Commission will provide a factual record of September 11, 2001, how events developed and how our nation responded, from the first responders at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, to the national leadership.
As the Chairman has already said, we will also seek a better understanding of the enemy. How did al Qaeda emerge as a threat? How did our government's counterterrorism policy evolve? What have been our successes and our failures, and what are the broad foreign-policy lessons of 9/11?
I believe this Commission can and will make a significant and valuable impact worthy of the attention and scrutiny of the American people and policymakers.
Much good work has already been done on several issues before us. The Congressional Joint Inquiry into the intelligence failures of 9/11 has concluded its work and many other credible sources have analyzed the issues that confront this Commission, but the Joint Inquiry's focus was limited to intelligence and other inquiries have lacked the breadth of our mandate.
Now, some 18 months after that terrifying day, we still have no comprehensive analysis of 9/11, no authoritative record of the many forces that led to the attacks, no definitive narrative of the events of the day, and no set of recommendations to address the wide assortment of government policies and concerns related to the attack.
Today the Commission holds the first of its public hearings. The Commission is committed to public hearings such as these for two reasons.
First, we are revisiting a seismic event in American history and the lives of all Americans, and we are working on issues of the utmost importance to their safety and security. Thus, we are obligated to keep the American people as informed as we can of our work and our findings.
Second, the American people are our greatest resource. The success of our inquiry depends upon their intelligence, fortitude and good will. We will do our best to engage Americans of all walks of life to complete our work.
Today we seek guidance from individuals who can offer unique perspective and valuable vision. We will hear from the survivors of the attack who can relate to us the awful experience of that day. We will hear from the families of the victims.
Nobody suffered a greater loss on that terrible day. This loss both focuses and informs our work. The families offer a solemn reminder of the gravity of our inquiry. And through the knowledge they have acquired in seeking answers to their many questions, the families also are a very valuable resource.
We will hear from the first responders who were called to duty on 9/11. Their brave and extraordinarily capable example set this nation on a path towards recovery and their experience is essential to our understanding of the events of the day and our preparedness for future attacks.
And we will hear from public officials who coordinated this city and state's response. They too were on the front lines in their decision-making and marshalling of resources. We look forward to their wisdom on preventing, preparing for, and responding to terrorist attacks.
We step into a moving stream. We operate in the context of the war on terror, which includes operations abroad, some precautions already taken, with more under consideration, and a government that is reshaping itself to combat terrorism. And all the while, the threat of another attack looms. The urgency of our work is apparent.
Our staff, very ably led by Dr. Zelikow and Chris Kojm, represents some of the finest expertise in the country. We are establishing an office in New York, as well as Washington. We have contacted all the various agencies we will be working with in the coming months.
We have received assurances of cooperation from the White House and from the Congress. We have set a course, an infrastructure, to meet the charge of our mandate. And we have begun to review and build upon, not duplicate, the foundation of good work that has already been done by the Joint Inquiry and many others.
Our time is short and much work lies ahead. We have miles to go before we sleep. At the end of our work, it is my hope that we will have helped insure the security of the American homeland. What greater or more urgent task could there be than understanding this national tragedy and working to strengthen the safety of the American people?
All want this Commission to succeed. With the help of our witnesses today and the many more to follow, we will produce a record that we trust will stand the tests of time, a record that heightens our understanding of the challenges ahead and sets our course, as a nation, toward peace and stability.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Congressman Hamilton. Now I'd like to introduce Commissioner Fred Fielding.
COMMISSIONER FIELDING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning.
At the outset, let me state how honored and awed I am to be a member of this Commission and to have the opportunity and privilege of working with the Chairman, the Vice Chairman and my fellow Commissioners.
It is a very onerous and huge task ahead of us, and I can only pledge to provide all the time, energy and skill I may possess to the complete fulfillment of such important goals.
For my part, I come to this task with no preconceptions as to what we may find and no preconceived agenda as to what we may ultimately recommend.
I do, however, come with the anger and sorrow and the despair shared by others over the acts of 9/11 and over the loss we suffered to our national sense of domestic security and of the losses, the senseless and vicious losses, of friends and family and innocent people.
I personally lost a dear friend who was also the wife of a very close and longtime colleague and friend of mine. I also personally lost a delightful and most promising young law partner, Karen Kincaide. Her presence is so sorely missed at the law firm.
So I can't say that I am dispassionate and I can't say that I am totally objective about that day, but we all suffered losses in various and varied degrees. And that collective loss must be the motivation to be sure that everything is done to prevent this from happening again.
We must not rush to judgment, to be sure, but we surely must make judgments. As I see our mission, it is to carefully look to the past in order that we can then realistically look to the present and ultimately formulate credible recommendations for the future.
We must be fair and respectful and impartial in our work, but we must also be thorough and surgical in our pursuit of these facts. We must follow facts wherever they lead. There are no sacred cows in this endeavor.
We must be respectful to our institutions at every and all levels of government, but we must also honor the mandate given to us to be as thorough as possible in order to make the most relevant findings and recommendations.
I don't know where the facts will lead us when we seek to determine and to understand not only what happened on that horrible day but also how it could happen and how our government entities were then dealing with the threat that gave rise to it.
And I don't know where the facts will lead us as we probe the various institutions of our government, federal, state, executive, legislative, to determine how each of these institutions was poised and prepared to deal with other actions that could have possibly occurred or, God forbid, actions that can occur.
Further, we must probe to see if institutional oversight, pressure, or actions inhibited in any way the role or the degree of vigilance that was necessary.
To repeat the obvious, we don't know where these facts will lead us, but we will seek the facts and have them lead us to conclusions which then, and only then, can be the basis for realistic recommendations that will hopefully mitigate the possibility that we might again suffer the assaults of those who want to attack our way of life by attacking and terrorizing our citizens and our people in this country.
A word of self-imposed caution is needed. Probity, skill, intelligence, good judgment-they're all necessary to accomplishing our responsibility and should be the hallmarks of our conduct in our deliberations. But most important is our task of instilling in the public confidence in our objectivity.
Critics will look to any indicia of partisanship, divisiveness or disarray, and we must be vigilant to resist anything that leads to such a conclusion. History has shown that such actions, and especially things such as leaks of sensitive information prematurely, create the destruction of a commission's work and its vitality and, therefore, its credibility and its validity.
In today's world, I suspect no commission will ever be able to satisfy everyone by its work, but we must do everything we can to satisfy anyone about the objective way we operate. We have to have a shared commitment to an effort that is not only thorough but is thoroughly fair and thoroughly impartial and thoroughly nonpartisan.
Those who attacked us on September 11th wanted to usher in not a brave new world but a cowardly one, a world in which terrorists who envy our freedom and despise our values are willing to slaughter the innocent through any means at their disposal.
We have collectively learned this unwillingly, and at the cost of great suffering, great shock and great sorrow. We now have a challenge to prepare a report that will honor those who died on September 11th, their families and friends who remain, and all the Americans who are trusting us to help the President and Congress to guard against any such other attacks. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner. Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Co-Chairman, fellow Commissioners. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Like countless Americans, I felt the searing pain, shock and horror of the brutal September 11th attacks upon my fellow citizens and the symbols of American greatness and power.
Less than two weeks before the September 11th attacks, I brought my family to visit the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. Like tens of thousands of others on September 11th, I realized, there but for the grace of God go I.
In the intervening time since the September 11th attacks, we have learned a great deal about what happened on that day and the events leading up to it. In particular, we are grateful for the work of the Joint Inquiry conducted by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.
Congress has specifically instructed us to build upon the good work of the Joint Inquiry as we proceed with our investigation and develop recommendations for Congress and the President.
Yet the Joint Inquiry's full report had only just last week been made available to the members of this Commission who have their full security clearances. As of last week, most of the Commissioners and most of the staff had not yet
received security clearances.
I believe the scheduling of this hearing has had a salutary effect on speeding up the clearance process and I am gratified that the White House has now promised the funds necessary to carry out our work.
It is important that President Bush has publicly supported this Commission and its goals. The full cooperation of the relevant departments and agencies of the executive branch is essential to the Commission's ability to carry out its responsibilities. And the result of such cooperation will be a measure of our success.
I am pleased that in recent weeks the Commission has made good progress in hiring an excellent staff, capable of carrying out the ambitious agenda Congress has set out for us.
From an historical perspective, it would seem that the closest precedent to our assignment was the Roberts Commission , created by President Roosevelt immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Roberts Commission failed to address certain fundamental aspects of our unpreparedness at Pearl Harbor and was criticized by subsequent inquiries for serious omissions and impaired conclusions.
We must be thorough and diligent in our work in order to get it right. We have been given an historic opportunity to contribute to the public good and to provide a record that will withstand the test of time.
In fulfilling our responsibilities, it is imperative that we assess our vulnerability to terrorist attacks, and specifically, why we were unprepared for the attacks of September 11, 2001.
No department or agency in this administration, or any other, is exempted from our careful review. I do not, however, interpret our investigative mandate to be an invitation to engage in finger-pointing or to participate in the blame game. Rather, it is the essential precursor to a reasoned analysis of how changes and improvements to our security apparatus can and should be made.
I have had the privilege of meeting with representatives of families of citizens who died in the September 11th attacks. The loss that they have suffered is beyond measure, but their strength and determination will continue to keep our nation and this Commission focused on answering the questions posed by this tragedy.
The personal involvement of surviving family members was central to the creation of this Commission, and I welcome their continued involvement as we go forward with our work.
Among the many challenges facing our nation is the need for balance as we respond to the real and ongoing threat of terrorist attacks. While our focus on protection of the homeland is paramount, we must be ever mindful of the collateral consequences of measures which may threaten our vital personal and civil liberties.
There is no question but that we must factor into the equation of proper balance the capacity of our adversaries to exploit the protections afforded by our Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and due process of law to advance their nefarious objectives.
This balancing will be no easy task, but it is imperative that we get it right. And I hope this Commission will make recommendations that reflect the importance of that balancing.
In 1989, Justice Thurgood Marshall warned, "History teaches us that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency when Constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure."
Similarly, in 1995, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor cautioned, "It can never be too often stated that the greatest threats to our Constitutional freedoms come in times of crisis."
If the acts of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations who mean us harm result in a response that disproportionately curtails the personal freedoms and civil liberties that define our American way of life, then our enemies will have won a great victory without taking another life.
In conclusion, our Commission was created to operate outside the permanent structure of the three branches of government. In addition to the experience and judgment we can bring to bear to this assignment, we can offer another critically important quality, our independence and objectivity.
We can and must consider carefully the actions and roles of all three branches of government as they operate to respond to the threat of further terrorist attacks. We should offer objective, neutral analysis, with no pre-set agenda or allegiance to any agency or branch of government or political party. No lesser standard will satisfy our nation's expectation of this Commission. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner. Commissioner Slade Gorton .
COMMISSIONER GORTON: Mr. Chairman, the members of this Commission are charged by the Congress of the United States to produce a thorough and dispassionate history of the events, the individuals, the organizations and the ideas that led up to 9/11, together with the immediate response of American institutions to that attack.
I'm convinced at the same time that the members of this Commission are charged by our consciences never to forget, never to have at any place other than the forefront of our thoughts the individuals whose lives were lost in this attack and the far larger number of lives that were devastated by that attack.
We are charged by the Congress of the United States to analyze the structural and human failures that resulted in the failure of this nation's defenses, adequately or at all, to anticipate and to prevent this attack. We are told by the statute that created us to build on the work of the Joint Congressional Inquiry, which has done much good work but which recognized its own incompleteness and inadequacy.
I am convinced that one of the important aspects of this Commission's work is to examine what has taken place in the 18 months since 9/11 to prevent future such attacks. Have we changed our ways? Is our intelligence better? Are preventative measures in effect? Could we do a better job in the future than they have in the past?
Beyond that, however, I agree one hundred percent with our Chairman's remarks that we are to come up with recommendations as to future and additional changes, changes in the structure of our intelligence and law- enforcement agencies, perhaps more difficult, a recommendation of attitudinal changes with respect to the way that individuals in positions of authority respond and do their job.
And finally, I'd like to echo the remarks of my colleague, Mr. Ben-Veniste. The object of the attack of 9/11 was a free and open society which those attackers hated and wished to destroy.
An immense challenge before this Commission and before the people of the United States is to determine ways in which that free and open society can far better prevent future such attacks, with a full balance and respect for the values of that free society of individual liberty and openness.
This is in my view a huge task which I approach, I trust, with due humility in the hope and the expectation that the 10 members of this Commission will carry out this task not only honorably but effectively and with a result that causes the respect and the acceptance of the American people.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner. Commissioner Jamie Gorelick.
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning. Thank you, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, for your leadership of this Commission.
The first obligation of government is to protect its people. And clearly our government failed to do that on September 11th. As a country, we have since declared war on terrorism, but as those schooled in the art of war know, history is the best teacher.
And it is for that reason that our military, since the Revolutionary War when George Washington appointed Baron von Steuben to assess how our newly formed Army could do better, our military has consistently demanded, in meticulous detail, after-action reports of every military event so that in the future our actions could be informed by both our successes and our failures.
That principle has also been adopted in our civilian agencies by act of Congress. We have inspectors general in every civilian agency. And they know, as do their military counterparts, that our consistent history is a prompt, effective and, most importantly, unflinching review of our failures, even, even when it is hard to accept the truth.
Now there may not be perfect historical analogies to what we undertake here today, but we have a consistent history of prompt, effective and unflinching reviews. We have already failed to undertake this review promptly.
The statute establishing this Commission was not passed until nearly a year and a half after September 11, 2001. And we have, to be sure, encountered some obstacles in getting this inquiry off the ground. But we are now underway, and underway forcefully.
Whatever difficulties we encounter, I will dedicate myself, as I know my fellow colleagues will do also, to overcoming them because we have to. We must get this right. If we don't, we will fail to learn from our mistakes.
I am a native of New York. I am a long-time Washingtonian. The two communities that I call mine, where my children and my family and friends want and need to feel safe, are the ones that feel our vulnerability the most. So I come to this task with a great sense of urgency, which is underscored by my meetings and my communications with the representatives of the families of the victims.
In my career I have dedicated myself to a strong national defense, to a safe and secure domestic life, and to the protection of our precious liberties. And I pledge to those here and to those who have placed their fate in this Commission's work that I will bring every ounce of my energy and each of those perspectives to bear as we undertake the solemn obligations of this Commission's work. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner John Lehman.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning. In my career I have served in the Naval Forces, the National Security Council Staff, the State Department, as a diplomat, and as Secretary of the Navy.
In that last tour on my watch, I lost 241 Marines and sailors to a state-sponsored terrorist attack in Beirut. Most of those perpetrators today are still recruiting and training terrorists. Both of those states that sponsored that attack are still harboring and sponsoring terrorism. And it has been a continuing dedication on my part to see that the lessons that should be drawn from that experience are applied in government.
So far, that has not been terribly successful. But my experience in government has certainly taught me one great lesson, that the genius of our system is that we do learn the lessons of history. It takes us more time perhaps in our democratic methods than we would prefer, but I am a believer in the way our system, haltingly but inevitably, learns the lessons of history so that they are not repeated.
I think that our Commission is the ideal vehicle, the ideal catalyst, to see that the lessons of 9/11 are promptly applied, to see that they are not repeated as, unfortunately, our experience in Beirut has been repeated numerous times in the intervening decade.
And so I think you will see a very intense, a very active process in pursuing this investigation, in seeing that the recommendations of previous commissions, the longstanding and understood shortcomings in the organization of our government that have been identified by a number of previous commissions but never acted on, are going to be focused on and the new nature of the spread of international terrorism is understood and applied in concrete recommendations and proposals that will issue from this Commission.
And I'm confident that the Executive Branch in Congress, with the catalyst of this Commission's work, will see that those proposals are implemented and we indeed will learn the lessons of history and not repeat them. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner Lehman. We are going to interrupt the statements from the Commissioners because Governor Pataki has arrived. Governor, we welcome you. Thank you very much for coming.
GOVERNOR PATAKI: Good morning, Chairman Kean, Vice Chairman Hamilton, and members of the Commission. It's a privilege to be here before you this morning on behalf of the 19 million citizens of New York State. I have formal comments that you have before you, and you're welcome to make them a part of the record, but I would just like to reflect a little bit on my thoughts of September 11th.
Thank you for your efforts to make sure that every step is taken to make sure that America is prepared and proactive to try to make sure it doesn't happen again and if there are additional attacks against anyone anywhere in America, we're prepared to respond appropriately.
Of course, when I think of September 11th, the first overwhelming feeling I have is a sense of loss, a sense of loss of not just the hundreds of brave firefighters and police officers and Port Authority police officers, but also of the thousands of civilians, just ordinary people who went to work that morning with their normal dreams for a good day and a better future for themselves and their families.
You can't help but have a tremendous sense of loss when you reflect on the individuals, friends that I know and so many in New York whom we lost on that morning. But the second thought I have is one of overwhelming pride and a tremendous sense of the courage of those who faced unspeakable tragedy with such incredible willingness to sacrifice. And because of that courage, because of that willingness to sacrifice, the efforts of the terrorists on September 11th failed.
Now certainly they succeeded in bringing down two towers, two symbols of American strength and in the process killing thousands of innocent people in a way that has broken our hearts. But they didn't want to break our hearts, they wanted to break our spirit. They didn't want to bring down towers, they wanted to bring down our confidence and our freedom and our way of life.
And because of the way that ordinary New Yorkers responded with extraordinary courage, instead of seeing us divided and frightened, we saw us unified and inspired.
I can recall the morning of September 11th walking the streets of lower Manhattan and seeing in front of St. Luke's Hospital doctors and nurses lined up with gurneys. Maybe they were frightened because no one knew what might happen next, but their fear was overcome by their courage and their willingness to stand out in the streets of lower Manhattan in the hopes that injured people would be brought that they could treat.
I walked the streets of lower Manhattan. I will never forget turning a corner and seeing more than a block of ordinary New Yorkers lining the street. And they weren't lining the street to catch the subway uptown or to catch a bus out of town. They were lined up, in the midst of this fear and uncertainty, to give blood in the hopes that somehow they could help New Yorkers overcome this tragedy.
All of the superficial differences that on the morning of September 11th seemed so important, whether it was race or religion or politics or economic position, disappeared in the sense of unity and the sense that we had been attacked and we were going to get through this together.
And it was with extraordinary pride that I walked those streets of lower Manhattan and saw how yes, our firefighters and our police officers and our emergency-service workers charged into those towers with no regard for their own lives to save others, but also with the pride of the ordinary New Yorkers, who responded with such courage. And since that day that sense of unity and that sense of courage is something I believe still is very strong here in New York.
We are going to hear from family members who lost their loved ones on September 11th. Their courage, their strength, a year and a half later, is something that still inspires me and, I believe, still inspires Americans.
And we are going to rebuild Ground Zero in a way that makes it a symbol of the resurgence of New York and the confidence Americans have in our freedom, but at the same time, we're going to be respectful and we're going to never forget that almost 3,000 heroes were lost on that day. And we are going to make sure we have a memorial that is appropriate for all time and a symbol of courage and a symbol of the sacrifice those heroes made on that day.
As we watch the nightly news and now see the war against terror being fought in the Middle East, a lot of people say that, well, perhaps almost two weeks ago the first shots of that war were fired. In my view, the first shots of that war were fired September 11, 2001, right here in New York City.
In my view, the heroes and the martyrs of September 11th were the first casualties in that war, a war we're going to win. And when we win that war, New York and America and the world will be a safer place because of that.
Last week I had the privilege of being in Fort Drum, which is a military base in upstate New York, when the 77th Regional Command U.S. Army Reserve Unit was mobilized and on their way to the Middle East. I had a chance to talk to them and talk to their commanding general.
The 77th has suffered six fatalities in this war. They didn't suffer them in the Middle East. They suffered them on September 11th when firefighters, and a lawyer, one of them a very close friend of mine, died responding to that attack. And they are going over there with a tremendous sense of pride and a tremendous sense of mission knowing that their first casualties will not occur in Iraq. They occurred on the streets of New York.
So as we go forward, I can't help but think of the President's comments when he addressed the people of America on the eve of the war. And the President said, one of the points that has stuck with me and will always stick with me, is that this war against terror should be fought by our soldiers and our sailors and our Marines and our Air Force and not by our firefighters and police officers. That to me is an important lesson of September 11th.
I am sure this Commission, as it goes about its hearings and listens to so many people, will learn a lot of other lessons of September 11th. I thank you for your service. I thank you for your commitment and willingness to put in the time and the effort to try to do everything we can to protect the people of New York and to protect the people of America.
New York State government and I'm sure the people of New York stand ready to cooperate in any way we possibly can to help you on this important mission. Again, let me just say that when you think of September 11th, yes, we will never forget the sadness and the heroes, but let's never forget the courage and the strength that ordinary New Yorkers showed under extraordinary circumstances. Thank you and God bless you. Thank you, Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you, Governor. Thank you very much. I'd like to introduce Commissioner Tim Roemer.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd just ask permission to have my entire statement entered into the record so I can be a little bit briefer than the whole statement.
I am honored to serve with you, Mr. Chairman. You bring such a good bipartisan reputation to this Commission. I am honored to serve with the Vice Chair, Mr. Hamilton, with whom I served in Congress. And I'm honored to be here with the families that could have stepped away in their grief and their sorrow and instead participated in a process that helped bring us here today with the Commission.
We are here today because we love democracy. And in democracy, sometimes it is not easy to get at the facts, to ask the tough questions, to make people feel uncomfortable, to move paradigms and models from old ways into new ways, to take on the threat of al Qaeda, who wants to kill hundreds if not thousands of people and do it anyplace in the world, including in the United States of America.
We are here to get at the facts. And getting at the facts won't kill us, but not getting at those facts might. We need to make sure that we follow the clues and the evidence wherever they will lead.
Walter Lippman , a gifted and prolific writer, reminded us that "A central function of democracy is to allow a free people to drag realities out into the sunlight and demand a full accounting from those who were permitted to hold power."
As our Declaration of Independence proclaims, those holding power, "Deriving their powers from the consent of the governed" should be accountable to their citizens. That's what we are going to do on this Commission.
New York City is the appropriate place to begin this great task. Even before September 11th, at 12:18, on February 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in the World Trade Center, killing six people, injuring 1,000 people, and causing $510 million in damage. On June 24, 1993, the FBI arrested eight individuals for plotting to bomb a number of New York City landmarks.
Why did it take our bureaucracies, our intelligence community and our politicians so long to react to targets and clues and evidence that had been building and building and building over time?
A distinguished historian, Roberta Wohlstetter, wrote a superb book on Pearl Harbor. And the forward by Thomas Schelling is even more superb, and I quote, "It would be reassuring to believe that Pearl Harbor was just a colossal and extraordinary blunder. In fact, blunder is too specific. It was just a dramatic failure of a remarkably well-informed government to call the next enemy move in a Cold War crisis."
Today it might be some of the same words, a "well-intentioned but well-informed government to call the next enemy move." It was not a Cold War crisis and it wasn't the Japanese, but it was al Qaeda and it was an enemy that had declared war on the United States in 1998.
We need our agencies, our bureaucracies, our people to react with a sense of urgency, the urgency that we have in the war right now in the Middle East. We should have had this sense of urgency years ago.
When I have criticisms that maybe our Commission got off to a slow start, when I have criticisms of the White House, even reluctantly, in finally coming forward with some of the funding, $9 million instead of $11 million, through a new account instead of through a supplemental appropriation that should have gone through the United States Congress, it is not a personal criticism, it is not even a political criticism. It is because of the urgency that I feel that al Qaeda is coming after us again and again, and soon.
It is the sense of urgency that the country should feel, not only because of 9/11, but because of the impending and direct threat of terrorists that have changed their modus operandi from we "will cause damage and terror but not kill lots of people" to "we will terrify people and kill thousands of them to get their attention."
Let me conclude by saying, we should have three objectives: a full accountability in sunlight that this Commission asks the tough questions of our government, asks the tough questions.
In an unclassified finding of the Joint Inquiry that I served on, we asked, were other governments involved in funding the terrorists. We need to get to the bottom of those questions.
Secondly, the sense of urgency in this bond of the American people that we need to establish. Many commissions have made countless recommendations that sit on dusty shelves, going nowhere.
These recommendations, with this sense of urgency and bond with the American people, need to find their way to the President's desk and be signed into law so that we make this country a safer place and that they are not ignored at the end of the day.
We bury today not just someone from Hell's Kitchen or someone New Yorkers are proud of but somebody that all America is proud of and somebody I served with in the United States Congress, former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He gives us all the sense of urgency that we should have in our great work ahead.
He said in a Harvard commencement ceremony last year, and I quote, "The terrorist attacks on the United States of last September 11th were not nuclear, but they will be."
That is the sense of threat, of urgency, of love for democracy and accountability of our government that I hope this Commission will bring forward in a non-partisan, bipartisan way and get to the bottom of why this happened and how we make the country a safer place for every single American in this great country that we love so much. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner Jim Hoffman Thompson.
COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Mr. Chairman, thank you. I too am honored to serve as a member of this Commission and to serve with extraordinary people who have each in their own way contributed much to this nation.
I have always believed, as Commissioner Gorelick has already noted, that the first obligation of government, all governments, is to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
Here is the American bargain. Each of us, as individual citizens, take a portion of our liberties and our lives and pass them to those whom we elect or appoint as our guardians. And their task is to hold our liberties and our lives in their hands, secure. That is an appropriate bargain.
But on September 11th, that bargain was not kept. Our government, all governments, somehow failed in their duty that day. We need to know why. No one who was not there nor bound by family or emotional ties to the victims can completely understand the horror and still present shock of that day. It is incomprehensible. But as Americans, we are all victims of September 11th and the whole nation must be satisfied when we finish our work.
I remember watching the television news as I prepared to go to work that morning and saw the first plane crash into the World Trade Tower. And my assumption was that this was a grievous, horrible accident. By the time I reached the street and learned of the second plane crashing into the second tower, the whole world knew it was no accident.
A number of young people worked with me at our law firm. And by midmorning, when we made our decision to close our offices and send our people home, they asked if they could go home with me. Nobody wanted to be alone on September 11th. One young man and his wife and baby came to my house because I live on the seventh floor. They live in another building on the 12th floor. They felt safer with me, closer to the ground.
Several months later, when I was in New York, I stopped at Ground Zero, got out of my car, ran to the fence before the policeman could shoo me away, peered through the barricade and looked at that vast empty space. Space had replaced people and instruments of commerce. Others will fill that space one day with buildings and memorials and human life will flourish again there.
Our task is, to borrow a phrase, without fear or favor to fill that space with the facts, with the truth, and with answered questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner Max Cleland.
COMMISSIONER CLELAND: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I am deeply moved by the emotion and the dedication and the commitment of these fine Americans on this panel and the wonderful Americans in the audience toward finding out what happened, why and making sure it never happens again. So I'm honored to be among these wonderful people today.
Let me just say that 18 months ago, this city and our country suffered an attack like none we had ever experienced before. On that day we lost more than the thousands of innocent men and women and children who perished or were grievously injured. We lost more than the two great towers that fell, we lost our sense of safety and invulnerability.
Almost without question, we could and should have been better prepared, we know that, to protect our homeland against the terrorist assault. As in the final report of the Joint Congressional Intelligence Committee Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks found, "Prior to September the 11th, the intelligence community was neither well organized nor equipped and did not adequately adapt to meet the challenge posed by global terrorists focused on targets within the domestic United States. These problems greatly exacerbated the nation's vulnerability to an increasingly dangerous and immediate international terrorist threat inside the United States."
Because of this I believe the work of this Commission will not only affirm those intelligence deficiencies but will find corresponding lapses in border control, aviation security, and a host of other fields.
As a member of the 107th Congress of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and Commerce and Governmental Affairs, I participated in literally dozens of hearings which thoroughly delved within our unpreparedness for the terrorist threat. And I was pleased in some small way to play a role in the development of the Department of Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 , Maritime Transportation and Security Act of 2001 , and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 .
But I believe that this investigation will show that, as true of executive agencies, the Congress should have been and could have been better prepared and done better. It's not hard to see parallels between September 11th, 2001 and December 7, 1941. I am particularly sensitive to such comparisons because my father was stationed in Pearl Harbor after the attack. That attack had a profound effect on this country and on my family personally.
As a CIA-funded study of the agency's history reported, the intelligence community we had in place in 2001 was in many respects a product of the 1941 debacle, after which our national leaders had concluded "that the surprise attack could have been blunted if the various commanders and departments had coordinated their actions and shared their intelligence."
And boy, does that have a familiar ring. That was right after 1941. These sobering assessments led to the adoption of the National Security Act of 1947 which "attempted to implement the principles of unity of command and unity of intelligence."
In many ways that is what now, over 50 years later, we have been trying to do in the wake of the 2001 disaster. But there are some important differences between Pearl Harbor and 9/11 which also must be kept in mind as this Commission and the country chart our course on where we go from here. As shattering a blow as December 7, 1941, it was a military strike, aimed at military targets, ordered by the Imperial Government of Japan and coming at the end of a long period of tensions between the two governments.
September the 11th, 2001 was a terrorist strike, aimed primarily at civilian targets, in which the perpetrators were not acting for a nation but for a terrorist network. It's true that previous attacks, as has been stated, by al Qaeda, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the thwarted 1995 Bojinka plot in the Philippines, the 1990 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole should have produced, and amongst some governmental officials did produce, a heightened sense of urgency and attention to the new terrorist threat.
But these attacks were all either far away or of limited success or both. They were not enough to shake us out of our collective sense of invulnerability which was borne of the security long provided us by two great oceans and friendly neighbors for almost 200 years, since the war of 1812, without significant hostile foreign assaults on the continental United States, and by our more recent victory in the Cold War which eliminated the Soviet threat.
Thus, the pre-9/11 attacks by al Qaeda were not sufficient to make intelligence bureaucracy shed their turf-consciousness and their Cold War mentalities or our border-control agencies to overcome inertia and budget shortfalls or the airlines and airports to tighten security, even if it meant some added inconvenience to the traveling public or the executive or legislative branches to prioritize homeland security above other spending programs.
None of these things happened before 9/11. But all of them have occurred to at least some degree since then. It could and no doubt should have been different. If it had been different, some or all those who perished on that day would still be with us. Now at the very least, we do want to, for those victims and their families, make sure we're never again so ill prepared to defend our homeland.
But I say that those families and the sacrifices of their loved ones, that they have not have died in vain. The victims themselves have galvanized the public, the private sector and the government into action in a way which unfortunately would not likely have occurred otherwise.
And the surviving families members, many of them who are with us today, through your dedication, your persistence, and your untiring efforts, more than any other force, are responsible for this Commission, and thus have given us the grave responsibility and opportunity to help produce a more secure country for all of us as Americans.
However, if a false sense of invulnerability and security was our downfall on September the 11th, in many ways the current danger, in my opinion that we will succumb to what FDR called "fear itself." Continuing the quote, "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
That was from 1933. President Roosevelt was speaking, of course, of the fear of economic insecurity wrought by the great global depression of the '30s, but I believe his words still ring true these 70 years later as we confront "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified fear," of the global terrorism of the 21st century.
We must never again lapse into complacency about homeland security when the march of technology has made physical boundaries and international borders more and more surmountable and has expanded the destructive power of weapons to the point that small groups, or even individuals, can now inflict a degree of death and destruction heretofore reserved to great armies.
But if we are to prevail in this struggle, we must not give in to the terror of terrorism which is, after all, at once both the major weapon and the chief objective of al Qaeda and its allies.
The war against terrorism bears many similarities to the Cold War against communism, a war in which President Kennedy called on our country to "bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, in our struggle against the common enemies of man, tyranny, disease and war itself."
That is our challenge. We walk in that great challenge in the last half of the 20th century with firmness and strength but also with the patience and hope that JFK spoke of. We need a similar combination to vanquish the new enemy.
In my judgment, that is the task to which this Commission must dedicate itself, to assist the country in being neither complacent nor fearful in maintaining a sense of safety but not false invulnerability.
In closing, I'd just like to say a word of prayer and thanks to the great men and women of the Armed Forces of our country who, even as we meet here today, stand in harm's way, far from home. God be with them and bless them and their families. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much, Commissioner. I'd now like to introduce and welcome Mayor Michael Bloomberg of the City of New York.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: How about jobs and not rhetoric? How about saving human rights in this country?
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Governor, want me to start?
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Yes, please. I introduced you before. I will welcome you.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Thank you very much. If I need the introduction, I'm in big trouble here in this city.
Governor, members of the Commission, welcome to New York City. We hope you spend a lot of money and generate some sales-tax revenues while you're here. We could use you.
Your Commission has a broad mandate, that is, to look at the reasons why 9/11 happened, to consider the steps the federal government should take to make sure attacks like that don't occur again and to propose measures that would be taken now to prepare us to respond to future terrorist incidents.
Much of your work will focus on such important questions as how did terrorists get into this country, what should we do to make our borders safe, how were the terrorists allowed to learn to fly airplanes in our own country, how on earth could they get by airport security with the obviously unenforced and ineffective federal regulations, and how can we stop other acts of terrorism in the future. These are the issues for your Commission.
I want to focus on different but also important issues. I will describe our city government's reaction to the attacks to the World Trade Center, including our emergency response that day, our recovery effort in the days and months immediately afterward, and what we have done since in the areas of counterterrorism and preparedness.
Simply put, the terrorist attack on 9/11 was one of the darkest days in New York's history. It took the lives of 2,700-plus of our loved ones, friends and colleagues, including more than 360 valiant city firefighters, police officers and emergency workers.
It revealed our vulnerability to murderous plots formulated half a world away. It shattered forever any illusions that our vast ocean boundaries can protect us. But out of the devastation came one of our finest hours, defined by the heroism of those who rushed into the buildings to save others, the selflessness of New Yorkers who supported the recovery through acts as simple as lining up on West Street to say thank you to our emergency workers and the resilience of New Yorkers who refused to stop living their lives in the difficult days, weeks and months that followed the attack.
New York City has learned, and continues to learn, the lessons of 9/11. Today I want to underscore the need for an effective and ongoing counterterrorism partnership with the federal government.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Fire Commissioner Nick Scoppetta are with me today. They will make statements following my testimony, if you so desire, and are prepared to answer your questions.
As you know, I was not the mayor on 9/11. Our administration took office the following January. But the efforts of 9/11 have been a major focus of our administration over the last 15 months. We have examined the city's response to 9/11 thoroughly, and I can tell you that it was swift, massive, heroic and extraordinarily effective.
Within 10 minutes of the first attack at 8:46 a.m., 50 percent of the Police Department's Special Operation Units were deployed and were either at or on their way to the World Trade Center. By 9:00 a.m., before the second plane even hit, both the Fire Department and our Emergency Medical Service had command posts on the scene directing rescue operations. By 9:10 a.m., less than half an hour after the first tower was struck, 100 percent of the Fire Department's rescue and high-rise units had been ordered into action.
Police officers immediately secured the perimeter around the World Trade Center and police emergency-service units entered the towers to assist in evacuations. Department of Health officials started considering public-health effects and began contacting area hospitals to establish procedures for accepting the heavy influx of injured people that was anticipated.
Sadly, those numbers did not materialize. I say sadly because instead of the influx of injured New Yorkers, we experienced massive fatalities.
The professionalism of our rescue efforts and the bravery of those who carried them out is encapsulated in one statistic, some 25,000 people were safely evacuated from the World Trade Center that morning, the most successful urban emergency evacuation in modern history.
After the towers collapsed, the city's response was just as exemplary. Department of Sanitation officials at the recently closed Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, knowing they had heavy lifting and hauling equipment at hand, immediately made plans to send that equipment into Manhattan.
The offices of the city's Department of Design and Construction, or DDC, acted with equal dispatch, obtaining equipment from some of the city's major construction firms. Despite the fact that its command center was destroyed in the attack, the city's Office of Emergency Management, OEM, established a temporary command post. By the evening of September 11th, lights lit up the entire site while the search for survivors went on.
Firefighters worked day and night to extinguish fires that burned beneath the rubble for months. The Department of Design and Construction, along with the Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management, spearheaded interagency coordination among city agencies and with federal and state agencies and private organizations.
In the first five days alone, almost 3,000 truckloads of debris were removed. Over the next seven months, an average of more than 7,000 tons of debris, per day, was taken from the site. Barging operations were established at Hudson River Piers 25 and 26 to transport debris from Manhattan to the Fresh Kills Landfill, which was reopened to accommodate the enormous tonnage of material.
The recovery proceeded in a manner that made the search for human remains the highest priority. Work came to a halt any time it appeared such a discovery might be made. To date, the remains of 1,481 victims of that attack have been identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, an office that has led the nation in its use of state-of-the-art DNA identification technology.
The clearing of the site, which was initially expected to take years, instead took eight months. The work was not only accomplished much faster than expected but done under budget, without a single loss of life, with an injury rate far less than at an ordinary construction site, despite the unprecedented conditions in which the work was done.
Would you like me to wait while we finish? I'd be happy to wait until we catch up, soon as we finish briefing, then we can continue. It's quite all right. I have plenty of time, so I'd be happy to do it.
In retrospect, there is little this city could have done on 9/11 to avoid the tremendous loss of life that occurred so quickly after the attacks. The failure of airport security doomed the 2,700 poor souls who are no longer with us. However, since then we have taken it upon ourselves to learn everything possible from this tragedy.
Shortly after 9/11, the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company agreed to study, on a pro bono basis, the response of the Police and Fire Departments to the attack on the World Trade Center and to make recommendations for the future.
These extremely valuable consultant studies, which are available on the Web, complemented studies already underway in both these departments. And many of the consultants' recommendations were already in effect or were being implemented when the final reports were issued.
For example, at the NYPD, one of Commissioner Kelly's first acts was to establish a Counterterrorism Bureau and expand the department's Intelligence Division. Protective and other equipment issued to officers responding to possible terrorist incidents also was upgraded.
McKinsey & Company also recommended that the NYPD create a comprehensive disaster-response plan with the means to effectuate it, measures that have already be carried out. The McKinsey report concerning the FDNY was eloquent in its praise for the heroism and sacrifice of our firefighters.
It also focused on four principal areas;
operational preparedness, planning and management, communications technology and the provision of counseling and support services to members of the department and their families.
Since its release, the Fire Department also has appointed a Terrorist Advisory Task Force, headed by former CIA director, James Woolsey .
Perhaps the most encouraging McKinsey finding was that while the city's massive response was taking place downtown, the rest of the city remained protected with response times to emergencies elsewhere in the five boroughs barely impacted.
Other key agencies have also responded to the lessons of 9/11. The Department of Health has enhanced its bioterrorism surveillance, developed a Web-based system to communicate with medical providers in our city and is building a state-of-the-art bioterrorism laboratory.
Our Office of Emergency Management has an interim headquarters and is in the process of building a new permanent home. It has also coordinated a series of inter-agency preparedness exercises which have guided our city's response to the increased security needs occasioned by the current war in Iraq.
New York City, which unfortunately is one of, if not the primary potential target of a terrorist attack, must be prepared to both prevent those attacks and to respond quickly and effectively if they occur. Our administration is committed to doing just that.
We have developed an extraordinary system to guard and protect this city, and every day we're making those systems even more effective. We are developing the most sophisticated systems possible, both to prevent terrorism and respond to it.
Some 10 days ago I met with President Bush and the Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, to brief them on the counterterrorism measures the city has taken because of the war in Iraq. Our operation is known as Operation Atlas. Secretary Ridge later said, "There is no city in this country that does a better job of working across the board to prevent terrorism than the City of New York."
After 9/11 President Bush pledged $20 billion in federal rebuilding assistance to New York City and he has been as good as his word. We have also benefited from bipartisan support in both houses of Congress on this matter, but we now need additional help from the federal government to meet the high costs of homeland security.
New York City is the nation's financial capital and its communications nerve center. Protection for New York is protection for the nation. And the key to our city's ability to respond to any future terrorist attack is funding.
I am sure you're aware of the city's fiscal plight. We face a multi-billion-dollar budget gap for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. Much of that deficit is the result of the increased expenses and decreased economic activity created by 9/11 and its aftermath.
I urge the Commission in the most emphatic form possible to recommend to Congress that it appropriate sufficient monies earmarked to the cities most vulnerable to attack to help us defray the extraordinary costs of protecting our citizens and the whole country.
Specifically, we have requested additional funds for counterterrorism training, equipment and to cover the costs of our massive security operations around the city in the supplemental appropriation the administration sent to Congress last week. The Homeland Security Fund should be allocated on the basis of threat analysis and risk. Any other formula, for example by population, defies logic and makes a mockery of the country's counterterrorism efforts.
New York City has been targeted, let me remind you, four times by terrorists and the federal government cannot ignore our symbolic value, recent history and common sense as it works to increase homeland security. To argue that most other cities have comparable threats is just ridiculous.
New York City, to put it into perspective, is estimated to receive between 8 and 11 million dollars out of the 560 million dollars from the last Homeland Security distribution. At some point politics has to give way to reality. If we distributed monies to the military this way, our troops in Iraq would have bows and arrows to fight with.
I want to close with some comments on another problem that deserves your attention and that of our policymakers. It is how to deal with the massive destruction and personal injuries that can result from a terrorist attack.
New York's response to 9/11 was truly extraordinary. Within hours of the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, the city government and private companies had equipment and personnel at Ground Zero to undertake the massive recovery and debris-removal operations that were necessary. The city and these contractors stayed there until the end and did so selflessly and without a thought to the consequences.
However, in the real world there are consequences, and one of those is lawsuits. The city and the private contracting community are now aware of the risks we took on without the benefit of federal protection to cover our operations. It took over a year and a special act of Congress for any significant insurance to become available to protect the city and private contractors from such lawsuits arising from the cleanup operation.
And the insurance provided is billions of dollars less than sought in lawsuits already filed. Personal-injury claims regarding alleged long-term health damage could bankrupt our city over the next 20 years. Congress must give us retroactive indemnification or the drag on the national economy from New York's economic burden will ruin opportunity throughout all 50 states.
Knowing what we know now, it is imperative that a federal indemnification plan be enacted that would insure municipalities and private contractors so that in the future, when we respond to a terrorist attack, we will be protected against the inevitable lawsuits.
The attacks on 9/11 were attacks on the United States, not just the City of New York. We cannot afford the substantial risk that, in the wake of another terrorist attack, a municipality or state will feel it has to wait for the Army Corps of Engineers to do the necessary work or private companies will feel they have to refuse to provide assistance until and unless a statute is passed giving them protection.
Therefore, the Commission should urge Congress to enact a special indemnification or insurance program for governmental entities and their contractors who respond to such an attack to insure that FEMA can and will fund significant intermediate insurance coverage to such governments and contractors. Without Congressional action, the nation will be unprepared to respond to the destruction created by any future terrorist attacks.
Despite their extraordinarily busy schedules and the work they're doing right now to meet the heightened security concerns accompanying the war in Iraq, Commissioners Kelly and Scoppetta are here to answer any questions you may have.
Before turning over the floor to you and to them I want to conclude with this thought: You are charged with performing a great service to this nation and we all want to do what we can to remember those who perished on 9/11 and those who so selflessly toiled for the days and weeks and months thereafter.
We must learn the lessons of that terrible day and make sure that this city and other cities in our nation have the communications systems, the well-trained personnel and the federal assistance we need to prevent and respond to such attacks in the future. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you very much for your comments. We did not expect Commissioners Kelly and Scoppetta -- excuse me?
MR. SCOPPETTA: Scoppetta.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: -- Scoppetta this morning.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I thought it would be easier with all of us here, since one of the keys is to make sure that we have all the departments cooperating, so I thought that if we all testified together, it would give you a better opportunity to understand just how well prepared this city was and is.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: We'd be delighted to hear. I know we have a panel tomorrow at which representatives from your departments are going to take part. We would be delighted at this point to hear Commissioner Kelly and Commissioner Scoppetta, any comments you would like to add to the Mayor's.
MR. SCOPPETTA: I think we just can answer questions, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner?
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Mr. Chairman, I apologize, Mayor, I was asking the staff if this meant that we would not have their expertise and their insight and their counsel tomorrow.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Keep in mind that neither were commissioners when the attacks occurred, or in the first three months. They're really only able to testify to the city's response after 9/11's aftermath, starting January 1st, when they took the lessons that we learned and actually tried to implement them.
And for the last 15 months, they have been working very hard to increase this city's preparedness to any future attack, but certainly more than that, to focus on preventing an attack. People talk about first responders, these are our first preventers.
And the city is well-served by the NYPD and the Fire Department, not only to prevent possible terrorist attacks, but if you take a look at the murder rate and the deaths from fires continues to decline and has precipitously in the last 15 months, that's their job and they do it very well.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: But Mayor, my question was, will they still be available to us tomorrow at the 1:30 to 3:00 panel?
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I thought I would make the head of the Department of Design and Construction, Ken Holden, available. He's the only one in the administration that was running an agency then and was onsite, and he can add a lot. I think if there were specific questions, unfortunately, both of these guys have an awful lot to do, so I thought if we all came, we could avoid wasting their time.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Congressman Gorelick?
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Let me say this. Ray Kelly is probably the best-suited person in this country to talk to us about the coordination that is taking place in real time between our localities and the various agencies of the federal government.
I had the privilege of working with Ray when he was in the federal government in various capacities, and I know that he's deeply involved with our federal agencies. I would find it enormously helpful if we could have a session with you at some later point to talk in detail about how it is working for you in the city.
I would love to hear a general statement now, but to Commissioner Roemer's point, I think we could learn a great deal from you, if you would make yourself available to us, I know you're incredibly busy, but if you could make yourself available to us, give us a sense of how the various elements of the federal government are relating to each other and to you.
MR. KELLY: Sure, we can do that in the future.
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: But if you could characterize it now, I think it would be helpful just to get us started and locate it, if you would.
MR. KELLY: I think there's no question that state and local and federal agencies are working more closely now than ever before. We have an excellent working relationship, that is the NYPD does with both the FBI and the CIA, and also the state's Office of Public Security that is involved. We're much closer now than ever before. We have a free flow of information.
I don't think there's any question in my mind that we're not getting information certainly relevant to New York City on an immediate basis. Internally in the city, I think we're working much closer. Commissioner Scoppetta and I and the staff of the Fire and Police Department work closely together.
We now have executives assigned to each other's headquarters. We make available our helicopter assets to fire chiefs to survey the scene of major events or major fires. We are now able to communicate on a city-wide basis, an interagency-communication net that exists. I think it certainly needs further development. Commissioner Scoppetta can give you more specific information about their communications systems.
So just, you know, in a nutshell, there's much more communication, much more coordination than there has ever been before. Are there occasional hiccups? Yeah, but nothing really of significance. So I don't know how I can say it more directly.
We're getting the information that we think we need. We, for instance, have increased our Joint Terrorism Task Force component. On September 11, 2001, there were 17 investigators from the NYPD, on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, there are now over a hundred and they are working with the FBI literally throughout the world.
The CIA has been very forthcoming with information, as well. We have brought onboard General Frank Libutti, retired, a Marine Corps Lieutenant General, to head our Counterterrorism Bureau, and in that bureau is our Joint Terrorist Task Force component.
We have also brought onboard David Cohen, former Deputy Director and Director of Operations for the CIA. Commissioner Cohen is in charge of the Intelligence Division. He has really done a remarkable job pulling that together. We have our own Arabic speakers, Urdu, Pashtu, Hindi speakers that we've brought together, and again, in that construct, we work closely with the federal government, as well.
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: As we proceed, I think it would be enormously helpful if we could sit down with you and your team as we --
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I thought tomorrow we'd deliver a statement from both the Police Commissioner and the Fire Commissioner, a written statement, so that you can start going in that direction. And as you get more information and formulate specific questions, we'd be happy to answer questions.
COMMISSIONER GORELICK: Thank you, Mayor.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner Hamilton?
VICE CHAIRMAN HAMILTON: Mayor, I am very grateful to you and your colleagues for coming this morning. And what especially I appreciated about your statement was the specific recommendations you made.
Our task as a Commission, at the end of the day, will be to make recommendations to policymakers to prevent such attacks occurring again. And while you're here -- and I hope without taking advantage of you -- I would like to get from you what several recommendations you think are most important for this Commission to make with regard to the prevention of future attacks.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Well, funding for the people on the ground is perhaps the most important thing that Congress could do. In the end, it is the cop on the beat, it is the firefighter in the truck that does the work.
We can talk about policies, we can fund studies, but you need to get those people that do the work to be well trained, to have the equipment they need and to be fairly compensated. And you will only do that if you direct the monies to where the need is.
It is laughable, and tragically laughable, to think that a tiny city in another state is under the same kind of threat that New York City is or that if an attack were -- let us pray not -- but if an attack were to take place that it would have the same kind of effect on the entire country.
VICE CHAIRMAN HAMILTON: My point was prevention, your point is protection. Your point is very, very important and very valuable. And I think your experience in New York City can teach us an awful lot about how we respond to terrorism and how we can protect against terrorism, but is there anything that comes out of the New York City experience that can guide us with regard to the prevention of terrorism?
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: We have a thousand of our police officers on intelligence. The New York City Police Department has its own police officers in major cities around the world so that we get intelligence. What you see under Operation Atlas, a group of heavily armed men and women in police uniforms all of a sudden show up and then go someplace else totally unexpected, that is a preventive thing.
VICE CHAIRMAN HAMILTON: Are you comfortable with the amount of intelligence you get from the federal government? Is there good coordination with our intelligence agencies at the federal level and your intelligence agencies?
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: As the Commissioner said, that in terms of information that references New York, Commissioner Kelly is comfortable that we get it virtually instantly. The problem with intelligence is there's so much and it tends to be
so unspecific that there isn't a direct answer to your question.
Only in retrospect can you look back and say whether or not you had too few assets deployed. We will never know whether we had too many, but we have an obligation to prevent, to protect, and if need be respond to the public, not just terrorism from terrorists, terrorism from criminals.
There's lots of different things that all of our security agencies, law-enforcement agencies, Fire Department, medical people, have to respond to every day. Not everything is caused by terrorists.
I think we're going in the right direction. We have a commitment to provide the level of security that we believe is adequate. It is not as much as we would like. I'd love to have a firehouse on every corner. We can't afford that. I'd love to have a police officer stationed in the lobby of every building. We can't afford that. We have to deal with the economic realities of the world.
Having said that, we will provide the level that our senior management in police and fire think is appropriate to make this city safe. And the consequences of doing that are that we will have to, unfortunately, not do many of the other things that the people of this city and this country need, due to the limited resources.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Commissioner Ben-Veniste?
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Mayor Bloomberg, I thank you for your pledge of full cooperation, and we will certainly take you up on it. I would like to congratulate you on your selection of my old friend and colleague, Nick Scoppetta, to be Fire Commissioner. And I see Ray Kelly, who I have had the privilege of meeting with in the past.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Let me also point out that we have our Corporation Counsel here, so out of the four of us up here, three are lawyers.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Not a bad thing.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: It depends.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Let me ask Nick Scoppetta this question, and one we will continue to think about, and that is the relationship of the federal and state and local systems working together.
Traditionally, there has been a criticism that federal agencies and particularly our domestic law-enforcement agencies, the FBI, has treated state and local authorities in a manner involving a one-way street of information. Many criticisms have been laid to that situation.
And let me ask both Commissioner Scoppetta and Commissioner Kelly whether, in the post-9/11 environment, you see any improvement in the flow of information from the federal government to the state and city authorities.
MR. SCOPPETTA: I think Commissioner Kelly is in a better position to address that question. And I'd like to start by saying that we rely heavily on the Police Department, and I in particular rely heavily on my contacts with Commissioner Kelly, which are frequent and
continuous. And there has been more than one occasion when he has called me directly to discuss a piece of intelligence that we then jointly acted on.
I will say that I think I have never seen better cooperation and coordination between the various city agencies that might be called upon to first responders and, in particular, fire and police. We have done four joint exercises together.
We have, as Commissioner Kelly mentioned, executive liaisons at each other's headquarters that report there every day. We have a high-level working committee, our chief of the department, our chief of operations and their counterparts in the Police Department meet on a regular basis.
And so there is a lot of coordination and cooperation and joint planning with police and fire, which is the thing that concerns me primarily. And the relationship with the FBI and the other law-enforcement and intelligence communities on the federal level is one that Ray
Kelly has I think a very good relationship with. And we rely heavily on police intelligence.
MR. KELLY: I have been in law enforcement a long time, both on the federal and the local level. And clearly there were some issues in the past with the flow of information.
I can tell you that has changed significantly in the aftermath of September 11th. I think the Patriot Act also has changed it. So there were some restrictions placed on the federal agencies restricting them from talking to other agencies, and indeed talking to local agencies. That has changed.
There is a palpable difference in their approach to doing business. They want to get that information out. They are getting it out. Again, we're commingled, you might say, on the Joint Terrorism Task Force level, as never before, with a number of investigators that we have assigned over there.
So in terms of the flow of information, it is much, much different, much better than it was prior to September 11th.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: But let me also add that it is not just police and fire with this kind of terrorism that you saw on 9/11. Our Office of Emergency Management, our Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, our Medical Examiner's Office, our Department of Environmental Protection, all of those agencies meet virtually every day, have contacts, either in person or over the phone.
The threat to this country and the threat to this city of an attack on our water supply or a bioterrorism threat or a chemical threat, those are the kinds of agencies that would have to recognize threats, occurrences, when they take place, which is not easy to do.
You don't just wake up and say, oh, we have a bioterrorism threat or an attack. It's over a period of time that you build information to say, hey, we must have been attacked days ago. That's the way bioterrorism works. And it is having scientists, researchers, personnel on the ground that look and have their eyes and ears open and exercise common sense and have the interdisciplinary as well as interagency coordination. I just cannot tell you the amount of research that is done every day to make sure the city stays safe. And it's not just looking for the kinds of acts that are obvious once they take place.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: Let me follow up in one way. And I'm gratified to hear Commissioner Kelly's statement with respect to cooperation from the FBI and other intelligence-gathering agencies of the federal government.
Are there specific areas where you feel improvement still needs to be made?
MR. KELLY: I think it's something that has to be worked on every day. You have to be aware of it and be conscious of it every day. We don't want agencies to fall back into old habits. And I think that it is very important at the top, certainly here in this city, we have a great working relationship with the Assistant Director of the FBI, Kevin Donovan.
It's something that you have to focus on and use. You just can't let that slip. So I can't think of a particular area where we would want to say we need more information in that area.
I think it's general approach. People want that information to go forward. Quite frankly, they don't want to be caught holding onto information that should be disseminated. So people now see it in their interest to move that information forward.
COMMISSIONER BEN-VENISTE: I appreciate that. And we look forward to you continuing to think about these issues and to advise us of where we may be helpful in making recommendations for even further cooperation.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: We'd better move on because we have two more Commissioners with questions. I know we're going to deal with this subject more tomorrow. Commissioner Thompson and Commissioner Roemer.
COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I'd be interested, Mr. Chairman, in hearing from either Commissioner about their opportunity, if one has presented itself -- I know that they have been extraordinarily busy with their New York duties -- in passing on to their peers in law enforcement and firefighting across the United States and other large metropolitan areas the lessons that these departments have learned, or if they have not yet had that opportunity, whether they plan to do that in the future.
MR. SCOPPETTA: A lot of our people have spent a lot of time since 9/11 traveling to other jurisdictions, talking about our experience, talking about the lessons we have learned. And in fact, when we had the McKinsey study done of our response on 9/11, the McKinsey people and our senior chiefs traveled across the country, both talking about our experience and trying to learn something from other jurisdictions. That was extremely useful. So there's been a lot of that.
MR. KELLY: We have done some of that, but quite frankly, our focus is right here in New York. There's an opportunity cost when you take your senior leadership and maybe send them to other jurisdictions. I think people are welcome to come here to New York.
I think the Mayor proposed that perhaps even there is a possibility for us to maybe have some lessons given and perhaps some money can come our way as a result of that, but quite frankly, we are focused on New York and protecting this city. So we haven't done as much of that, I guess, as we could have.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I did volunteer to the President and to Secretary Ridge, that we would be happy, financing and time being available, to share lessons which we learned here with other municipalities. Keep in mind that New York, because of its size and density, is somewhat different than any other city, even the other very large cities.
To put it in perspective, our police department is bigger than the police departments of the next four largest cities in this country combined. So we have a different problem.
Forty percent of our population was born outside of the United States. There is roughly 140 different languages spoken here in New York City. So when another city might look for somebody that speaks a language, we probably have a hundred people in the Police Department that speak that language.
We have a service where you can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to interact with municipal government. We have identified 170 different languages that we could take your question in and give you a response.
I will say that when we had the terrible tragedy of 9/11, this country responded to help New York in ways that New Yorkers will forever remember and forever be grateful. And I said to the President and to Secretary Ridge, if we can find the funding and the time, perhaps there are some ways that we can, in a small measure, by helping the rest of this country, say thank you for their outpouring of support back then.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Thank you.
MR. KELLY: I just want to add one thing, I'm sorry, Governor. We do have an excellent working relationship with the senior staff of the Chicago Police Department. They did visit here with us and we have sent representatives there. So I know you might have particular interest in Illinois. I wanted to emphasize that.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Congressman Roemer.
COMMISSIONER ROEMER: Commissioner Kelly, you not only hit right away on one of the Governor's concerns, you hit absolutely on the mark in your two minutes what the United States Congress looked at for 12 months in the Joint Inquiry with regard to what are the two key issues to make sure the federal government is sharing information with local Police Departments and Fire Departments and intelligence agencies.
The two key issues that we found, and I wish you would comment on them, are one, how do we make sure the people in your department get clearances. The Governor of Virginia, Jim Gilmore , eloquently complained to Congress that he wasn't even cleared, as a governor, to get certain information. And how do you then make sure that you get the information to you and your top people.
The second issue is, as you again hit on and I wish you'd be a little bit more explicit about some ways we can improve this, is actionable intelligence. How do we improve the specifics of that information to you the first time, if not the second time, to give you the right information that can help you prevent some kind of terrorist attack from taking place?
MR. KELLY: I think the granting of clearances is a real issue. It is still an issue and it obviously has to be handled on the federal level. There has been some give in the granting of interim clearances, but it just has to be speeded up.
And we are on the receiving end of that. I think the Mayor and I have had some discussions about that. The background checks are extensive. There's some archaic regulations.
I myself have not been, I've gone through the nomination process twice. And when I was in the federal government, I moved from one job to the other requiring another clearance process. That whole thing had to be done again, even though I was sitting in an office. I was an Undersecretary moving to the Commissioner position. I had to go through the whole process again. It simply did not make sense. So I think that we just need give in that regard.
As far as actionable intelligence, the problems, it just doesn't come in a neat package. It's not specific. We're not getting it as a nation with great specificity. It's not coming to us with specificity. We're getting bits and pieces and it's difficult for our intelligence agencies. And we work with them. It's difficult to put it together. There's no easy answer.
And you know, we can go back 30 years and all of these discussions that we've had about over-reliance on technology versus human intelligence, but that's what we're faced with now, that's what we get on a national level, that's what comes down to us on the local level.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Let me add to that. One of the surest ways to let the terrorists attack us again is for all of us to stay home, seal ourselves in, and let our economy and our lives fall apart because of a perceived threat.
America is a country that for 225 years has been willing to stand up, run risks, fight to make sure that we stay a democratic country and to try to help the rest of the world. And we have not gone back and hidden ourselves at home. We have to say, turn it over to the professionals and go about our business.
And this constant reaction to ill-defined terrorist threats can only damage our economy and prevent us from responding later on when a real threat does occur. And we have to be very careful that we don't go in the other direction in the interest of being able to show that we had X number of threats and we responded here, here and here.
The fact of the matter is, the public has to go on. This is, by and large, let us pray, totally, it is a safe country. And we have professionals certainly in this city, and I think, although I have a little less experience at the state and federal level, to prevent terrorist attacks in the future, let us all pray. In the meantime, we have to go about our business and our lives.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: The last question, Secretary Lehman.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Yes, thank you for your statement. I would really like to request at a subsequent opportunity that we get the city government's best recommendations with regard to a problem that was highlighted in the Joint Committee investigations and became a major criticism of the FBI in particular, and that is the dominance of the law-enforcement and prosecutorial approach to terrorist issues and the obstacle that that becomes in the sharing of intelligence, which may be evidentiary, and becomes protected as soon as an investigation gets going, and how you, at your level, can come up with procedures to insure that there is full sharing among all the offices in your government, as well as the federal government, even at the expense of perhaps weakening the evidentiary sanctity of a prosecution. That would be very valuable to us in the future.
MR. KELLY: I agree. I think that is an excellent point. I think it's an issue of culture. We need that change, again, in the FBI, and obviously the Department of Justice, That's their business, the prosecution. We are now forced to be in the preventive mode where we have to focus on stopping another event, preventing another event, rather than doing a retrospective examination of one of these horrific events.
It takes a lot of focus and a real culture change in those agencies. I think that Director Mueller is doing an excellent job in that regard, but it is a heavy lift, and he understands it. I've had these conversations.
COMMISSIONER LEHMAN: Do you think you have the right balance in the NYPD?
MR. KELLY: I think we have it in the department more so than perhaps on the federal level because I think we're literally at Ground Zero. There is much more of an awareness of the need for prevention than perhaps on the federal level. It's something we have to focus on, as well.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: And evidentiary considerations are not just for criminal prosecution. We live in a litigious society, and we have to continue day in and day out and pay the bills.
CHAIRMAN KEAN: Mayor, I want to thank you very much, Commissioner Kelly, Commissioner Scoppetta, Counsel, thank you for your time very, very much today. I appreciate it.