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Did You Know?

Did you know that in January 2001, the United States Commission on National Security, co-chaired by former senators Gary Hart (D) and Warren Rudman (R), delivered a report to President Bush and Congress concerning the threat of terrorism?

Did you know that the report "warned that a devastating terrorist attack on America was imminent and called for the immediate creation of a Cabinet-level [homeland] security agency"?

Did you know that in the spring of 2001, spurred on by this report, members of Congress introduced a bill to create a homeland security agency?

Did you know that in May 2001, President Bush shot this down? From Salon's interview with Gary Hart:

[I]n the spring of 2001, some members of Congress introduced legislation to create a homeland security agency. Hearings were scheduled. And our commission, which was scheduled to go out of operation on Feb. 15, 2001, was given a six-month extension so we could testify with some authority. Which we did in March and April.

And then as Congress started to move on this, and the heat was turned up, George Bush -- and this is often overlooked -- held a press conference or made a public statement on May 5, 2001, calling on Congress not to act and saying he was turning over the whole matter to Dick Cheney.

So this wasn't just neglect, it was an active position by the administration. He said, "I don't want Congress to do anything until the vice president advises me." We now know from Dick Clarke that Cheney never held a meeting on terrorism, there was never any kind of discussion on the department of homeland security that we had proposed. There was no vice presidential action on this matter.

In other words, a bipartisan commission of seven Democrats and seven Republicans who had spent two and a half years studying the problem, a group of Americans with a cumulative 300 years in national security affairs, recommended to the president of the United States on a reasonably urgent basis the creation of a Cabinet-level agency to protect our country -- and the president did nothing!

I didn't know most of this until I read the interview. Highly recommended.

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Did you know that in January 2001, the United States Commission on National Security , co-chaired by former senators Gary Hart (D) and Warren Rudman (R), delivered a report to President Bush and Congress concerning the threat of terrorism? Did you know th [Read More]

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