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Nadler Applauds Passage of 9/11 Commission Bill

Washington, DC, December 6, 2004
Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today applauded the House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan 9/11 Commission Recommendation bill despite opposition from members of the House Republican Leadership. In November, Speaker Dennis Hastert refused to bring the conference report to the floor after certain Republican Members insisted on politically motivated provisions that undermined civil liberties and extraneous provisions that the 9/11 Commission opposed. Rep. Nadler congratulated the conferees for standing firm to force a cleaner 9/11 bill through the House over the objections of powerful members of the Republican Majority. Rep. Nadler's statement on the 9/11 Commission Bill Conference Report follows:

"On September 11, 2001, 3 years ago, I watched in horror as America, and part of my district specifically, was attacked and destroyed. We will never know if these attacks could have been averted, but clearly 9/11 represented a colossal intelligence failure, or at least, the failure to act on intelligence properly.

In the aftermath of this national tragedy, it is our responsibility to strengthen our national security. We must reorganize and refocus our intelligence agencies to meet the challenges presented by the war on Islamic terrorists. The 9/11 Commission has done a tremendous job in gathering information about the events of that day, in carefully analyzing the data, and in making serious actionable recommendations.

Our ability to counter future attacks from Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups demands a bipartisan effort. Sadly, this Congress almost adjourned without acting on these recommendations to make America safer even though almost a month ago both chambers of Congress had enough votes to pass this legislation.

Unfortunately, the Republican House Leadership chose to play politics, and just before Thanksgiving, decided that our national security could go on vacation.

America could have been safer earlier.

In the end, the conferees have stood firm and forced through a better bill that doesn't contain a number of egregious immigration provisions and threats to due process that would have gratuitously eroded constitutional rights and civil liberties -- provisions that were contained in the House bill that I voted against.

I do have some reservations about this bill since it does not implement a few of the core recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. For example, despite the recommendation that anti-terrorism funding be distributed based on risk and not on state formulas or pork barrel spending, this bill does nothing to improve the allocation of homeland security grants. In addition, the Civil Liberties Board created by this bill to guard civil liberties in a time of terrorism, a complex and difficult task, is not granted sufficient power to do its job. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the coming months to ensure that the Civil Liberties Board is provided subpoena power so that it can engage in effective oversight.

Nevertheless, I support this legislation because, overall, it is a bold step to reform the flaws in the way our intelligence community works. I congratulate the conferees for moving a bill forward that is more consistent with the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission."

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, including the site of the World Trade Center.

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