Monday, January 27, 2014

INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW FBI’S POST-9/11 RESPONSE TO TERRORISM, RADICALIZATION

My boss (Bruce Hoffman) tapped for a new commission.



               
INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW
FBI’S POST-9/11 RESPONSE TO TERRORISM, RADICALIZATION

Washington, D.C. (January 23, 2014) – Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the FBI, today said that former Attorney General Ed Meese, former Congressman and Ambassador Tim Roemer and respected national security expert and Georgetown University professor Bruce Hoffman have been appointed to serve on a commission that will conduct an independent external review of the FBI’s implementation of the  recommendations from the 9/11 Commission as well as consider how the bureau is addressing the evolving threat of terrorism today. 

Wolf authored the language requiring the review, which was included in the FY 2013 Omnibus Appropriations bill and reaffirmed in the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations that was signed into law last week.  The idea was first introduced by Wolf in 2011 in a stand-alone bill with Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

Wolf has been a longstanding leader in Congress on addressing the threat of terrorism.  In 1998, he authored the language creating the National Commission on Terrorism, also known as the Bremer Commission.  Its final report, released in 2000, highlighted the threat from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.  Wolf also served as chairman of this subcommittee from 2001-2006, and worked with former Director Robert Mueller to provide funding for the FBI’s post-9/11 counterterrorism initiatives.  Wolf’s northern Virginia district was home to many of those killed in the Pentagon on 9/11 as well as the first American killed in the war in Afghanistan, Michael Spann. 

“I cannot think of three more qualified individuals to serve on the commission,” Wolf said.  “They are all men of integrity and have significant credibility and expertise on counterterrorism policy.” 

Meese served in President Reagan’s cabinet and on the Iraq Study Group.  Amb. Roemer served on the original 9/11 Commission as well as on the House Intelligence Committee when he was in Congress.  Prof. Hoffman is a professor at Georgetown University and has served on numerous advisory committees for the intelligence community and think tanks.

Said Meese:  “As a former Attorney General, I understand the important role the FBI plays in addressing the terrorist threat.  It is imperative that as we move further away from the 9/11 attacks, we make sure the bureau is evolving to address the ever-changing threat from al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups.”

Said Roemer:  “Having served on both the original Joint Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission, it's the right time to make an independent review and carefully evaluate what we found about 9/11 and the past terrorist efforts over this decade. Did we learn properly and get everything? Additionally, we should turn the page to the new threats facing America, whether they are coming from Syria or cyber security sources.”

Said Hoffman:  “With the significant increase in domestic radicalization over the last five years, it is more important than ever to have an independent review of how the FBI is addressing this threat, as well as how terrorist networks abroad are radicalizing and recruiting in the U.S.”. 
   
Among the issues to be reviewed by the commission:

·         Progress made since 9/11 in transforming the FBI to address the threat of terrorism, including a review of how the 9/11 Commission recommendations have been implemented and the efficacy of these reforms. 

·         All information relevant to the 9/11 attacks and al Qaeda, especially new information obtained since the release of the 9/11 Commission’s report in 2004 – such as information in the documents obtained during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound – to ensure that the full story of 9/11 is understood and commission’s final report reflects the government’s most complete understanding and analysis of the 9/11 plot.

·         The evolving threat of terrorism to the U.S. and our interest abroad, with a particular focus on the threat of domestic radicalization, cyber terrorism and the spread of al Qaeda affiliate groups abroad. 

At the conclusion of the review, the panel is expected to make recommendations to the appropriate committees in Congress aimed at helping the FBI do its job even better. Wolf said that he has spoken to FBI Director James Comey on several occasions about Congress’ expectations for this review and expects that the FBI will provide all of the necessary resources, flexibility and information to ensure the final report to Congress is a comprehensive and substantial product. 

“This is not to be an exercise in finger-pointing or second-guessing decisions made by bureau officials over the years,” Wolf said.  “I know the men and women of the FBI work tirelessly to keep our country safe and today face more challenges than ever from a variety of threats, chief among them being terrorism and cyberattacks.  This review is designed to help the FBI, not criticize it.”

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