Democrats set to release new 9/11 Homeland Security report

RAW STORY
Published: Thursday July 20, 2006

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Update: Read the full report here.

The Democratic members of the House Homeland Security Committee will release a 33-page report today recommending changes in the wake what they see as failed implementation of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.

The report, leaked in advance to RAW STORY, is scheduled for release at noon and has the backing of all Democratic members of the House Committee. Politically -- while it comes from the powerful ranking Democrat from Mississippi, Bennie Thompson -- it provides evidence of Democratic efforts to strengthen their hand on security issues going into the November congressional elections. Thompson has traditionally eschewed the political limelight so the report carries more weight with the press than usual Democratic missives.

The 9/11 Commission's recommendations have vanished into the political ether amid focus on Iraq and less political emphasis on domestic security.

“While there has been some progress, many critical 9/11 Commission recommendations relating to homeland security remain unfulfilled,” the report declares. “We believe that the US House of Representatives to move to act upon these recommendations... to ensure that our nation is as secure as it needs to be.”

Among the key recommendations are increased vigilance in border security; stronger efforts to secure nuclear material in the former Soviet Union; enhanced airline security screening; and Congressional investigations into terrorist financing.

The report reiterates a regular theme of Democrats and civil libertarians: a renewed focus on balancing constitutional civil liberties with efforts of the war on terror.

Democrats will say in the report that many of their legislative attempts to improve security have been thwarted. For example, they cite efforts to provide $5 billion in first responder grants that were voted down by Republicans in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Republicans, meanwhile, have sought to enhance their position by focusing on Iraq. They say that Democratic calls for withdrawal signal a weak position on national security and say Democrats offer only a 'cut-and-run' approach.

Update: Read the full report here.