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Friday, July 23, 2004

The New York Times > NEWS ANALYSIS > Swift Action on Advice From the 9/11 Commission Is Unlikely

By TODD S. PURDUM

WASHINGTON, July 22 - Months of unsparing study by the Sept. 11 commission and the Senate Intelligence Committee have now produced a broad consensus about two colossal intelligence failures: the missed opportunities that left the United States open to attack from Al Qaeda and the misread clues on unconventional weapons that sent American troops to attack Iraq.

Together, those lapses amount to nothing less than the gravest dysfunctions in the national security apparatus of the United States since the modern Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency were created at the dawn of the cold war, and the commission has proposed perhaps the most extensive overhaul of those functions since then.

But achieving consensus on adopting the commission's recommendations will almost certainly be much harder. The partisan wrangling of a presidential election and the capital's entrenched resistance to change make swift action unlikely - despite the persistent threats that the commission's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, said make another attack not only possible but probable.

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