Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) testifies before a House Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the National War Powers Commission in Washington on March 5, 2009. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo
WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Leaders of the 9/11 Commission organized to examine the terror attacks nine years ago say the United States remains vulnerable to terrorist assaults.
Expressing frustration that more progress hasn't been made in the six years since the commission issued its report on terrorism, the panel's leaders told a House panel they were concerned about roadblocks to sharing intelligence, the inability of first responders to communicate on common frequencies and the number of congressional committees overseeing the Department of Homeland Security, CNN reported Thursday.
The 9/11 Commission, formally called National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was established in 2002 to investigate and report on the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
"We were advised the other day that we should all feel pretty good about the (federal government's) accomplishments," commission Deputy Chairman Lee Hamilton told the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday. "The problem, of course, is that the attacks keep coming -- over Detroit (on Northwest flight 253), in Times Square, at Fort Hood."
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean said the public has accepted inconveniences in the name of security.
"The public is with us," Kean said. "And so what we need is the technological and governmental will to get these things done and get them done yesterday."
But the "tougher problem" is Congress's inability to streamline its oversight of Department of Homeland Security, Hamilton said, noting department must answer to more than 100 committees and subcommittees.
"I know how difficult and sticky it is and what passion it arouses in Congress," Hamilton said. "You have to get your house in order."
Kean also urged President Barack Obama to revive the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, inactive since 2007.
"We got massive capacity now to develop data on individuals, and we need somebody to ensure that the collection capabilities do not violate our privacy and the liberties we care about," Kean said.
Hamilton on Wednesday also called for a national identification card, something not included in the report.
"The necessity of having an accurate identification is key to homeland security, I believe," he said.