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IN THE NEWS - 9/11 Commission Report - 2004-07-24

Broadcast: July 24, 2004

This is Steve Ember with In the News in VOA Special English.

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, better known as the 9-11 Commission, gave its final report Thursday. The document is almost six hundred pages. It follows twenty months of investigation into what went wrong on September eleventh, two-thousand-one, and how to prevent future attacks.

The five Republicans and five Democrats on the commission said they came together to present the report "without dissent." By agreement, copies are being sold through bookstores. The report can be read free of charge on the Internet.

Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton presented the report to President Bush. Mister Bush said he looked forward to studying what he called "some very constructive recommendations" by the commission.

The attacks killed three-thousand people. Al-Qaida hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the military headquarters at the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after a rebellion by passengers.

Chairman Kean, in public comments, said the United States government was not active enough in dealing with the terrorist threat. He said the commission cannot say whether any measures would have prevented the attacks. But Mister Kean said the Clinton and Bush administrations must share blame for not recognizing the threat.

The commission found what it called a "failure of imagination." It says agencies failed to share information and made mistakes. It says they missed ten chances to discover the plot. It also criticized Congress for poor supervision of intelligence gathering.

The report calls for the appointment of a national intelligence director and the creation of a new national anti-terrorism center. It calls for changes in immigration policies in an effort to keep terrorists out of the country. And it says the United States needs to do more through its foreign policy to reach out to moderate Muslims around the world.

The commission said it found no proof that Iraq cooperated with al-Qaida in any attacks against the United States. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. But the commission said it found no evidence of Saudi government involvement. Still, it said the United States must face problems with Saudi Arabia and, in its words, "build a relationship beyond oil."

The commission said the United States continues to face one of the greatest security threats in its history. It called for urgent action on its proposals. In Congress, House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he would ask for hearings over the next several months to consider possible legislation.

In the News, in VOA Special English, was written by Cynthia Kirk. This is Steve Ember.