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Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

9/11 Commission Members Testify at House Subcommittee Hearing at LAX


Aug 6, 2004
Press Release

Los Angeles - Today, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks, CA), Ranking Member of the House International Relations Subcommittee on International Terrorism, and Nonproliferation, participated in a field hearing on the 9/11 Commission Report at the Los Angeles International Airport.  The hearing focused on the reports Chapter 12.2 recommendation: the U.S. needs to determine the places where terrorists are likely to find sanctuaries, prioritize them, work to deny sanctuaries to terrorists, and shut sanctuaries down where they do exist.

œThe failure of imagination leading to 9/11 was the failure to imagine the unprecedented -- a terrorist attack killing thousands of Americans.  Today our imaginations, and our policy focus, seems once again limited to preventing the precedented.  Our current failure of imagination is our failure to envision the hundreds of thousands of Americans who could be killed by nuclear weapons “ and our failure to focus on North Korea and Iran.

Sherman also criticized the press for focusing almost exclusively on the Commissions recommended changes to the organizational chart of the intelligence community. œIt would be comforting if we could ensure our safety by changing an organizational chart, said Sherman, œbut we cannot ignore the more important and more difficult to achieve policy objectives set forth in Chapter 12 of the Report.

The witnesses appearing before the Subcommittee included Commission members Richard Ben-Veniste, and former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton along with Ambassador-at-Large J. Cofer Black, Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department.

œFinally, I want to commend the Commission for something that others have criticized:  the supposed failure to suggest changes to our foreign policy design to placate al Qaeda in the hopes they will hate us less, said Sherman. œEven if the US abandoned its position and friends in the Middle East, we are still going to be their number one target because we exemplify on a grand scale a culture which competes successfully with the Taliban ideology.  We cannot placate the terrorists. We can only whet the terrorists appetite.  If we gave Bin Laden everything he says he wants, he will keep asking for more “ until we agree that Taliban policies should prevail everywhere. The U.S. needs to lead, not retreat, to defeat terrorism.