Statement of Congresswoman Lofgren on 9/11 Resolution
Media Contact: Heather Wong, 202.225.3072
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) today submitted the following statement to the congressional record on H. RES. 757, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks launched against the United States on September 11, 2001:
“Today I extend my ‘deepest sympathies to the thousands of innocent victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, their families, friends, and loved ones.’
“There is no doubt that I honor ‘the heroic actions and the sacrifice of United States military and civilian personnel and their families who have sacrificed much, including their lives and health, in defense of their country in the Global War on Terrorism.’
“’I [honor] the heroic actions of first responders, law enforcement personnel, State and local officials, volunteers, and others who aided the innocent victims and, in so doing, bravely risked their own lives and long-term health.’
I express ‘thanks and gratitude to the foreign leaders and citizens of all nations who have assisted and continue to stand in solidarity with the United States against terrorism in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.’
“There is no question that I ‘[discourage], in the strongest possible terms, any effort to confuse the Global War on Terrorism with a war on any people or any faith.’
“Today I reaffirm our ‘commitment to the Global War on Terrorism and to providing the United States Armed Forces with the resources and support to wage it effectively and safely.’
“As we all have done in this Congress over the last three years, I also ‘vow that we will continue to take whatever actions necessary to identify, intercept, and disrupt terrorists and their activities.’
“And, today I also ‘reaffirm that the American people will never forget the sacrifices made on September 11, 2001, and will never bow to terrorists.’
“Yes, I strongly agree with these provisions of the 9/11 resolution passed by this House today. However, I do not agree with other provisions that distort the facts and, in some cases, are simply false. Therefore, I cannot vote for this resolution.
“The Bush Administration has not ‘[strengthened] the authority of the Director of Central Intelligence to coordinate national intelligence activities.’ In fact, Congress is currently embroiled in that debate prompted by the 9/11 Commission Report, not by the Bush Administration.
“Yes, the Administration has finally ‘initiated . . . the Container Security Initiative, to extend our borders overseas and to secure and screen cargo before it is placed on ships destined for United State ports of entry.’ However, initiation of a program is a far cry from fully administering the program and contributing to our homeland security. The Container Security Initiative is, so far, a failure.
“The resolution gives us the false impression that the US-VISIT border security screening system is fully operational and ensuring our homeland security. Yet, the Administration has not even connected US-VISIT port of entry systems to a central database that can handle immediate screenings upon entry.
“Yes, as the 9/11 resolution states, ‘a multi-agency partnership, was established to integrate the dozens of separate terrorist databases’ after 9/11. However, three years later, we still have multiple watch lists. The FBI's Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) - designed to be the central repository for terrorist-related watch list information - is still not complete and linked electronically to all law enforcement agencies. The DHS's Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) competes with at least two other federal networks that are designed to share homeland security information between federal, state and local officials. State and local officials still lack basic federal security clearances needed to do their jobs. What has the Administration been doing for three years?
“9/11 is truly a day of solace, a day to remember the victims of 9/11, a day to give thanks to those who have sacrificed so much to keep this country safe, and a day to reaffirm our commitment to the war on terror. This is also a time to honor those we lost on that terrible day and those we have lost in the fight against terrorism since.
“The real way to honor those we lost would have been to do a competent job of preventing terrorism from succeeding again. But saying we have taken action is not the same thing as actually taking action. The representations about our successes in this resolution are mostly false. We should not lie to the American people about this.
“The last thing this day should represent is praise for what really are failures of the Bush Administration to secure our homeland.”