Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Former Commissioners That Didn't Bark: Don't They Care?

Just a few days ago - December 5, 2005, to be exact - the former 9/11 Commission blasted the U.S. government for failing to adopt many of its recommendations for preventing terrorist attacks. The commission was famously formed to study the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The commissioners "graded" the White House and Congress on the commission's suggestions for making the nation safer. Of 41 criteria, the commission gave the government five Fs, 12 Ds and only one A. "We're frustrated, all of us -- frustrated at the lack of urgency in addressing these various problems," former commission Chairman Thomas Kean, a Republican and former New Jersey governor, said.

That's all very nice. And the former members of the 9/11 commission (Thomas H. Kean, Chair; Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chair; Richard Ben-Veniste; Fred F. Fielding; Jamie S. Gorelick; Slade Gorton; Bob Kerrey; John F. Lehman; Timothy J. Roemer; James R. Thompson) have not just been frustrated, they've been been chatty, chatty, chatty on the subject of national safety and security ever since they were appointed to that commission - and have repeatedly indicated their intention to continue to speak out on the subject of national security and terrorism.

So where the heck are the former members of the 9/11 commission with respect to the filibustering of the Patriot Act renewal and the ersatz "domestic spying" fluff? Thomas Kean once said, "We did have witness after witness tell us that the Patriot Act has been very, very helpful, and if the Patriot Act, or portions of it, had been in place before 9/11, that would have been very helpful." How about now? And is it just fine with, say, Jamie S. Gorelick - the author of the notorious "wall" memo that separated foreign intelligence information and criminal investigation data - that the Patriot Act is in extremis? Ms. Gorelick at one time also had lots to say about the president's "inherent authority" in foreign intelligence matters. Now she and Chairman Kean are as silent as the tomb. Has the hyperactive James Risen - or any other mainstream media type - bothered to ask Ms. Gorelick about any of these fusses, or to ask any other former member of the 9/11 commission? Why don't these former commissioners speak out now that it matters, where it was almost impossible to get them to shut up just a few weeks ago?

Well, Mr. Kean? Ms. Gorelick? Cat got your tongue? Any other commissioner care to speak up? Yooo-hooo! Over here!

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