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9-11 Commission Releases Unanimous Final Report
Calls for Quick Action on Recommendations to Prevent Future Attacks
July 22, 2004 - The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also
known as the 9-11 Commission) released its bipartisan, unanimous final report to the American
people today at a live, televised event in Washington, D.C. The report is now posted on the
Commission's Web site, www.9-1 lcommission.gov , and is available for purchase in bookstores
nationwide and from the Government Printing Office.
As mandated by the Commission's founding legislation, the final report is the Commission's full
and complete accounting of the facts and circumstances surrounding the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001, as well as recommendations for corrective measures that can be taken to
prevent acts of terrorism.
"I am honored to present the report to the President of the United States, the United States
Congress, and the American people for their consideration," said Thomas H. Kean, Chair of the
Commission. "Ten Commissioners — five Republicans and five Democrats chosen by elected
leaders from our nation's capital at a time of great partisan division — have come together to
present this report without dissent."
"This report is a product of a Commission that came together with a unity of purpose that our
nation demanded," said Kean. "September 11, 2001, was a day of unprecedented shock and
suffering in the history of the United States. The nation was unprepared."
In its final report, the Commission issued 37 recommendations to help prevent future terrorist
attacks, divided into sections detailing a global strategy and a government reorganization
necessary to implement such a strategy. The Commission summarized its recommended global
strategy into three pillars: (1) attacking terrorists and their organizations; (2) preventing the
continued growth of Islamist terrorism; and (3) protecting and preparing for terrorist attacks.
"The first phase of our post- 9/1 1 efforts rightly included military action to topple the Taliban and
pursue al Qaeda," said Vice Chair Lee H. Hamilton. "But long-term success demands the use of
all elements of national power: diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement,
economic policy, foreign aid, public diplomacy, and homeland defense. If we favor one tool
while neglecting others, we leave ourselves vulnerable and weaken our national effort."
To implement this strategy, the Commission proposed a five -part plan to to build unity of effort
across the U.S. government: (1) closing the foreign-domestic divide by linking intelligence and
operational planning in a new National Counterterrorism Center; (2) bringing the intelligence
community together under a National Intelligence Director and national intelligence centers; (3)
encouraging information sharing through government through decentralized networks; (4)
centralizing and strengthening congressional oversight of intelligence and homeland security
issues; and (5) strengthening the national security workforce within the FBI and clarifying the
missions of the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
"No president can promise that a catastrophic attack like that of 9-1 1 will not happen again,"
said Hamilton. "But the American people are entitled to expect that officials will have realistic
objectives, clear guidance, and effective organization. They are entitled to see standards for
performance so they can judge, with the help of their elected representatives, whether the
objectives are being met."
In the report, the Commission provided the support for these recommendations with an
exhaustive factual account of the events surrounding September 11, 2001, including particular
findings. While specifics may be found in the final report, the Commission's general findings
focused on failures of imagination, policy, capabilities, and management throughout U.S.
government. The Commission found little evidence that the progress of the al Qaeda plot was
disturbed by any of the counterterrorism policies or activities of the U.S. government.
"The 9/11 attacks were a shock, but should not have come as a surprise," said Kean. "By
September 2001, the executive branch of the U.S. government, the Congress, the news media,
and the American public had received clear warning that Islamist terrorists meant to kill
Americans in high numbers."
The Commission was created by Public Law 107-306, signed by the President on November 27,
2002, nearly 20 months ago. Working with a cumulative budget of $15 million and more than 80
staff members, the Commission completed the most comprehensive independent government
investigation in U.S. history. The Commission interviewed more than 1,200 people in ten
different countries and reviewed more than 2.5 million documents. The Commission also held 19
days of public hearings, during which the Commission heard from more than 160 witnesses and
released 17 staff statements.
On July 22 and 23, press inquiries about the Commission should be directed to Jonathan Stull of
the 9-11 Commission at 202-326-171 1 or by email at jstullffl^-l lcommission.gov . Interview
requests should be directed to Craig Brownstein at 202-326-171 1 or by email at
requests@9-l lcornmission.gov .