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May 8, 2007

Statement of “9/11 Families for the 9/11 Bill”

Over half a decade has passed since this country was attacked on September 11th yet, frighteningly; major gaps in our security still exist. Some are big enough to fly a plane through. Each is an open invitation for terrorists to exploit.

There is a bill pending in Congress slated to enact many of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. It will be one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of the 110th Congress. At a press conference last week, we expressed our gratitude to Congressional leadership for moving this bill forward, but we also expressed concern that compromises on competing provisions during conference may weaken the final product. The 9/11 Commission provided a roadmap for Congress to follow. Now is not the time for detours or halfway measures.

In meetings with the staff of Congressional Leadership and Committees and in statements and letters, we continue to remind our elected officials and the American public of what is at stake. We, as 9/11 families, know all too well the consequences of ignoring the warnings of al Qaeda, who have already told us they plan to attack us again - this time, with a nuclear bomb.

At a minimum, the final bill must address our national security deficiencies by:

  • Establishing an aggressive loose-nukes containment policy;
  • Fixing, rather than expanding, the Visa Waiver program;
  • Ensuring that Homeland Security funds go where they are needed most- allocated by risk, not politics;
  • Mandating that inspection of cargo on passenger planes is as aggressive as the inspection of passengers and their baggage;
  • Consolidating Congressional oversight of the Intelligence and Homeland Security agencies;
  • Empowering a vigilant, independent watchdog panel to safeguard our civil liberties;
  • Implementing strong measures to protect our neglected rail and transit systems;
  • Requiring stringent screening at our air and land border entry points, with no exemptions.

Some provisions in the bill may be controversial, and some may be peripheral, but neither Congress nor the President should allow ideology or turf battles to delay or derail this vital legislation. Nor can an overseas war continue to absorb our national attention to the detriment of our security here at home.

Our message to Congress and the President is crystal clear: The terrorists will strike again, unless we act to stop them. Close the security loopholes now - before it’s too late.

Signed,

Carie Lemack
Daughter of Judy Larocque, 50
President, Families of September 11
carie_lemack@yahoo.com

Carol Ashley
Mother of Janice, 25
VOICES of September 11th
carolashley@optonline.net

Rosemary Dillard
Widow of Eddie, 54
9/11 Pentagon Families
Dillard1@aol.com

Beverly Eckert
Widow of Sean Rooney, 50
Families of September 11
beverlyeckert@hotmail.com

Mary Fetchet
Mother of Brad, 24
Director, VOICES of September 11th
mafetchet@voicesofsept11.org

Abraham Scott
Widower of Janice, 46
9/11 Pentagon Families
geraldine@starpower.net