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June 7, 2005

Statement of Families of September 11 on the
9/11 Public Discourse Project's Series "Unfinished Agenda"
Session 1: CIA and FBI Reform
June 7, 2005

Families of September 11 (FOS11) applauds the 9/11 Public Discourse Project for their dedication to protecting the safety of Americans by discussing the unfinished agenda of the 9/11 Commission. Monday's panel on CIA and FBI reform was enlightening. It demonstrated that more than 3 ½ years after the attacks, some remain resistant to changes that will make our nation safer.

Specifically:

  • Turf battles in the intelligence community continue to rage. Without a propensity to share and collaborate, we have little to no better chance of detecting and preventing the next attack.
  • Analysts in the FBI are not given the respect, resources, and incentives they deserve. Instead, as one panel member testified, they are treated like "carpet dust". Without the proper status that their difficult but critical work demands, they cannot properly execute their mandate to detect and prevent terrorist attacks.
  • Executive leadership is lacking. We need leaders in the executive agencies to not only determine the priorities of our nation's intelligence apparatus, but to enforce them as well.
  • The current status of recruitment, training, and retention of intelligence analysts represents a serious threat to our intelligence capabilities. Turnover of the most senior intelligence professions is at an unacceptable level that is draining the FBI of some of the most talented personnel.

These problems are not insurmountable. However, to fix them, we need leadership at the highest levels of government to support our call for an intelligence community focused on collaboration and effectiveness. We call on President Bush and National Intelligence Director Negroponte to use the authorities granted in their job descriptions to provide this leadership. They have the ability, working with Director Goss and Director Mueller, to create the type of intelligence community our nation needs and our citizens deserve. We remain hopeful that they also have the will.


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• 9/11 Public Discourse Project, www.9-11pdp.org
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