Ten years after its landmark report on terrorism, the 9/11 Commission has released an update in which it notes continued problems. But in 2014, the dangers have shifted geographically — and online, the commission's former members say.
Noting that the world has changed "dramatically" since 2004, the report's authors write that "Al Qaeda–affiliated groups are now active in more countries than before 9/11."
And while they say the government must remain vigilant to prevent future attacks, they also state that leaders must do a better job of communicating with the public — including specifically explaining what is being done to prevent attacks.
NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports about the commission's update for our Newscast unit:
"Members of the committee said they were worried about three things:
- The proliferation of terrorist groups, particularly in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
- The prospects for the cyber equivalent of a Sept. 11 attack.
- The fragmentation of congressional oversight over the nation's security efforts.
"In their report, commission members said that in 2004, the Department of Homeland Security answered to 88 committees of Congress. Ten years later, the number of oversight committees is now 92. That number, the group said, needs to be winnowed down.
"Additionally, commission officials called on Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation that allows private companies to work with government against cyberthreats."
On that last point, the commission wrote, "Companies should be able to share cyber threat information with the government without fear of liability." They added that Congress should consider giving private companies the authority "to take direct action in response to attacks on their networks."
As Dina notes, the original 9/11 Commission Report of 2004 was a thick book of nearly 600 pages that became a national best-seller. Members of the commission have updated some of their findings in a new slimmed-down 50-page report.
For its update, former members of the commission spent months speaking with current and recently retired leaders in national security.