Wrapping up more than three years of investigations and hearings, the former commission issued what members said was their final assessment of the government's counterterror performance as a report card. It gave failing grades in five areas, and issued only one "A" — actually an A-minus — for the Bush administration's efforts to curb terrorist financing.Given the horrendous Federal response to the Katrina disaster, my money says that it's the 9/11 commission folks that are right.
The five "F"s were for:
_Failing to provide a radio system to allow first responders from different agencies communicate with each other during emergencies.
_Distributing federal homeland security funding to states on a "pork-barrel" basis instead of risk.
_Failing to consolidate names of suspicious airline travelers on a single terror watch screening list.
_Hindering congressional oversight by retaining intelligence budget information as classified materials.
_Failing to engage in an alliance to develop international standards for the treatment and prosecution of detained terror suspects.
Of course, the W, Rove and Co. spokesmodel, Scotty McMessage McLellan, has the usual bland and banal point-the-blame-finger-elsewhere response:
Q What's your reaction to the 9/11 former commissioner saying that you're receiving failing grades?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it's important to look at what they're -- some of what they're talking about. First of all, the best way to protect the American people is to take the fight to the enemy, to stay on the offensive. We are taking the fight to the enemy abroad, and by doing so, that is keeping them from plotting and planning to attack inside America. Because of our -- the great work of our intelligence community and our first responders and our men and women in uniform, we have been fortunate -- we are grateful that we haven't been attacked since September 11th. But we have made -- we have taken significant steps to better protect the American people at home. There is more to do. This is the President's highest responsibility.
One of the issues, I know, that the commission talked about, in terms of what you used as an example as an F, was the issue of funding, making sure that that funding is based on risk and based on the threat and that the funds are going based on a risk-based assessment. And that's something we've been working with Congress on to make sure that we are doing. And there's more that needs to be done there to make sure that the funding is prioritized and the resources are dedicated to the greatest risks. And that's something we will continue to do.
Q Who is the President's chief economic --
MR. McCLELLAN: But, I mean, we are not satisfied. There's more we've got to do to continue protecting the American people. And we have been acting and implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. We have acted on 37 of 39 recommendations that apply to the executive branch. There are an additional two that apply to Congress. And that's what -- we will continue to move forward on those steps.