The 911 report gives a description of how the 911 attacks occurred; the history and foundations and past threats of terrorism against the United States; Initiatives that have been taken to counter terrorism by various state agencies and the State preparedness on the day of the attack; global strategies to combat terrorism and recommendations based on the report.
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In its findings, the report indicates that although the attacks were a shock, they should not have come as a surprise. It is a surprise that none of the measures adopted by the U.S government from 1998 to 2001 were useful in countering Al-Qaeda. In addition, the report point out that while it is doubtful that the leaders understood the gravity of the threat, it is also clear that the Department of defense was at no point fully involved in the mission of countering Al-Qaeda, even with the knowledge that it is the most dangerous foreign enemy.
Furthermore, al-Qaeda threats were not seriously considered by policy makers, that is, the presidency and the Congress, as well as the media. While it does not blame any single individual, it asserts that both institutions and individuals failed to take responsibility for failing to stop the attacks. Other institutions mentioned are non-confrontational aircraft personnel; failed civilian and military defenders; a chain of command that did not function well and security services that did not pay attention to details at the airports.
The report recommends that security agencies should work together and that the president should lead in the attainment of concepts and standards (p.418). The report indicates that a ‘network-based information sharing system that cuts across traditional governmental boundaries should be created’ (p.420). It also suggests the strengthening of congressional oversight and the FBI and Homeland defenders. In addition, it recommends the establishment of dialogue between the West and the Islamic nations as well as developing a global strategy to promote diplomacy and amicable public relations to bring down Al-Qaeda and overcome militant Islamic ideology.
The report indicates that interagency operations, if not well coordinated are inefficient and at time a total failure, attributed to failed coordination, thus the need for presidential intervention, and closeness in devising strategies. Closer coordination will avoid overlapping or responsibilities during responses. However, the report failed to hold responsible the various leaders of the agency operations that failed to respond with urgency on the day of the attack. The circumstances that led to the slowed or no response during the attack by some agencies and that lack of proper coordination among those that responded was not adequately explored.