This morning, the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism convenes in an open hearing to receive testimony on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security's report, "Counterterroism Intelligence Capabilities and Performance of the CIA, FBI, and NSA Prior to 9/11."
STATEMENT OF THE CHAIRMAN JIM SAXTON
SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
HEARING ON HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE
ON INTELLIGENCE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TERRORISM
AND HOMELAND SECURITY'S REPORT,
"COUNTERTERRORISM INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITIES
AND PERFORMANCE OF
THE CIA, FBI, AND NSA PRIOR TO 9/11."
September 5, 2002
I'd like to start this morning by welcoming our witnesses: Congressman Saxby Chambliss, chairman of the HPSCI Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security; and Congresswoman Jane Harman, ranking member of that subcommittee.
Last September, I, along with Mr. Turner, Mr. Calvert, saw first hand the results of the 9/11 attacks. My heart sank at the sight of the destruction, and the days and weeks that followed gave me the opportunity to reflect on this horrific event.
Many questions came to mind immediately after this tragedy, but two seemed, and still remain, the most crucial: first, "How was this planned and conducted without our knowledge?" And second, "How do we exact justice on those who perpetrated this barbaric attack?"
This Panel has held a series of very productive hearings on the second question. We've heard from each of the uniformed services, parts of the Intelligence Community, Joint Forces Command, and Special Operations Command. We've asked them how they are planning and preparing to defeat al Qaeda and stop the scourge of terrorism.
They've told us how the armed forces are preparing for this new type of war, about ongoing operations, and about what we, the Congress, can do to assist them in their efforts. I can assure our nation that our military is fully engaged in this Herculean task, and is taking the battle to our enemies around the world. It's far too early to declare victory, but we are winning many battles.
Mr. Chambliss and Ms. Harman, your subcommittee has investigated the intelligence deficiencies that existed within the CIA, FBI, and NSA prior to September 11, 2001 in an attempt to answer that first question. Given the unclassified summary your subcommittee prepared, and the positive reports we have read about your investigation in the press, we look forward to hearing from you personally on these matters.
The war on terrorism is clearly one that the Department of Defense cannot win alone. Over the last year this Panel has held numerous briefings and hearings with other agencies involved in the global war on terrorism. However, it is going to require exceptional coordination between the intelligence community and the military.
As such, I am confident that our discussion this morning will assist this Panel in understanding what happened to our intelligence agencies prior to 9/11, and help us this Panel fulfill its responsibilities as the Congressional committee of jurisdiction over our nationís armed forces.
Again, Mr. Chambliss and Ms. Harman, thank you both for being here with us this morning.