"We're doing everything in our power"

Bush says his administration is doing its best to prevent terrorist attacks. The chairmen of the 9/11 Commission say it's not so.

Published August 18, 2006 1:41PM (EDT)

Speaking at the National Counterterrorism Center Tuesday, the president said he wanted to "assure the American people that we're doing everything in our power to protect you."

The chairmen of the 9/11 Commission have a different story to tell. In an interview with USA Today, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton say that Bush's FBI isn't doing everything it can to prevent future terrorist attacks.

As USA Today explains, the 9/11 Commission nearly recommended that the FBI be split in two, with one branch assigned the FBI's traditional law enforcement role and the other taking on domestic intelligence duties. The commission refrained from making that recommendation after the FBI vowed to improve, but now Kean and Hamilton seem to regret that the commission didn't push harder. The FBI, says Kean, is "not even close to where they said they would be."

Among other things, Kean and Hamilton say, the FBI is failing to develop sources that could help it prevent future terrorist attacks. One cause: a high rate of turnover among top bureau officials.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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