Lessons from 9/11

Select Recommendations from the 9/11 Commission Report

On the fourteen anniversary of 9/11, we must remember not just the day, but the lessons we must — but still have failed — to learn. Here are select recommendations from the 9/11 Commission Report.

Limited, Transparent Government

The burden of proof for retaining a particular governmental power should be on the executive, to explain (a) that the power actually materially enhances security and (b) that there is adequate supervision of the executive’s use of the powers to ensure protection of civil liberties. If the power is granted, there must be adequate guidelines and oversight to properly confine its use.

• • •

As the President determines the guidelines for information sharing among government agencies and by those agencies with the private sector, he should safeguard the privacy of individuals about whom information is shared.

• • •

Finally, to combat the secrecy and complexity we have described, the overall amounts of money being appropriated for national intelligence and to its component agencies should no longer be kept secret. Congress should pass a separate appropriations act for intelligence, defending the broad allocation of how these tens of billions of dollars have been assigned among the varieties of intelligence work.

Just Policies

The U.S. government must define what the message is, what it stands for. We should offer an example of moral leadership in the world, committed to treat people humanely, abide by the rule of law, and be generous and caring to our neighbors.

• • •

A comprehensive U.S. strategy to counter terrorism should include economic policies that encourage development, more open societies, and opportunities for people to improve the lives of their families and to enhance prospects for their children’s future.

• • •

The United States should engage its friends to develop a common coalition approach toward the detention and humane treatment of captured terrorists. New principles might draw upon Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions on the law of armed conflict.

System of Checks and Balances

Congressional oversight for intelligence — and counterterrorism — is now dysfunctional. Congress should address this problem.

{ Like this? You may also like Sunsetting the Politics of Terror and What Our Mass Surveillance Debate Gets Wrong}

— Written by Daniel Schuman