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White House Moves to Adopt 9/11 Recommendations - 2004-07-27

The White House says President Bush is moving quickly to adopt some of the recommendations made by the 9/11 commission for securing the nation from another terrorist attack. The administration has been holding top level discussions on what elements of last week's report into the September 11th attacks the White House could enact without congressional approval.

From his ranch near Waco, Texas, President Bush has brought together his top cabinet members and security advisers by teleconference to discuss the 9/11 report's recommendations. A senior administration official tells VOA he could decide to move ahead of congressional hearings and implement some of them, through executive order, within days.

While the president remains largely out of sight during the Democratic convention, Vice President Dick Cheney is out campaigning, telling supporters in Washington state the administration is considering adopting some of the report's ideas aimed at bolstering the nation's security, amid more warnings that terrorists continue to plot another September 11-style attack.

"We're at the beginning here of what will be and should be a great debate as we look at how we can improve both the executive branch and legislative branch's ability to function in this area. We began the process of looking specifically at specific recommendations that they've made," Mr. Cheney said.

An administration official says no decisions have been made yet. But one recommendation reported to be under early consideration is the creation of a new national intelligence director who would oversee all government intelligence agencies, a job now held by the director of the CIA.

Turning up pressure on the White House to act is Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who has already endorsed the 9/11 report's findings and, at a campaign rally in Virginia Tuesday, challenged President Bush to move quickly.

"I hope the president will now take the necessary steps, implement the commission's recommendations immediately," Mr. Kerry said. "These are common sense ideas from a bipartisan commission and I think we have a responsibility to act and to act now."

In fact, a senior Bush administration official is not ruling out a presidential announcement adopting some of the September 11 commission's recommendations even before the Democratic convention ends later this week.