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US Lawmakers Pledge to Help Investigate Attacks - 2001-09-11

U.S. lawmakers are vowing to provide the resources necessary to investigate the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and to bring those responsible to justice.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee held a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol building to condemn the incidents.

Congressman Saxby Chambliss is a Republican from Georgia. "I think we can agree as members of Congress there can be no more dastardly attack on the United States of America then what we have seen today," he said. Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida called the attacks 'a despicable act of terrorism.' "Quite frankly, what has transpired has been the taking advantage of the freedoms we share in this great country of ours," he said.

Committee members are pledging cooperation with other branches of government in the investigation of the attacks.

Republican Congressman Jim Gibbons of Nevada said, "America is a battle-born nation. Americans today have been attacked. Americans will find an answer to these problems. We will bring those responsible to justice. This committee is going to commit itself, its resources, its abilities to helping out, every agency committed to this problem, to finding the answers. We want America to know that as a nation whose flag still flies over the Capitol, that we will not shut government down in the face of a terrorist act. We want Americans to know that freedom and democracy are still flying high over our capital."

Democrat Tim Roemer of Indiana agrees. "We can see why intelligence, good intelligence, is important to protect this country, and why a vibrant intelligence budget is needed out there to further protect the integrity of the homeland in this country," he said. "We will be assessing what went wrong, what we need to do in the future from this committee, in the days, hours and weeks ahead."

Meanwhile, California Republican Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, expressed anger that U.S. intelligence failed to stop the attacks. "For our national security apparatus to have missed this is one of the biggest blunders in my lifetime, probably the biggest intelligence blunder in any of our lifetimes," he said. "This is a disgrace. The people who we have paid billions of dollars to protect us, have left us at the mercy of this type of major terrorist operation."

Congressman Rohrabacher is calling for major reforms in U.S. intelligence agencies.

The U.S. Capitol was among key federal buildings evacuated following the attacks in New York and Washington.