The joint congressional committee that investigated security lapses prior to last year's September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States has concluded its final report on the probe. The joint House-Senate Intelligence Committee is recommending the United States do more to crackdown on terrorist groups and their sources of funding to prevent another attack.
The report blames a series of missteps by intelligence and law enforcement officials for the failure to prevent the September 11 attacks.
It recommends that those officials be disciplined, but leaves decisions about punitive action up to the inspectors general of the individual agencies.
The committee's top Republican, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, for his part, believes the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, should be replaced. "There have been more massive failures in intelligence on his watch as director of the CIA than any director in the history of the agency," said Senator Shelby.
The committee's report also makes recommendations on ways the United States can try to prevent another terrorist attack on its soil.
It calls for doing more to crackdown on terrorist training camps.
The committee's outgoing chairman is Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida. "We need to be asking the question, where are the next generation of terrorists being trained? We know the answer to that question, primarily in Syria and Syrian-controlled areas of Lebanon and in Iran," he said. "Yet, we have in my judgment been derelict in not attacking the headquarters and those training camps as we were derelict in the 1990s in not doing likewise in Afghanistan against al-Qaida."
The report also calls on the United States to do more to address the possibility that foreign governments are providing support to terrorists targeting the United States. The committee recently concluded that an associate of two of the September 11 hijackers indirectly received charitable donations from the wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States.
"I think some countries, and obviously Saudi Arabia, is what I am talking about, they cannot have it both ways," Senator Shelby said. "Their people, a lot of their leaders and probably even in the royal family in my judgment, they cannot support so-called charities that support terrorism on a big scale, and then pretend they are our friends or allies."
The committee is also suggesting the creation of a Cabinet-level director of national intelligence to better coordinate information.
The committee released unclassified portions of the report to the public.
Lawmakers expressed hope that other parts of the document will be de-classified and released in the coming months.
Several members of the committee say their probe left a number of questions unanswered, including how the terrorists were able to enter the United States. Those questions will be left to an independent commission that will begin a broader probe of the September 11 attacks next year.