Q&A: 20e September 11th anniversary
With US Senator Chuck Grassley
Q: What do you think of two decades after September 11?
A: As the world watches the 20e anniversary of September 11, it should be noted that an entire generation of Americans was born after the horrific terrorist attacks. No matter if you watched it unfold on real-time TV or read about it at school, it’s still inconceivable that hijackers have crossed the New York skyline one morning. sky blue September and hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center. A third jet was plunged into the Pentagon and a fourth crashed in a rural field in Pennsylvania. For those old enough to bear witness to September 11, 2001, it was a traumatic moment in history, revealing the abhorrent gulf between good and evil in the world. Over the next 20 years, many Americans report a lingering vulnerability that is among the most significant events in their lives.
The deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil have killed nearly 3,000 people, leaving behind grieving loved ones and the horrific enterprise of rescue and recovery. The attack also sickened or killed thousands of Americans, including first responders, years later after suffering from illnesses, such as cancer, linked to inhaling toxic dust from falling towers. By all accounts, these were horrific crimes that shattered a collective sense of security and invincibility among freedom-loving Americans. And yet, in the midst of one of the darkest chapters in our history, America’s resilience and solidarity have lived up to the occasion. On that day, the world saw a hell of terror become Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. In the weeks that followed, we heard stories of heartache and devastation from survivors, widows, orphans and co-workers. We also learned about the epic heroism of the first responders who climbed the stairs to save lives and the unusual bravery of the passengers and crew who loaded the cockpit aboard Flight 93.
For the past two decades, I have supported legislation to strengthen homeland security, combat the war on terrorism, and re-authorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund to help first responders and survivors pay. medical costs. We must keep our promises to the men and women in uniform who risk their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East. The chaotic withdrawal of the US military last month from Afghanistan, which left the Americans and their Afghan allies behind enemy lines, is an inadmissible leadership fault by President Biden. For the veterans who sacrificed their lives and bodies in Afghanistan, and for the American taxpayer who spent trillions of dollars to fund military operations overseas, the mismanaged exit is a disgrace. US military assets are now in the hands of the Taliban, and Afghanistan will likely reappear as a haven for terrorists. The sloppy exit gives the Biden administration a self-inflicted black eye. What is much worse, it will have a significant impact on our national security and our strategic alliances in the years to come.
Q: What is the September 11 Transparency Law?
A: As a watchdog of good government, my legislative and oversight work promotes transparency in the affairs of the people. Transparency brings accountability. From protecting whistleblowers to strengthening Freedom of information act and by putting teeth in financial audits of government agencies, sunny laws help eliminate wrongdoing and unnecessary expense. For nearly 20 years, 9/11 survivors and the families of the victims have sought to bring all perpetrators of terrorist attacks to justice. The federal government has withheld much of the 9/11 files that these families and the American public have a right to see. The American public still doesn’t have a complete picture of everything that led to the horrific attacks or if anything was swept under the rug afterwards. Families and the American people have a right to know. My bipartisan bill would ensure that the Department of Justice, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Director of National Intelligence declassify, where appropriate, documents that could identify other co-conspirators. These agencies must provide Congress with a rationale if they decide not to declassify a document or recording. One week before the 20the anniversary of September 11 and after pressure from families on September 11, President Biden signed an executive order modeled on our bipartisan bill. I’m glad the curtain is starting to fall on the 9/11 tapes. These families have every right to seek justice. While declassified documents can help them get through their day in court, we have a responsibility, as custodians of good government, to uphold the principle of transparency and accountability. After 20 years of secrecy, it is time that all those involved in the financing, planning and commission of these horrific acts of terrorism were held accountable.