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Bush Signs Authorization Act

Aired November 27, 2002 - 10:18   ET


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to show you some tape which just came into the CNN Center out of the White House. You are seeing what was a signing ceremony at the Roosevelt Room. President Bush signing the intelligence act of late. It is one of the latest bills, the third bill that he has signed, major legislation here, which authorizes an independent panel, headed by, we understand, Henry Kissinger to investigate the problems of 9/11. Let's listen in.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Dr. Kissinger is one of our nation's most accomplished and respected...


LIN: All right. Our apologies. We're having audio problems in turning that tape around. But President Bush announcing, as part of the Intelligence Authorization Act, that an independent panel will, indeed, investigate and probe any mistakes, all the circumstances surrounding what led up to the 9/11 attacks.

It was a bill that he initially opposed vehemently, saying that it would preoccupy his administration while they were trying to fight in the war on terror. But several moments of testimony by 9/11 family members and victims before Congress helped change his mind. Let's try and listen in again to the president.


BUSH: ... all the evidence and follow all the facts wherever they lead. We must uncover every detail and learn every lesson of September the 11th.

My administration will continue to act on the lessons we've learned so far to better protect the people of this country. It's our most solemn duty.

I want to thank the congressional leaders for their work on this commission and on the broader legislation, as well. The law I sign today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production (sic)-- weapons proliferation.

In a period of rapidly changing dangers, we will continue to work with the Congress to get the resources we need to gather information, so we can better defend America.

I want to thank the members of Congress who are with us today, who worked hard to make this commission a reality.

Senator Joe Lieberman, thank you, Senator.

Congressman Porter Goss, Tim Roemer, Chris Shays, and Chris Smith, all distinguished members of the United States Congress, all who join thousands of Americans who refuse to forget that which took place on September the 11th, 2001.

Above all, I want to thank the family members of the people who were killed on September the 11th. Family members who are here today and others around the country, in working for this commission, you've been motivated by a noble goal: You want to spare the Americans the kind of suffering you faced. I appreciate that sentiment. America is grateful.

The nation's families gather during holidays. You need to know that there's a lot of people continuing to pray for you.

There's a lot of people that you've never seen before. You don't have any idea of what their names are; they share your grief. I hope that provides some comfort.

September the 11th marked a dividing line in the life of our nation. The events of a single morning dramatically demonstrated America's vulnerability to the threats of a new era. Oceans that separated us from other continents no longer separate us from danger. America's enemies are still determined to inflict great harm.

We have a duty, a solemn duty to do everything we can to protect this country. We've acted to reduce the nation's vulnerabilities. We're stepping up security and transportation systems at port of entries and on our borders. We've made important reforms in federal law enforcement, ensuring that the FBI's primary focus now is the prevention of future attack. We're doing a better job of sharing information among agencies.

By legislation I signed this week, we've created a Department of Homeland Security. It involves the largest reorganization of the federal government in more than a half of century with the goal of protecting America.

And overseas, we're chasing the killers down one person at a time, one at a time. Slowly but surely, we're dismantling the Al Qaeda network. There is no cave dark enough or deep enough to hide from the justice of the United States of America.

And it doesn't matter how long it takes. This nation will stay on course to find them, to bring them to justice, to make sure America's homeland is secure.

These essential steps do not complete our work, and that's important for America to know. In the war against terror, our goal is to take every measure that is necessary, to gather all information that is available and gain every advantage that is possible.

An aggressive investigation into September the 11th with a responsible concern for sensitive information that will allow us to win the war on terror will contribute to the security of this country. This commission's findings may show a need for further reform and intelligence gathering in other areas.

I'm confident that under Dr. Kissinger's leadership, the commission's work will be thorough. The recommendations will be helpful and useful.

I also hope that the commission will act quickly and issue its report prior to the 18th month deadline embodied in the legislation. After all, if there's changes that need to be made, we need to know them as soon as possible for the security of our country. The sooner we have the commission's conclusions, the sooner this administration will act on them.

And as a people, the Americans are always looking forward. As a nation, we're working every day to build a future that is peaceful and secure. To reach this goal, we must learn all about the past that we can. So with this commission, we have formed today, America will learn more about the evil that was done to us, and the understanding we will gain will serve us for years to come.

This commission is not only important for this administration; this commission will be important for future administrations until the world is secure from the evildoers that hate what we stand for.

I ask the members of Congress that are here today, to please come up and join me as I sign this important legislation.

May God bless the families of those who suffered on September the 11th. May God bless you today. May God bless you for long days to come. And may God continue to bless America.


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