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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the fourth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks:
“On this fourth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, our nation pauses again to remember the innocent men, women and children who perished that dark day due to the evil acts of men consumed by a murderous ideology.
“In the aftermath of that treacherous attack, our nation collectively declared, ‘Never again.’ And, in the ensuing period, thousands of Americans have worked tirelessly to improve our nation’s security and to protect our people. They deserve our praise and our thanks.
“However, we would perform a disservice to the memory of those who were killed on 9/11 if we pretended that we were as safe as we could be. In fact, we have failed to fulfill the promise that we made to the victims of 9/11 and their families to do everything in our power to prevent and prepare for another terrorist attack.
“The inept response to Hurricane Katrina exposed our government’s failure to prepare for the type of catastrophic devastation that could be wrought by terrorists. Even more disturbing is the fact that government officials were able to prepare and brace for Katrina, having tracked her storm path for days. Terrorists, of course, would strike without warning.
“On this fourth anniversary of 9/11, we must offer an honest appraisal of our preparedness. This worst natural disaster in our nation’s history must become a galvanizing event that spurs us to review and improve our preparation and planning for natural disasters, as well as terrorist attacks.
“I believe that neither the White House nor the Congress can conduct the type of investigation that is necessary. We must appoint an independent, non-partisan, 9/11-style commission if we are to learn from this latest tragedy, which has reverberated throughout our nation. This critical assessment will help fulfill the solemn promise that our nation and our people made to the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. And, that is a promise that we must keep.”