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Who controls the money

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Criticism is coming down hard on the republican blockade set up to derail the 9/11 commissions recommendations to overhaul the intelligence community and it’s decades old innerworkings. It’s a sad day today because politics and power is getting in the way of our safety.

”These guys are going to have blood on their hands,” said Beverly Eckert, of Stamford, Conn., whose husband was killed when hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. “It’s reprehensible when partisan politics interferes with the safety of the American people.”

It appears that the power struggle might just come down to the fact that men in power don’t want to give up their control of the money. It may be that simple. The Pentagon and possibly top administration officials like Donal Rumsfeld may be putting up the road blocks because up to 80% of the allocated intelligence money given to the Pentagon will be diverted to the new intelligence agency and the national intel. director.

One other blockage is the result of a debate about immigration and other wide-ranging border-security revisions. These proposals might prevent the intelligence-overhaul bill from being passed this year which is sad.

Peter Gadiel, president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America said a few members of the September 11 Family Steering Committee, the group that lobbied for an independent investigation into the attacks, have endorsed the Senate’s version, but they don’t represent all of the members of the defunct committee. Some family members from the steering committee say they want a bill completed this year, and if the immigration provisions or a dispute over the powers of a national intelligence director are delaying passage, the House should yield. But Mr. Gadiel and the Families for a Secure America say the House’s immigration provisions were part of the September 11 commission’s report, are central to any reforms and must remain in a final bill. “You can’t have internal security if the borders are open for people to walk across,” he said.

President Bush promised to press ahead for revisions.

”I was disappointed that the bill didn’t pass,” Bush said in Santiago, Chile, where he was attending a summit meeting of Asian and Pacific leaders. “It’s very clear I wanted the bill passed.”

Bush said he had spoken to House leaders in an effort to persuade them to pass the bill and that he still hoped a bill would be passed.

”When I get home, I’m looking forward to working it,” he said.

According to The Miami Herald:

The scuttled legislation would have implemented many of the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission and was a top priority not only for the Bush administration but for hundreds of Sept. 11 family members who organized to push for enactment of the measure.

Many spent time and money in lobbying lawmakers and testifying before the commission and congressional hearings. Some were on the phone to legislative aides in Washington on Saturday, monitoring the bill’s progress.

Yesterday the members of the 9/11 families spoke out again:

”They take the lives of many, many people in their hands by being complacent,” said Lee Ielpi, 60, a retired New York firefighter whose son, also a firefighter, was killed in responding to the attacks. “If they don’t act, history will repeat itself.”

”I’m astounded that a couple of mavericks are so obsessed with their own agenda that they’re willing to interfere with making this country safer,” said Eckert, repeating a widely shared view of other family members that the bill’s failure makes the nation more vulnerable to further terrorism.

Mary Fetchet of New Canaan, Conn., said, ”It’s almost negligence to . . . continue to protect the status quo,” she said. “I would hate to know another parent would have to go through what I went through.”

Let’s hope that our leaders will come together and allow the president to lead us to a safer and more secure country before the new year.

Here’s hoping.

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