9/11 Commission chairs: We must fight extremism


"The threat we face today is arguably worse than the one we confronted in 2001," former leaders of the 9/11 Commission wrote on Saturday. 

That's the message from the chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  

In an op-ed published Saturday in USA Today, former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and former Congressman Lee Hamilton emphasized the terrorism threat isn't just about us here at home — rather, it's a global issue. They called it "a spreading disease eating away at the foundation of the free, open and lawful international system."

One of the biggest issues Kean and Hamilton identify is the United States' failure to focus as much energy on combating ideology that leads to "Islamist terrorism" as it does trying to militarily eradicate the al-Qaida network.

>> Read more trending stories

That's one of the suggestions in the 9/11 Commission's report that the two men say hasn't been followed — or at least, pursued strongly enough — across both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

They said part of the problem with extremism is that there is so much of it, and even nonviolent extremist groups can spread the wrong ideology. They wrote, "These radical perversions of Islam might not condone violence, but they crowd out mainstream, tolerant and pluralistic ideas."

So Kean and Hamilton said they are assembling a task force to create a long-term strategy to counter terrorist ideology. 

That's not to say no progress has been made. The two wrote that since 9/11, airports have gotten better security, and intelligence sharing among authorities at the local, state and federal levels has improved.

While the U.S. hasn't had a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11, there have been multiple deadly attacks since then, including the San Bernardino, California, shooting in 2015 and the June 2016 attack on an Orlando, Florida, nightclub. The nightclub shooting is considered the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Convicted murderer leaves courthouse before verdict is read
Convicted murderer leaves courthouse before verdict is read

A man convicted of murder Friday left a courthouse in Atlanta, before the verdict could be read. Verlaine Laguerre, 26, was found guilty in the killing of Matthew Hardeman, who was 19 at the time of his death. After a long legal battle, Laguerre and Prentice Baker were convicted of Hardeman’s murder Friday and sentenced to life in prison, plus...
Two days after Barbara Bush's death, a granddaughter gives birth
Two days after Barbara Bush's death, a granddaughter gives birth

Just two days after the death of former first lady Barbara Bush, her granddaughter Lauren Bush Lauren and her husband, David, welcomed Max Walker Lauren to the family. According to a Facebook post from Barbara’s Bush son Neil Bush, Max was born on Thursday. Arriving two weeks before his mom’s due date, the baby boy weighed 7 pounds, 8...
Fight over Facebook post causes Florida woman to lose toe
Fight over Facebook post causes Florida woman to lose toe

A Jacksonville, Florida, woman lost part of her toe in a fight that apparently started because of a post on Facebook, according to police.  On Tuesday at 11:47 p.m., an officer responded to a call about a battery with injuries at a residence in the 1700 block of W. 27th Street.  The caller said that a woman would not leave her property, but...
Gift cards expire as Toys R Us store liquidation sales continue
Gift cards expire as Toys R Us store liquidation sales continue

If you haven’t redeemed your Toys R Us gift cards, get to your nearest store ASAP. The April 21 expiration date also applies to the company’s Endless Earnings eGift Cards for customers who earned rewards from baby registry purchases. Liquidations sales began at Toys R Us stores nationwide as early as March 23. At that time, customers who...
Woman robbed while in line for offering in church
Woman robbed while in line for offering in church

A Memphis woman said that while she was in line to put in her offering in at a South Memphis church, someone stole her wallet out of her purse. Police are investigating the incident. Shirley Williams said the church was the last place she thought anything would be stolen from her. "Because we were in church, I just can't believe anyone...
More Stories