Congressional Record: February 5, 2002 (Senate)
Page S322                    

                            VOICE OF INQUIRY

  Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. President, the President of the United States has 
challenged the Nation to commit an additional $120 billion in resources 
for our Armed Forces. Indeed, when the Nation is attacked, that is as 
it should be. The President has asked us to commit $40 billion to deal 
with internal security in our country. With the loss of life we have 
suffered and all of our apprehension about terrorism, that is as it 
should be. It is, however, an extraordinary request.
  While our willingness to commit resources is endless to guarantee the 
security of our country, our national curiosity about these 
circumstances and how our country was so vulnerable seems to be very 
limited indeed.
  It has been 5 months since the lives of our people were taken in the 
most devastating attack on America in history. There have been words of 
rage and revenge, vows to strengthen our security and to commit endless 
resources. There has been everything except a voice of inquiry.
  On September 10, this Nation was not without resources, with a $320 
billion defense establishment larger than a dozen other industrial 
nations combined; a massive internal law enforcement apparatus; and, by 
press accounts, a $30 billion intelligence establishment.
  The terrorist attack on September 11 apparently was waged with the 
combined financial resources of $250,000. It was implemented by 19 
people. Why is it I believe that probably financial resources were not 
determinative in the success of this evil attack? Why is it that I 
suspect it was probably not the numbers of personnel available? The 
country was not without resources on September 10. But something went 
terribly wrong. The allocation of resources, quality of leadership, 
strategy--I don't know. The real point is neither does anybody else, 
including the President of the United States and Members of the Senate.
  At some point, 260 million Americans, with all the rage they feel 
against our enemy, with all the anger they feel, and with all the 
sympathy they feel for the victims, are going to want to know what 
happened and why.
  There is no limit to the resources that I will vote to make available 
to the Commander in Chief to defend this Nation. But there is no limit 
to the efforts I will make to get accountability in this Government for 
our people.
  In my State, there are hundreds--indeed, there are several 
thousands--of widows and orphans. As much as any American, as much as 
history itself, these people are going to demand answers in the course 
of their lives.
  The President has suggested his preference is that we hold private 
hearings in the intelligence community. That is not how we conduct this 
Government. There was not an attack on the intelligence committee, nor 
is it their responsibility alone. Our accountability is to the people 
of the country. Yet the administration claims that such hearings or 
inquiries would be a distraction from the war on terrorism. That is not 
our history or how we conduct our Government.
  Ten days after Pearl Harbor, with half of the American fleet in ruins 
and with fears of an attack on California by the Imperial Japanese 
Navy, FDR ordered an inquiry into how indeed we were so undefended. The 
Challenger lay in ruins with all of our ambitions for a space program, 
and Ronald Reagan did the same for NASA. This instance deserves no 
less. Accountability is at the core of any representative government.

  On behalf of the people of my State and the victims--their wives, 
husbands, parents, and children--I demand it now. This Nation needs a 
board of inquiry to determine the events of September 11--how it 
occurred and why; where we succeeded and why we failed--not for the 
sake of revenge, not to cast blame, but to ensure that it never happens 
again. Armed only with that knowledge--more than any funding or any new 
weapon--can we genuinely assure our people that those events will not 
be repeated.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           ORDER OF PROCEDURE

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, during the conferences we have had, it has 
been determined we could have a voice vote on the Bunning amendment. So 
I ask unanimous consent that after the Chair reports the bill, we move 
to the Bunning amendment, followed by the Reid for Baucus amendment. It 
is not a Reid amendment; I just offered it for Senator Baucus.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.