How Technology Has, and Has Not, Changed Since 9-11
Much has been done to improve security in the United States since the terrorist attacks of September eleventh, two thousand one. Intelligence sharing and cooperation between federal, state and local government agencies is said to be at an all-time high.
There have also been improvements in airport security. But a new report says the United States is not as safe as should be. It says America "is not yet prepared for a truly catastrophic disaster." The report is from the National Security Preparedness Group at the Bipartisan Policy Center. The group is led by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and former congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana. The two men also led the 9-11 Commission. Congress established the commission to investigate the hijacking attacks and to make proposals for guarding against future attacks. The new report noted that nine of the reforms proposed by the commission have either been carried out ineffectively or completely ignored. For example, the 9-11 Commission found that communication problems were a major issue during the attacks ten years ago. Police, firefighters and medical crews had trouble talking to each other because they were using different radio frequencies. Officials said this lack of communication led to needless loss of life. The commission said the government should identify radio frequencies that would be used only for emergency communications. However, this has yet to be done. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on the report. She said radio frequencies for first responders was an issue she had worked on in the Senate "and is long overdue for completion." On another issue, border security, she said "We have emphasized innovation. For example, we are now using sophisticated new biometric screening tools to improve border security and the visa process." The report praised the deployment of US-Visit, a biometric entry system in the United States. The US-Visit system uses digital fingerprints and photographic images to identify people entering the United States.
The report notes that a similar system for those leaving the country has yet to be established. It says such a system could have helped officials find two of the hijackers involved in the 9-11 attacks.For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal. To read and listen to more stories and to learn English, go to voaspecialenglish.com.
(Adapted from a radio program broadcast 12Sep2011)
How Technology Has, and Has Not, Changed Since 9-11: