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we could have prevented it

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Martin H. Eastburn

May 1, 2004, 6:29:03 PM5/1/04
The Bush-Clinton Administrations Had Enough Information Before 9/11 to
Prevent Aircraft from Becoming Missiles

Washington, DC:

Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader today urged the 9/11
Commission to highlight the failure of the Bush and Clinton
Administrations to take action to re-enforce the doors of aircraft
cockpits noting: "This single safety step could have thwarted the events
of September 11."

On April 8, when Condolezza Rice testified before the Commission
Investigating September 11, she acknowledged that hardening the cockpits
could have made a difference: "That would have made a difference. We
weren't going to harden cockpits in the three months that we had a
threat spike."

In fact, the US government had more than enough information prior to the
information generated in the months prior to 9/11 to have taken action
to re-enforce cockpit doors to thwart hijackers and terrorists. In
addition to official intelligence scenarios about the potential for
hijacked planes being used in terrorist attacks in the US against
buildings, there have been 167 hijackings involving US airlines and 11
hijackings involving foreign airlines on US soil since 1970.

"It has been evident for decades that we needed to harden cockpit doors
and strengthen their latches. Some foreign airlines have installed just
that safeguard. The failure of the federal government for years to
address this despite clear evidence of the need is a tribute to how our
government has deregulated mechanisms for national security. The
resistance by airlines and aircraft manufacturers sent the soporific FAA
into inaction, despite long time requests for action by safety groups
and aviation security experts. If our government, sometime over the last
30 years, had been responsive, this single act would have made it much
more difficult for the terrorism of 9/11 to have succeeded in turning
aircrafts into missiles." said Ralph Nader. "The 9/11 Commission, before
its final report, needs to research this situation and come to a
judgment about the reasons for failing to protect airline passengers and
persons on the ground."

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