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General News

9/11 Commission Reconvenes, Warns Of Cyber Threats

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Indiana Public Media
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfiupublicradio/6152721817

The authors of the original report that detailed the events surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks say the next big threat is cyber-terrorism. The group has reconvened to assess the threats to the nation, ten years after their report.

They’ve updated recommendations the committee made ten years ago, and reconsidered whether those recommendations have been adopted as policy or made into law. 

Speaking at a symposium in Washington D.C. Tuesday, former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, who co-chaired the Commission, applauded efforts over the last ten years to cripple terrorist networks, but warned of new threats to national security. 

“Despite our achievements, the threat of terrorism persists today,” Hamilton says.  “Al Qaeda spin-offs that share its extreme ideology and hatred of the United States have proliferated and are now operational in more than 16 countries.”

Hamilton noted some specific concerns, including the Sunni extremist group that is taking hold in Iraq known as The Islamic State (or ISIS), Al Qaeda bomb threats to commercial airliners, and most of all, threats to cybersecurity. 

The vulnerability of our cyber systems and the vast stealing of our intellectual property over the Internet pose a huge national security challenge,” Hamilton says.

Hamilton says government data collection has boomed in the last ten years, and while it is a vital tool in preventing terrorist attacks, it must be balanced against infringements on civil liberties.