The co-authors of the bestselling 9/11 Commission report are once again sounding the alarm about the nation’s readiness, warning of “counter terrorism fatigue and a waning sense of urgency” in combating a growing terrorist threat. While the core of al Qaeda has been significantly degraded, its affiliates are now in 16 countries, and the Commission’s reflections a decade after its original report is titled, “Today’s Rising Terrorist Threat and the Danger to the United States.”

While the updated Commission report isn’t as direct as President Bush’s August 2001 classified briefing, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S.,” the cumulative effect of its findings, and the vulnerabilities it documents, should serve as much-needed wake-up calls for Congress and the White House.

“The world is an even more dangerous place these last few weeks and months,” said former Indiana congressman and Commission Co-Chair Lee Hamilton. He detailed how fighters traveling to Syria are re-directing battlefield skills they acquire “and returning to attack us,” with U.S. aviation the primary target of their bomb making. So-called lone wolves radicalized over the Internet and relentless cyber attacks rounded out the overview Hamilton presented Tuesday in an event sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

“There can be no more failure of imagination,” said former New Jersey Governor and Commission co-chair Tom Kean. “We’ve got to get ahead of these guys, not behind them.”

The 9/11 Commission report blamed such a failure of imagination in grasping that terrorists would fly planes into buildings. With technology moving with the speed of a bullet, said former congressman Tim Roemer, a member of the commission, Washington can’t get bogged down in a congressional maze of committees. 

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