Thank you Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Sensenbrenner and Membersof the Subcommittee for inviting me to testify before you on preservingthe continuity of
Congress after a terrorist attack. I am theexecutive director of the Continuity of Government Commission, a jointeffort of the American Enterprise Institute and the BrookingsInstitute, now co-chaired by former senators Alan Simpson and DavidPryor.
It has been nearly eight years since the horrific day of September11, 2001. Even after the passage of time, the country cannot forget themagnitude of the attack that killed many innocent people and changedthe way we think about our security.
But members of this chamber more than anyone know that the damagedone on September 11th could have been even worse. There were threeplanes that struck their intended targets at the two towers of theWorld Trade Center and the Pentagon leaving nearly 3,000 innocentpeople dead. But there was also a fourth plane, United 93, which tookoff from Newark 42 minutes late. Because of the delay, the passengerson that flight, who were herded to the back of the plane, learned aboutthe fate of the other three planes from cell phone conversations withtheir loved ones. They made the fateful decision to storm the cockpit.All of them lost their lives, but their heroic actions spared Americathe loss of many more lives and prevented the disruption of ourconstitutional institutions of government, and our ability to respondeffectively to that terrorist attack.
John C. Fortier is a research fellow at AEI.