18 Jun 2004 Kerrey 9/11 Commission Snub Pays Off — But Not for Him
Executive director David Almasi notes an interesting chain of events thus far lost to the major media:
After much public wailing, the 9/11 commission finally got a meeting with President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney on April 30. When they finally got their interview, however, two commission members – Bob Kerrey and Lee Hamilton – excused themselves early to attend other appointments. Hamilton went to a luncheon honoring the Canadian prime minister. Kerrey went trolling for pork, and it’s interesting what happened.
Kerrey, a former senator, was trying to meet with Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations. Kerrey wanted more money for the New School University, an institution where “education is seen as a tool to produce positive changes in society” and he serves as president. It’s not the kind of place known for work on energy and water issues.
Not only did Kerrey leave an important meeting meant to strengthen our nation’s security against an international terrorist threat, but his funding pitch to Domenici ended up being only a brief discussion held just off the Senate floor. It was also unsuccessful. Kerrey should be very understanding about the reason why.
The 9/11 commission just released a report revealing that al Queda’s initial plan of attack was much broader than what actually happened. The original plan called for ten hijacked planes, with two targeting nuclear power plants. Kerrey, coincidentally, could not get New School funding because more money than expected is needed to fund the creation of the national nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain.
When completed, Yucca Mountain will thwart terrorist plans to use spent radioactive fuel that is now usually stored on-site at most nuclear plants as a weapon (like crashing a plane into it). While Kerrey didn’t get the money for his school, he should rest easy that the money is being spent with the intent of reaching the goals of the commission on which he serves. Some of the time.