BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Former members of the 9/11 commission warned Thursday that despite efforts during the last decade to make American cities safer from terrorist attacks, the U.S. has failed to protect itself in at least three key areas and remains vulnerable to cyberterrorism and "lone wolf" terrorists.
Committee members said the U.S. must develop better bomb-detection technology, has not adequately improved radio equipment to allow police and fire departments nationwide to better communicate, and has yet to develop a national identification card that could add another barrier to terrorists trying to slip into the country.
Former Illinois Gov. James Thompson said he worries that terrorists from afar could hack into computers, crippling banks, businesses and key utilities while throwing the nation into disarray.
"You read stories day after day about some 18-year-old Romanian hacker getting in and playing havoc with banks, public offices, so think about what some of the rogue state actors might be doing," Thompson said.
Thompson and eight other members of the 10-member 9/11 commission, which disbanded in 2004 after recommending steps the nation could take to ward off terrorism, gathered on the Indiana University campus for a two-hour discussion before about 800 students and others.
Some of the former commission members lamented the lack today of the nonpartisan, unified spirit that swept across the nation in the wake the 2001 attacks, saying the nation needs that same passionate commitment now with the current partisan divisions in Washington.