Clinton: 9/11 Was Preventable - With DM Know-How

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Though the 9/11 Commission's final report didn't come out and conclude that the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was preventable, former President Clinton suggests otherwise. All the government needed was a little database work. Speaking at The Donnelley Group's Information Privacy Forum a few days before the report was released, Clinton said information was in various consumer databases on 17 of the 19 terrorists who hijacked the planes. Reputed ringleader Mohammed Atta was listed as having 12 addresses, while another hijacker had racked up $250,000 debt on 30 credit cards.

"Somebody who has been here a year and a half and has 30 credit cards and a quarter of a million dollars in debt, they're either really rich or up to no good. It shouldn't have been hard to figure out which," Clinton said. After the Oklahoma City bombing, the government increased its counterterrorism capacity, but nothing was done regarding IT, he said in response to a question about government and business working together. "If we had access to this sort of technology and had been able to do it in a way that would have protected the intellectual capital of the company, we could have saved one heck of a lot of lives. ... I know that if we had the right software screening program, we could have known enough to go after some of those people at least a month before 9/11."

The question is, would privacy concerns have been addressed as well?

Clinton also talked about how Americans need to do the right thing - something DMers are reminded of all the time - during his speech about whether the United States will continue to be a leader in the year 2104. "The only thing we should do now, since none of us are hardly going to be around [then], is think about the world we would like our grandchildren to live in, and act accordingly today and ask ourselves every time we have a big decision to make, 'Is this decision consistent with what I want my grandchildren to live in,' " he said. "I think we should start thinking more like that today because if we do, 100 years from now will take full care of itself."

More excerpts from Clinton's speech can be read at

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