The global struggle against terrorism has “entered a new and dangerous phase” with growing threats posed by foreign fighters returning from the civil war in Syria and the vulnerability of critical systems to cyber attack, say the authors of the 9/11 Commission report a decade after their original findings, USA Today reports. Panel chairman Tom Kean said there was “broad agreement” on the new threats facing the nation and rest of the world. The core leadership of al-Qaeda, which was responsible for launching the 9/11 assaults, has been dramatically weakened.
Yet the panel concluded that “affiliated groups are gaining strength throughout the greater Middle East” and are operating in 16 countries. “The country may be suffering from a waning sense of urgency,” vice chairman Lee Hamilton said. Some of the group’s most biting commentary was aimed at Congress, which panel member James Thompson, a former Illinois governor, called “embarrassing” for its deeply partisan political ways. The new commission report says Congress has “resisted” decade-old recommendations to streamline its oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, which now reports to 92 congressional committees and subcommittees, up from 88 in 2004.