Those of us who were old enough to remember it likely would provide the same answer to this question: What is the most serious security breach in our nation’s history?
I would answer: 9/11. Terrorists flew three passenger jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and could have crashed a fourth jetliner into the Capitol Building were it not for the bravery of the passengers who fought them for control of the jet and crashed it into a field in Pennsylvania.
The tragedy of 9/11 prompted a thorough investigation into what went wrong and it produced some important reforms in the fight against international terrorism.
Now we have another monumental security breakdown staring us down. It occurred this past Wednesday when rioters stormed up Capitol Hill and ransacked the Capitol Building. They sent members of Congress – as well as Vice President Mike Pence – scurrying for cover.
Now comes the question: What in the name of national security happened and how did the D.C. Metro Police Department, the Capitol Police, and the Secret Service not respond more forcefully and quickly to the mayhem that was unfolding?
I am one American patriot who believes we need to create another blue-ribbon, bipartisan commission to study in detail what went wrong and provide solutions for how to prevent this kind of tragedy from recurring.
I also am one of millions of Americans who was horrified at what I watched on my TV screen. Donald Trump exhorted the rioters to march on Capitol Hill and “take back” the government. The rioters began their march and then all hell broke loose.
A commission charged with finding answers would have many questions to probe. They include:
- Given Donald Trump’s threat that “something big” would occur on Jan. 6, why wasn’t the Capitol Building swarming with security personnel who could repel the advance of the rioters?
- Why did some of the cops appear to many of us seem to assist rioters into the building?
- Others have posed this notion, but I’ll repeat it here: Had the rioters been ransacking the Capitol been Black Lives Matter protesters, there is little doubt that police would have reacted much differently than they did with the pro-Trump mob. The question: Is that a valid assertion?
Was there a massive breakdown in security of our nation’s government? I want answers. I believe a blue-ribbon commission given free rein to find the truth can provide the answers we need to hear.
John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, www.highplainsblogger.com. Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.
Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.