9/11 Commission Says 'No Single Individual' Was Responsible

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - "Our failures took place over many years and many administrations, but no single individual was responsible for our failures," said 9/11 commission chairman Tom Kean on Thursday, as he officially released the report on the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks.

Even though no one person was singled out -- "individuals and institutions cannot be absolved of responsibility," said Kean, a Republican and the former governor of New Jersey.

"Any person in a senior position in our government at that time bears some element of responsibility for our government's actions."

Kean said it is not the commission's purpose to assign blame. He said the goal is to prevent future attacks.

"Every expert with whom we spoke told us an attack of even greater magnitude is now possible and even probable. We do not have the luxury of time. We must prepare and we must act."

Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton, a Democrat and a former member of Congress, outlined some of the report's recommendations.

"If, God forbid, there is another attack, we must be ready to respond," Hamilton said. He called for better training and equipment of first responders. He also called for the creation of a national counterterrorism center; stronger congressional oversight; a beefed-up homeland defense; and a national intelligence director.

There must be changes in government organization, Hamilton said. "Good people can overcome bad structures," he said. "They should not have to." He said the government needs better information-sharing and a clear idea of who is in charge of pulling all the information together.

"We have made a limited number of recommendations, focusing on the areas we believe most critical," Hamilton said.

He also said it's important to balance security with liberty. "We must when all is said and done, preserve the liberties that we are fighting for.""