How Technology Has, and Has Not, Changed Since 9-11

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This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

It has been ten years since terrorists used hijacked airplanes to attack the United States. In the years since then, much has been done to improve security in the country.

Intelligence sharing and cooperation between federal, state and local government agencies is said to be at an all-time high. There also have been improvements in airport security.

But a new report says the United States is not as safe as should be. It says America “is not yet prepared for a truly catastrophic disaster.”

The report is from the National Security Preparedness Group at the Bipartisan Policy Center. The group is led by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and former congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana. The two men also led the 9-11 Commission.

Congress asked the commission to investigate the September eleventh attacks and to make proposals for guarding against future attacks.

The new report noted that nine of the reforms proposed by the commission have either been carried out ineffectively or completely ignored.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about the report.

HILLARY CLINTON: “As the members of the 9-11 Commission recently reported, a number of their major recommendations remain unfulfilled. For example, much-needed radio frequencies have not yet been allotted to first responders to allow them to communicate effectively in a crisis ... an issue that I worked on for many years in the Senate and is long overdue for completion."

The 9-11 Commission found that communication was a major issue during the attacks ten years ago. Police, firefighters and medical crews had trouble talking to each other because they were using different radio frequencies. Officials said this lack of communication led to needless loss of life.

The commission said the government should identify radio frequencies that would be used only for emergency communications. However, this has yet to be done.

The report praised the deployment of US-Visit, a biometric entry system in the United States. Secretary Clinton says this new technology has helped strengthen America’s security.

HILLARY CLINTON: “We have emphasized innovation. For example, we are now using sophisticated new biometric screening tools to improve border security and the visa process.”

The US-Visit system uses digital fingerprints and photographic images to identify people entering the United States. The report notes that a similar system for those leaving the country has yet to be established. It says such a system may have helped officials find two of the hijackers involved in the 9-11 attacks.

And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. You can learn English and much more at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.

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