9/11 report to propose big changes, panel members say
From Kelli Arena and Kevin Bohn
CNN Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The 9/11 commission's final report, scheduled to be made public next week, is expected to propose significant changes in how the U.S. government organizes intelligence agencies and how they interact, according to two panel members.
They told CNN on Thursday that the nearly 600-page report will be "compelling and authoritative."
Neither one would comment on whether the votes by the bipartisan, independent panel on recommendations were unanimous. One member said there was "healthy debate" in the crafting of the final report.
An official said commissioners have voted to approve most of the report, barring one section. The White House already is going through the rest to ensure nothing is published that it deems too sensitive.
The commission hopes only a small amount of information will have to be redacted for national security reasons, as compared with last year's report by the joint congressional inquiry, which was barred from releasing many details.
Commissioners said key recommendations will include a complete overhaul of the intelligence community, but they declined to give details.
For example, it is unclear whether the panel will endorse a new national intelligence director to oversee all the various agencies or the creation of a new domestic intelligence agency. The FBI and CIA oppose such a new entity.
"Our approach is pretty nuanced and not subject to easy labeling," one commissioner said. "We tried to carefully deal with the divide between domestic and foreign intelligence. Our recommendation is pretty creative."
Another panel member said reform recommendations will be "organizational and institutional, not only concerning the intelligence community but also regarding first responders and broader domestic security personnel, including border patrol and immigration."
He said the report will provide "significant detail and rationale" for proposed changes.
"The intelligence establishment is clearly broken and dysfunctional," the commissioner said. "It requires a number of significant things to be done, a systematic approach, not a collection of discreet things to do."
As for the 9/11 plot, he said, "some gaps will be filled in," but most of the major issues have been outlined in previously released staff reports.
Several commissioners have said they believe the United States is safer today than it was before the September 11 attacks but that more remains to be done. They said they believe lawmakers will respect the conclusions of the report and will support many of the proposed changes.
Members of victims' families are expected to be in Washington to receive a briefing from the commission before the report's release to the public.