From a recent speech by Former Secretary of the Navy (and 9/11 Commissioner) John Lehman on the events of 9/11 and beyond:
Actions have consequences, and people must be held accountable.
Customs officer Jose Melendez-Perez stopped the 20th terrorist, who was supposed to be on Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. Probably because of the shorthanded muscle on that team, the passengers were able to overcome the terrorists.
Melendez-Perez did this at great personal risk, because his colleagues and his supervisors told him, “You can’t do this. This guy is an Arab ethnic. You’re racially profiling. You’re going to get in real trouble, because it’s against Department of Transportation policy to racially profile.”
He said, “I don’t care. This guy’s a bad guy. I can see it in his eyes.” As he sent this guy back out of the United States, the guy turned around to him and said, “I’ll be back.”
You know, he is back. He’s in Guantanamo. We captured him in Afghanistan.
Do you think Melendez-Perez got a promotion? Do you think he got any recognition? Do you think he is doing any better than the 19 of his time-serving, unaccountable colleagues?
Don’t think any bit of it. We have no accountability, but we’re going to restore it.