An amendment to the FBI's appropriations bill signed into law by President Obama may bring back the 9/11 Commission to assess how its recommendations have been implemented since they were issued in 2004.
"We should not miss an opportunity to look at everything and look at anything inappropriate that we may have done differently in the past that we may have to do differently," amendment sponsor U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. "We need to bring people who have a history of dealing with things like this and bring them in front of the Congress."
"They would look at everything," Wolf said. "What is the radicalization issue? What were some of the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission? How have they all been carried out? Is there anything based on new technology or whatever that we should be doing different to look at everything?"
He hopes the review also will examine the problems leading up to last week's Boston Marathon bombing.
Much has changed since the recommendations were made and al-Qaida has adapted, shifting toward using lone-wolf terrorists to attack America. It has also uses Internet tools such as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine for recruiting.
With accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev telling FBI investigators that he and his brother were radicalized online and that they found the design for their bombs in Inspire, the deficiency of traditional counter-terrorism approaches becomes apparent.
Homegrown terrorists such as the Tsarnaev brothers, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan and Sgt. Jason Naser Abdo show the threat is more difficult to intercept.
"You don't get the chatter that you normally would if it was al-Qaida," Wolf said. "Some are impacted by abroad and some are impacted by just reading the magazine that's online.
Many questions remain about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and their ability to carry out the Boston attack without the FBI and other government agencies detecting them.
Among those is the FBI's handling of a January 2011 inquiry triggered by contact from Russia's Federal Security Bureau (FSB) about Tamerlan's Islamic extremism.
The fact that the FBI didn't learn about Tamerlan's travel to Russia despite knowledge within the Department of Homeland Security underscores some of the problems that have remained unsolved since the 9/11 Commission issued its report.
A Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee report on the terrorism watch list from last July found that the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) lacked access to all intelligence databases despite the 9/11 Commission's desire to break down the walls between various agencies.
Wolf blames a comprehensive political correctness that he says has consumed all aspects of the Obama administration. Involving the American Muslim community in finding the extremists before they strike is an important part of preventing future attacks, he said, but the message emanating from come Muslim groups hinders that, he said. "[Muslims] should be out there speaking out on this, but if you recall you had CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) urging … young Somalians in the Minneapolis area and their families with this line of not to participate and not deal with the FBI."
Wolf has long been a critic of CAIR's effort to blind the FBI, DHS and other national security agencies in their quest to catch homegrown Islamic extremists before they turn to terror.
In a 2009 floor speech, he took CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad to task for his stated support for Hamas in a 1994 speech at Berry University and nailed CAIR officials for giving aid and comfort to such international terrorist groups.
His amendment would ensure the FBI's policy about limiting contacts with CAIR continues. "They have been more of a hindrance than a help," Wolf said.