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Progress on Sept. 11 commission's recommendations mixed

WASHINGTON—Here's the status of several recommendations that the Sept. 11 commission made in its report last July:

_INTELLIGENCE REORGANIZATION: The commission's most publicized proposal, the creation of an intelligence czar over the CIA and 15 other agencies, was enacted by Congress at the end of last year.

_FUNDING HOMELAND SECURITY: Spending "should be based strictly on an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities." Congress is making slow progress in that direction.

_BETTER SCREENING, SECURE DOCUMENTS: Some visa requirements have been tightened, and more nations are issuing biometric passports that are easier to check. But progress has been slow on integrating all watch lists to check entry into and exit from the United States. Congress set new standards for states' issuance of driver's licenses.

_DANGERS OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM: The Lugar-Nunn program, named for Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., costs about $1 billion a year, and the commission seeks more funding and authority to secure nuclear materials. It also urges the United States to enlist the help of NATO and other allies.

_CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT: Calls for Congress to consolidate committees that have oversight of intelligence and exercise tighter budget authority have gone largely unheeded.

_PUBLIC DIPLOMACY: U.S. officials must do a better job of spreading a positive message in the Muslim world and speaking out against despotic rule. President Bush named Karen Hughes, a close adviser to the president, to head that effort in the State Department. She begins her job as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy in the fall.

_CIVIL LIBERTIES BOARD: Greater use of intelligence and law enforcement powers has prompted the commission to call for a federal board to monitor civil liberties and privacy issues. The White House is working to fill positions on the board.

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(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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