Dan Eggen's July 27 front-page article, "9/11 Report Says Plotter Saw Self as Superterrorist," did not mention probably the most disturbing information about Khalid Sheik Mohammed: He was indicted by federal prosecutors in New York in 1996 for his role in earlier plots against the United States, yet on July 23, 2001, he was granted a U.S. visa. While we have no evidence that he used the visa to enter this country then, the problem is that he was able to obtain the visa from Saudi Arabia.

This is just one glaring example -- insufficient border security -- of the panoply of problems that existed in our national security apparatus before Sept. 11, 2001. The president and Congress must recognize that we need to integrate border control into our national security strategy and provide the commensurate resources.

Disrupting terrorist mobility globally is at least as important as disrupting terrorist financing -- much of which also takes place in Saudi Arabia. Yet, three years after the terrorist attacks, little has been done about either of these issues.

We must hold our elected leaders accountable not only for their failures to appreciate and act against the threat posed by al Qaeda before Sept. 11 but for their failure since then to enact sound reforms to make us safer. Even though Mr. Mohammed remains in U.S. custody, a slew of terrorist clones may be ready to take advantage of these still ripe vulnerabilities.


Atlantic Highlands, N.J.


East Brunswick, N.J.

The writers, whose husbands died in the Sept. 11 attacks, are members of the Family Steering Committee of the Sept. 11 commission.