Early in 2001, the [Hart-Rudman] commission presented a report to the incoming G.W. Bush administration warning that terrorism would be the nation's greatest national security problem, and saying that unless the United States took proper protective measures a terrorist attack was likely within its borders. Neither the president nor the vice president nor any other senior official from the new administration took time to meet with the commission members or hear about their findings.
The commission had 14 members, split 7-7, Republican and Democrat, as is de rigeur for bodies of this type. Today [Gary] Hart told me that in the first few meetings, commission members would go around the room and volunteer their ideas about the nation's greatest vulnerabilities, most urgent needs, and so on.
At the first meeting, one Republican woman on the commission said that the overwhelming threat was from China. Sooner or later the U.S. would end up in a military showdown with the Chinese Communists. There was no avoiding it, and we would only make ourselves weaker by waiting. No one else spoke up in support.
The same thing happened at the second meeting -- discussion from other commissioners about terrorism, nuclear proliferation, anarchy of failed states, etc, and then this one woman warning about the looming Chinese menace. And the third meeting too. Perhaps more.
Finally, in frustration, this woman left the commission.
"Her name was Lynne Cheney," Hart said.
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