CommunityPam's House Blend

Homeland Insecurity

“There’s a lack of adult leadership on both sides. The department just doesn’t have its act together.”
— James Carafano, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, on Homeland Security’s efforts

As the Chimperor stood on the heap of rubble at the WTC, imagining himself as the savior of the country, he made his flock feel like he was going to keep them safe from the swarthy bin Laden-types from abroad. During the election, Darth Cheney even intimated that if voters cast a ballot for Kerry it was a vote for the terrorists.

“It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.

Between the White House and the Repug clowns on the Hill in the time since, the terrorists can rest easy when they read sh*t like this, from the AP:

* A plan to defend ships and ports from attack is six months overdue.
* Rules to protect air cargo from infiltration by terrorists are two months late.
* A study on the cost of giving anti-terrorism training to federal law enforcement officers who fly commercially was supposed to be done more than three years ago.
* The government has yet to develop a comprehensive plan to protect roads, bridges, tunnels, power plants, pipelines and dams.

The Bush administration has missed dozens of deadlines set by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks for developing ways to protect airplanes, ships and railways from terrorists.

…”The incompetence that we recently saw with FEMA’s leadership appears to exist throughout the Homeland Security Department,” said Mississippi Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. “Our nation is still vulnerable.”

Congress must share the blame for the department’s sluggishness in protecting commerce and travel from terrorists, according to other observers. Lawmakers piled on deadline after deadline for reports, plans and regulations while the department, created after the 2001 attacks, had to integrate 22 agencies with 170,000 workers and cope with terrorist threats and hurricanes.

Those deadlines, sometimes for minor projects, distract the department from putting in place the most important security measures, experts say. The Transportation Security Administration, for example, scrambled to try to meet a Feb. 15 deadline to ban butane lighters from airplanes, a precaution that does little to protect airliners, they said.

…A report on how a grant program for shippers and ports would work is more than a year late; a report on cargo container security is eight months overdue; a national security plan for marine transportation is well past its April 1 due date.

Rep. Harold Rogers, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees Homeland Security spending, was unhappy because the TSA missed a March 17 deadline for a plan to deploy bomb-detection machines at airports.

Can we take three more years of irresponsible right-wing, blowhard rule? it’s depressing.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding