Are We Really More Secure Under the Republicans?
by Clive Pellings
President's fiscal year 2007 cuts $612 million out of first responder
training programs administered by the
Preparedness Directorate. Overall, funding
for programs designed to assist state and local law enforcement
slashed by more than $1 billion
compared to fiscal year 2006. Representatives of the
Sheriffs' Association and the International Association of Chiefs of
questioned whether these cuts demonstrate a lack of commitment to
security on the part of the
Bush's FY07 budget "eliminates the port security grant program,
source of funds committed to help
ports pay for post-9/11 security requirements."
of funds set aside specifically for ports, the White House "has
$600 million in Targeted Infrastructure Protection Program (TIPP)
ports to compete with rail, mass transit, and other critical
Killed A Vote On An Amendment That Would Have Added $250 Million For
Security Grants. Republicans killed the vote on the Obey, D-Wis., amendment
would add $2.5 billion for homeland security, including $800 million
grants, $250 million for port security grants, and $150 million for
research to develop capabilities against
chemical weapons. [HR1559,Vote#104,4/3/03]
Every Republican present voted to kill this amendment.
Voted Against $400 million Increase in Port Security. In 2005,
voted against an alternative Homeland Security Authorization proposal
would commit $41 billion to securing the nation from terrorist threats
billion more than the President's
budget. The proposal called for an additional $400
in funding for port security, including $13 million to double the
new overseas port inspectors provided for in
the President's budget. The proposal
the holes in securing the nation's ports by requiring DHS to develop
security standards, integrate container security pilot projects, and
examine ways to integrate container
inspection equipment and data.
16th, 2006, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment
by Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN) that would have provided $1.25 billion in
desperately needed funding for port
security and disaster preparedness. The Sabo
million to enable U.S.
customs agents to inspect high-risk containers at all
ports that ship directly to the United States. Current
allows U.S. customs agents to
operate at 43 of these ports.
million to place radiation monitors at all U.S. ports of entry.
less than half of U.S. ports have radiation
million to provide backup emergency communications equipment for the Gulf Coast.
the Bush budget – which most of the members who voted against this bill
likely support – contains an increase of $1.7 billion for missile
program that doesn’t even work. Congress also defeated an amendment
by Sen. Bob
(D-NJ) to provide an additional $965 million for port security, a $5
amendment by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for emergency responder
equipment, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (D-CT) $8 billion amendment
for homeland security programs.
percent of our ports do not have the ability to screen a container for
dirty bombs or nuclear weapons. But,
President Bush "requested only $157 million for
portal monitors, which means U.S. seaports will not have
the ability to
screen containers for nuclear
the President's FY07 budget requested $934 million for the Coast
program, which delays by twenty-five years the overhaul of the Coast
cutters and aircraft, which are used to patrol and protect our ports
Senate Republicans voted against an amendment to the FY 2006 Budget
to provide an additional $855 million in homeland security funding,
including $150 million for port security
Senate Republicans voted against an amendment to the FY 2005 Homeland
Appropriations bill to provide an additional $150 million to develop
equipment to detect nuclear weapons
hidden in containers entering U.S. ports.
Senate Republicans voted against an amendment to the FY 2004 Homeland
Appropriations bill to increase funding for port and maritime security
$100 million and funding for Coast Guard operations and security by $42
Senate Republicans voted against an amendment to the FY 2004 Homeland
Appropriations bill to increase overall homeland security spending by
billion, including $238.5 million for
port and border security. Senator Robert Byrd
said, "The Transportation Security Administration received over $1
from the ports for the limited funding that was approved by Congress
2002, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham sent a letter to the Director
the Office of Management and Budget, requesting
a budget increase. The money was for
nuclear weapons, weapons materials and radioactive waste and was part
billion emergency spending bill before Congress. Additional funds were
· Equipment to detect explosives
in packages and vehicles entering Energy
sites ($12 million)
· Better perimeter barriers and
fences ($13 million)
· Improvements in Energy
Department computers, including “firewalls” and
detection equipment and increasing the ability to communicate “critical
cyber threat and incident
information” ($30 million).
· A reduction in the number of
places where bomb-grade plutonium and uranium
was stored. ($42 Million).
November, 2002, Stephen E. Flynn, Retired Commander, speaking on behalf
of Foreign Relations, he brought a request that Congress “Fund, equip,
National Guard units around the country to ensure they can support the
state homeland security plans under
development by each governor. Also, triple the
National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Support Teams from
And then there’s America’s
ports. “. . . the Customs Service has created the
Security Initiative, a program to screen containers at foreign ports
before they are loaded onto ships.
Such a program is extremely promising . . .”
post-9/11 budget requests? Bush met with House Appropriations Committee
and said, “... I want to make it clear that if
Congress appropriates one dollar
more than we have requested, I will veto the
request for more funding to protect weapons and nuclear materials?
Council on Foreign Relations request for funds to beef up the Coast
proposal to increase port security? Unfunded.
pressed on the issue of security funding, the administration gets quite
White House Budget Director Mitch Daniels in said. “There is not enough
galaxy to protect every square inch of America and every American against
every conceivable threat that every
hateful fanatic in the world might conjure up.”
a report by the Brookings Institute: “President Bush vetoed several
(and relatively cost-effective) measures proposed by Congress that
have addressed critical national
vulnerabilities. As a result, the country remains
more vulnerable than it should be today.”
9/11, Bush repeatedly posed with firefighters, praised their heroism,
first responders (police, fire and emergency medical personnel) the
they needed for adequate equipment and staffing.
But he vetoed a bill that included
for equipping fire departments across the country. That same month
promised $3.5 billion to help states equip and train first responders.
of these “new” funds, it turned out, were merely being shifted from
existing homeland security programs.
According to Congressional Quarterly, “the Bush
plan for funding new responders amounts to
after 9/11, a Brookings Institute study and the General Accounting
that the United
states contains 12,000 chemical
facilities, and about 193
toxic chemicals that, if released, could each potentially threaten one
million people. The study maintained,
“These chemical facilities are not adequately
protected against terrorist attack.” The
EPA tried to establish regulations to
security, but were rebuffed by Bush Administration, which was busy
authored by the chemical industry trade groups shielding them from
strict compliance measures.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigated sixty chemical plants and found
of lax security. At a plant in New Jersey where
an incident could endanger more than
people, gates were left open and unguarded and there was almost no
security at all. Prompted by such
reports, the Senate Committee on the Environment
Public Works approved by 19 to 0 a bill toughening security standards
chemical plants, which Al Qaeda was
known to have studied. The chemical industry
lobbied against it, Bush refused to
intervene, and the Bill died in congress.
GOP subsequently took control of Congress in 2003, Bush demanded they
billion from previously approved spending levels to meet his budget,
deep cuts in homeland security programs. The
Congressional Quarterly observed, “. .
future of homeland security is going to be fights over every penny,
that allow New York City
police and fire departments to talk to each other
or radiation detectors for ocean shipping
containers in Long Beach,
warnings were raised, then lowered, then raised again, key agencies
complained they lacked means for a
response. Years ago, Congress mandated
machines in most airports, but a recent Wall Street Journal inquiry
found that only 190 out of 1,290
required machines were in place.
E. Flynn, who earlier testified before Congress regarding national
deficiencies, compiled his findings in a
book, America The Vulnerable. The forward
“Despite increased awareness, we still offer our enemies a vast menu of
. . The measures we have cobbled together to protect these vital
hardly fit to deter amateur thieves, vandals, and smugglers, let alone
House prefers free-market solutions: Bush’s National Strategy for
document reads as follows:
achieve [securitygoals] we must carefully
weigh the benefit of each homeland
endeavor and only allocate resources where the benefit of reducing risk
worth the amount of additional cost.”
The administration finds that for many
activities such as protecting large buildings and public venues,
“sufficient incentives exist in the private market to
report goes on to slam regulation, claiming that the private sector’s
civic duty can be counted on to pony
up for security measures. Hmmm. Applying a
rigid cost-benefit analysis to public
spending on homeland security? I doubt most
see the issue through that prism.
Brookings Report quoted earlier noted, “. . . because of the
resistance to government action, the Federal government made little or
progress in guiding private-sector firms--even ones that handle
materials--toward improving their own
independent task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations
“The United States remains dangerously ill-prepared to handle a
catastrophic attack on American soil.” It
noted that fire departments across the
were still short on radios, breathing equipment, and police departments
lacked protective gear needed to
secure a site following an attack. That same month,
warnings of possible Al Qaeda suicide hijackings, the Transportation
Administration announced it wanted to cut $104 million from the air
program to help offset a budget
11 commission said that screening travelers for explosives was a reform
“needed soon,” but the Bush administration is reluctant to increase the
annual aviation security budget by the necessary hundreds of millions
dollars, officials said. Rep Peter A.
DeFazio (D-Ore), Chair of the House Aviation
claimed the agency and the Bush administration were “in denial on this
DeFazio “They have no intention of quickly deploying bomb detection
to screen passengers and carry-on bags. . .”
important thing is to find Osama bin Laden.
government will take every possible measure to safeguard our country
uncover every detail and learn every lesson of September the 11th. My
will continue to act on the lessons we”ve
learned so far to better
protect the people of this country. It”s our most solemn duty.”
“have the full attention and complete support of the very highest
of our government.”
of Energy Spencer Abraham sent a letter to the Director of. . .
White House Cut 93% of Funds . . .
Matthew Wald New York Times, April 22 2002
equip, and train National Guard units around the country to ensure they
support the new state homeland security
plans. . .
“. . .
the Customs Service has created the Container Security Initiative, a
to screen containers. . .”
Lieberman”s demand for an extra $16 billion
per year for homeland security . . .
want to make it clear that if Congress appropriates one dollar more
have requested, I will veto the bill.”
Bush vetoed several specific (and relatively cost-effective) . . .
“There”s a new sheriff in town, and he”s dedicated to fiscal discipline.”
chemical facilities are not adequately protected against terrorist
. . . by
the Council on Foreign Relations declared, “The United States remains
dangerously ill-prepared. . .
Security Administration announced it wanted
$104 million from the . . .
scroll down to “...what we can
do is we
can be -- obviously at home, continue to be diligent on the inspection
process. . . “
. . . .
both Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee wanted to add $8
to the budget . . .
. . . but
Bush turned down a request for $52 million to hire more agents . . .
bill that included $340 million for equipping fire departments . . .
scroll down to “Vetoing
the Firemen and the Farmers.”
“. . .
the Bush plan for funding new responders amounts to double-entry
Tribune-Review investigated sixty chemical plants and found a pattern
lax security. http://www.nrdc.org/media/pressreleases/030909.asp
A PDF file. See page 15.
Street Journal inquiry found that only 190 out of 1,290 required . . .
16, 2002, The Wall Street
Journal, ”Airport Bomb Detection Faces Big Hurdles”
. . . the future of homeland security is going to be
fights over every penny. . .
by Jonathan Chait (originally
by The New Republic - 3/10/03)
achieve [securitygoals] we must carefully
weigh the benefit of each. . .
A PDF file.
have fallen out of regulatory control that . . . a radiological attack
appears to be all but certain within
the coming years.”
Say “Dirty Bomb” Attack Likely” June 19th, 2004 CHARLES J. HANLEY,