2006-07-19 / Editorials

Chertoff's IG Sheds Light On His Agency's Folly

Information that our Homeland Security leaders in Washington could not properly determine risk in designating the cities that should be receiving the lion's share of anti-terror funding was first provided for the country by Congressmember Anthony Weiner (D-Queens/Brooklyn) several years ago and many times since.

More recently, low level staffers working under Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff reinforced that notion as their misperceptions led to New York City, the nation's number one terror target, having its share of anti-terror funding reduced by

$80 million from last year.

Finally, last week, Richard Skinner, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General, one of the highest ranking officials in Chertoff's agency, agreed with all the criticism that had been heaped upon Chertoff's bean counters.

Skinner, the DHS internal watchdog, found that the department's database of vulnerable terror targets was too flawed to determine how federal security funds should be distributed.

In our opinion, this should mean that the entire process which DHS used in determining how $710 million was parceled out nationally should be scrapped and the process started over from scratch.

How so huge an amount of money should be spent should be decided by a board of nonpartisan terror experts who collectively would have the knowledge required to determine where the greatest areas of dangers are located.

There are already billions of United States tax dollars being lavished upon petting zoos, ice cream parlors and popcorn museums by Congress each year. They are not an accurate representation of the nation's critical infrastructure and key resources, as Skinner's inspectors pointed out.

The dangers lie in cities like New York where thousands of lives were theoretically endangered by the failed plots to set off cyanide bombs in our subways or destroy the PATH tunnels, which were revealed in the past few weeks.

But it appears as though politics as usual will prevail among the nation's lawmakers, despite findings such as Skinner reported. Hardly a day after his study's findings were aired, the U.S. Senate defeated a proposal to boost anti-terror funding and restore the money being denied to New York City and another to increase federal transportation security grants in the face of the PATH tunnel disclosures and the deadly train bombings in India.

Business as usual.

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