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Democrats: DHS Hasn’t Fulfilled Promises

by Pamela Leavey

The Department of Homeland Security showed itself as lacking and failing in many ways during the Hurricane Katrina disaster a few months ago. A report released today by House Democrats shows that the Department of Homeland Security has failed to fulfill 33 of its own pledges to better protect the nation.

The report concludes that gaps remain in federal efforts to secure an array of areas, including ports, borders and chemical plants. There also are still delays in the department’s sharing terror alerts and other intelligence with state and local officials, the review said.

Compiled for 13 Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee, the report analyzes public statements and congressional testimony on Bush administration security goals since 2002.

Responding, Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said the department is prioritizing resources and programs based on “today’s greatest threats.”

“Rather than looking backward at yesterday’s threats, we are building upon what we have already accomplished to meet evolving threats,” said Knocke.

According to the Democrats, since the department began operating in March 2003, it has failed to:

_Compile a single, comprehensive list prioritizing protections for the nation’s most critical and potentially vulnerable buildings, transportation systems and other infrastructure.

_Install monitors at borders and every international seaport and airport to screen for radiation material entering the country.

_Install surveillance cameras at all high-risk chemical plants.

_Create one effective network to share quickly security-related intelligence and alerts with state, local and private industry officials.

_Track foreign visitors through a computerized system that takes their fingerprints and photographs as they enter and exit the country.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement accompanying the report, “It would be one thing if the department didn’t identify security lapses in the first place, but a more troubling situation when they make promises to the American people and then leave them unfulfilled.”

The report from Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee, can be viewed here.

2 Responses to “Democrats: DHS Hasn’t Fulfilled Promises”

  1. Now this report, actually very encouraging, supports the Clinton Administration’s change of focus from Cold War policy to Antiterrorism.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/27/AR2005122700732.html?nav=hcmodule

    The protection of America at home that Richard Clarke and Clinton were correctly focused on, was ridiculed and ignored while BushCo spent the first six + months of their Administration on the ABM treaty (and getting oil, banking and other big business more room at the Government trough). Until the terrorist attack on 9/11 sent them off in an equally disastrous war on Iraq.

    I’m really getting to feel like a kid again. On a long car ride asking “How long til we get there?”

  2. I had another run in with FEMA yesterday!! Someone please take this bungling group of jackasses and remove them from the DHS soon.

    I started my new job and had to deal with FEMA and the most ignorant group of contractors, and they caused me over an hour of grief yesterday. Enough is Enough!!

    It was bad enough after the two storms we went through, but FEMA is still lacking in every area.