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  • centurion2049 centurion2049 Mar 15, 2006 7:23 AM Flag

    Dangerously Incompetent

    The information below is from "The State of Homeland Security, 2006: An Annual Report Card on the Department of Homeland Security" prepared by the Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security for the third anniversary of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, March 1, 2006.

    PORT SECURITY: C-minus / D-plus

    THE DANGER: Terrorist groups have already targeted ports and vessels to carry out attacks, including the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1986; the attack on the USS Cole in 2000; and the attack of the French oil tanker Limburg in 2001. In addition, in 2004, terrorists smuggled in a container which killed 10 people at the Port of Ashod in Israel. Security experts are also concerned that our ports could serve as a point of entry for a nuclear weapon.

    PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE: Congress has approved over $750 million in grants to pay for security improvements at our seaports. As of July 1, 2004, all of our nation's ports have complied with Coast Guard regulations requiring them to hire security officers, and install barriers and surveillance systems. The Coast Guard screens all incoming vessels to determine if they pose a terrorist risk. DHS is also working with the private sector to better screen containers and target high-risk vessels.

    BARRIERS TO PROGRESS: Consistent underfunding by the Bush Administration continues to limit DHS's progress on port security. The budget eliminates dedicated funds for port security, forcing ports to compete with rail, mass transit and other critical infrastructure for funding. The budget also fails to increase funding from the previous year for cargo security programs and underfunds container inspection technology.

    STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN: Currently, Customs and Border Protection does not currently know which containers are high risk because the screening system is flawed. DHS must take the steps necessary to get the trade data allowing them to make an accurate assessment of containers. CBP also needs more staff to inspect containers at American ports, as well increasing funding and setting deadlines for the deployment of radiation screening devices at our seaports. Finally, the Coast Guard must accelerate compliance checks to ensure that allies are implementing security measures.

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    • sshhhhhhhhhh don't tell cheney.

    • Bitter internal politics, and bitter internal fighting. Today Allawi, who we inserted to lead Iraq after the invasion, called the violence a civil war that is killing 50 or 60 people a day. Saying that "if this isn't a civil war - he doesn't know what is". These current alliances mean nothing. These groups are tribal by definition, and have little concept of the national interest. Instead, it begins and ends with their tribal and group interest. The Kurds are angry at the Shia's because they want Kirkutz turned back into a Kurdish city which Jafaari opposes, and because Jafaari went to Turkey without inviting them. The Sunni's oppose the Kurds position on Kirkutz, because many of those that Sadaam sent there are Sunni's. They ally to oppose Jafaari now because they don't want the Shia's having too much power, but will split downstream. Some Iraqi journalists see no resolution other than for another "strong man" to emerge and take control.

    • "...prepared by the Democratic Staff..."
      (you forgot to snip THAT out of it)

      but why should a guy like you do that, when you regularly post screed from:

      ...prepared by the Code Pinko's
      ...prepared by the "Veterans" for Peace
      ...prepared by the Socialist Workers Party
      ...prepared by the CPUSA
      ...prepared by the Al-Jazeera
      ...prepared by the Air America commie radio
      ...prepared by the American Peace Crusade
      ...prepared by the Gold Star Families for Peace
      ...prepared by the Not In Our Name
      ...prepared by the War Resisters League
      ...prepared by the International ANSWER
      ...prepared by the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies
      ...prepared by the Code Pink for Peace
      ...prepared by the Iraq Action Coalition
      ...prepared by the Progressive Peace Coalition (aka Columbus Progressive Alliance)
      ...prepared by the Committee for the World Congress Against War
      ...prepared by the Environmentalists Against War
      ...prepared by the Refuse & Resist! (R&R!)
      ...prepared by the Student Peace Action Network (SPAN)
      ...prepared by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
      ...prepared by the Center for Constitutional Rights
      ...prepared by the Democratic Justice Fund
      ...prepared by theNational Coalition to Repeal the Patriot Act
      ...prepared by the GrantMakers Without Borders
      ...prepared by the The Anti-Patriot Act Left
      ...prepared by the Los Angeles Peace Center

      all America-Haters, JUST LIKE YOU!


      THE DANGER: The 9/11 Commission recognized the vulnerability of our critical infrastructure - infrastructure that includes our drinking water, the food we eat, the gas we use to drive our cars, and the subways we use to get to work. Unfortunately, the Administration has not undertaken a risk and vulnerability assessment for this infrastructure; no national priorities have been established; and no recommendations have been made as to how to allocate scarce resources.

      PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE: The President's budget includes funding to complete the National Infrastructure Protection Plan.

      BARRIERS TO PROGRESS: DHS has failed to create a National Asset Database that effectively catalogues critical infrastructure in the US. The current database contains both critical and non-critical assets, such as shopping malls and banks. In addition, the President has provided no additional funding to secure our infrastructure.

      STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN: DHS must quickly finish the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and provide more dedicated funding to secure ports, chemical plants, mass transit, and other critical infrastructure.


      THE DANGER: Although some facilities are voluntarily pursuing security enhancements, some have not taken the necessary steps to stop a terrorist attack. A recent investigation of security at chemical plants in urban areas found that gates were unlocked or wide open and that tanks filled with potentially deadly chemicals were left unsecured.

      PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE: The Administration has requested $10 million for a Chemical Site Security Office at DHS to classify facilities into risk based tiers and establish security standards for each tier. The development of analytical metrics to evaluate risks posed by specific plants.

      BARRIERS TO PROGRESS: The new Office for Chemical Site Security does not have the necessary authority to complete its mission. Currently DHS does not even have the authority to enter a chemical facility, and only 7 percent are following industry suggested guidelines.

      STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN: The House and Senate should pass S.2145, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2005. DHS should then promote a risk based regulatory structure that lays out the security requirements for each facility, and enforce the security requirements accordingly.


      THE DANGER: Intelligence information about terrorists is useless if we cannot get critical information to the front-line police and sheriffs who need it most. Those officers observe activities and conditions in the course of their day to day work that may be indicators of emerging terrorist plots. However, there are still no procedures in place to ensure that information can move easily between Federal and local law enforcement professionals.

      PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE: The development of the National Counterterrorism Center brings all intelligence agencies under one roof to jointly analyze intelligence information.

      BARRIERS TO PROGRESS: Federal officials still do not have the capability to assess what intelligence information would be of the most use to local law enforcement officials. In addition, DHS and the FBI are not still fully cooperating in the information sharing process.

      STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN: The NCTC should ensure that the intelligence they are collecting and analyzing is being reviewed by those who can identify intelligence of interest to police officers and convert it into a usable format. Local law enforcement should also have the opportunity to share information from the field with DHS.


      THE DANGER: Despite all the progress that has been made in aviation security, there are three major gaps that still need to be addressed: the potential for sabotage by an airport worker, a terrorist potentially boarding a US bound plane before being checked against the terrorist watchlist, and the possibility of an attack emanating in the air cargo hold.

      PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE: TSA has identified eight accomplishments in its aviation security program since 9/11 that include: a Federal airport security workforce that meets 100 percent of national standards; the deployment of Federal Air Marshals on high-risk flights; hardened cockpit doors on commercial flights; armed pilots; and 100 percent screening of the 1 billion bags checked annually.

      BARRIERS TO PROGRESS: The increase in funding for aviation security in the President's budget is largely dependent on Congress approving a doubling of the passenger ticket fee and additional air carrier security fees. The budget provides no new funding for explosive detection systems and DHS has failed to provide 20 airports with financial assistance in purchasing and installing in-line detection equipment as promised. The air cargo operations budget is funded at $200 million less than authorized by the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

      STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN: DHS must put systems in place to restrict unescorted access to secured areas of the airport, or screen workers entering those areas; implement an automated system to pre-screen US bound passengers before their flights depart; and eliminate exemptions to screening of air cargo and develop a tiered approach to cargo security so elevated risk cargo is identified and screened.

      • 1 Reply to centurion2049

        THE DANGER: Terrorist groups have already targeted surface transportation for attacks, including the attack on a Moscow Metro rail car in 2004, a coordinated series of 10 explosions on four commuter trains in Madrid that same year, and a coordinated series of four explosions on three London subway trains and one bus in 2005. These attacks make it clear that terrorists view non-aviation transportation modes as potential targets.

        PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE: The President's budget pledges that TSA will develop best practices, standards, and regulations to protect our transportation infrastructure.

        BARRIERS TO PROGRESS: TSA has conducted risk assessments, but those assessments are duplicative to those being conducted by the Federal Office of Domestic Preparedness and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The lack of coordination has created confusion and frustration for the transportation industry. In addition, the TSA budget dedicates only 1 percent of the department's funding to surface transportation security. The budget also eliminates dedicated grants used by public transportation systems to increase security, forcing surface transportation to compete with ports and other critical infrastructure for funding.

        STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN: Currently, there are only 100 surface transportation inspectors employed by TSA, as compared to 43,000 aviation screeners. The number of screeners should be increased. TSA should mandate security training for the men and women who drive trains, subways, and trucks, as well as take steps to ensure the safe movement of hazardous materials. TSA must also ensure that their efforts are better coordinated with public and private stakeholders.