While the bombmakers were making plans during the last few months to blow up several airplanes bound for the busiest cities in the United States from Britain, the Bush Administration’s Homeland Security blokes were busy spending money in the high risk target areas such as Tiptonville, Tenn. (for an ATV, defibrillators and protective suits) and Converse, Tex. (for a “security” trailer used to transport riding lawnmowers to the lawnmower races). In addition to discounting the terrorist attack risk to cities such as New York City, home to 8 million people, because of what the Dept. of Homeland Security refers to as a lack of national icons and spending money on surveillance cameras for Dillingham, Alaska, a port town of 2,400, these same people who are responsible for and have the directive for Homeland Security were debating (for four years) on whether or not to send small explosive detection devices to foreign airports where flights to the U.S. originate.
John Solomon, writing for Associated Press in an article posted on the AT&T Worldnet Service news site, points out the administration’s budget tactics that essentially put ankle chains on research and development for our domestic security. “The administration’s most recent budget request also mystified lawmakers. It asked to take $6 million from Homeland S&T’s 2006 budget that was supposed to be used to develop explosives detection technology and instead divert it to cover a budget shortfall in the Federal Protective Service, which provides security around government buildings.”
In addition to moving $6 million from explosive detection technology research to cover budget shortfalls instead, “the department failed to spend $200 million in research and development money from past years, forcing lawmakers to rescind the money this summer.”
Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that the Department of Homeland Security is in charge of keeping us safe. We should all be very grateful that the Brits at least care.