Bush gets D on security

A liberal think tank gave the Bush administration a D for its attempts to improve homeland security since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In a report card that it released Wednesday, the Progressive Policy Institute said the administration has not taken advantage of existing technology designed to share intelligence, track foreigners, secure ports and improve aviation security.

The institute graded the administration in 28 areas, and gave only one A — for nuclear power plant security. Passenger security scored a B-, despite criticism about aviation security. Bioterrorism countermeasures received a C-, and baggage security on airplanes received a C+. The administration got a C for securing ports and a D for tracking entry and exit of foreign visitors and students.

"We have failed as a nation to fully mobilize our resources," said Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security.

Turner said the federal government is spending $400 billion on national security every year, but less than $30 billion on homeland security. And even efforts to tap existing technology to protect the nation have been half-hearted, he said. "We are leaders in technology, yet we seem unable to come to grips with how to share information."

Although Homeland Security officials did not respond to the report card directly, department Secretary Tom Ridge gave a speech Wednesday in California listing the agency's accomplishments.

"Every day we collect more intelligence, share more information, inspect more passengers and containers, guard more territory, and equip and train more first responders," Ridge said.

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