Democrats hit administration on security

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Committees' report

Democratic House members issued a report today that slammed the Bush administration for incomplete actions and failures to make significant progress on 25 anti-terrorism recommendations that originated from the 9/11 Commission.

The report was prepared by the Democratic chairmen and majority staffs of the House Homeland Security and  Foreign Affairs committees. It examined the White House's record in carrying out legislation to implement the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.

The study said incomplete progress had been made opportunities squandered in improving security for aviation, rail, ports and borders, including missed chances to bolster information sharing, emergency response and biosurveillance.

It cited “failure to take action” in four of the 25 areas, including surveying airports for their terrorist vulnerabilities. Ten areas showed little or no progress, the report said.

For example, in the area of shipping container screening, the committees reported “no progress” on implementing the 100 percent screening requirement included in the legislation. Congress had set a deadline of July 1, 2012, for implementing the screening.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has actively opposed the mandate and signaled it would focus on high-risk cargo. “Over the past year, DHS has not acted in a manner that is likely to result in the fulfillment the mandate established in Section 1701 [of the law] -– instead, it has actively campaigned against them,” the report said.

Other items in the report and the committees' assessment include:



  • Screening air cargo: Limited progress;



  • Rail transportation risk assessment and national strategy: Limited progress;



  • National Strategy for Public Transportation Security: Incomplete.



  • National Biosurveillence Integration Center: Initial steps taken, but limited progress;



  • Private-sector preparedness: Limited progress.



  • DHS information sharing with state and local fusion centers: Failure to take action.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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