Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Wednesday, March 10, 2004
 
Sleep Well, America


From an excellent recent article on counter-terrorism in TNR:

Assessing the nation's thousands of vulnerable industrial sites, railways, electric grids, and so on is supposed to be central to the DHS mission. But 30 months after September 11, almost nothing has been done. Last year, an impatient Congress asked DHS to produce a plan for its nationwide risk assessment--not the actual assessment, just a plan for devising it--by December 15, 2003. The deadline came and went. Two days later, the White House quietly issued a directive giving DHS an entire year to develop a "plan" explaining its "strategy" for how to examine infrastructure. An actual infrastructure analysis, one DHS official told Congress last fall, could take five years.

Let's review that for a moment. The original target was not something wildly unreasonable, like 'actually correct security failings in the near future'. It was, more than two years after 9/11 to have a plan of how to assess infrastructure security. That has been pushed back - the administration now expects to take 40 months after 9/11 before they have a plan. The actual assessment will be another five years. That means that, if he wins, Bush doesn't expect to have assessed infrastructure vulnerability to terrorists by the end of his second term. Actually correcting vulnerabilities will presumably take even longer - not to mention there's no money for it.

This is from an administration whose major claim is their effectiveness in fighting terrorists. It's the only area in which poll show Bush with a large advantage over Kerry. If people find out just how weak the Bush anti-terror effort is, he's going to be in deep trouble.



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