I feel safer already. Could the Bush administration be any more incompetent?
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Bush administration has missed dozens of deadlines set by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks for developing ways to protect airplanes, ships and railways from terrorists.
A plan to defend ships and ports from attack is six months overdue. Rules to protect air cargo from infiltration by terrorists are two months late. A study on the cost of giving anti-terrorism training to federal law enforcement officers who fly commercially was supposed to be done more than three years ago.
“The incompetence that we recently saw with FEMA’s leadership appears to exist throughout the Homeland Security Department,” said Mississippi Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. “Our nation is still vulnerable.”
In fairness, Congress set a lot of deadlines, and not all of them for essential projects.
Lawmakers piled on deadline after deadline for reports, plans and regulations while the department, created after the 2001 attacks, had to integrate 22 agencies with 170,000 workers and cope with terrorist threats and hurricanes.
Those deadlines, sometimes for minor projects, distract the department from putting in place the most important security measures, experts say. The Transportation Security Administration, for example, scrambled to try to meet a Feb. 15 deadline to ban butane lighters from airplanes, a precaution that does little to protect airliners, they said.
“You have no ability to prioritize against something like that, and it’s going to take up all your time,” said Dan Prieto, homeland security expert with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “The urgent becomes the enemy of the important.”
Of course, Bushco told us all that the Department of Homeland Security would rip through the bureaucracy, streamline everything, and protect us from the Terrists who Hate AmurrikaTM. Uh huh.