GOP Is Soft on Terrorism

Ken AshfordElection 2006, War on Terrorism/Torture1 Comment

Look at this list.  It is funding needed to protect ourselves from terrorists.  What’s your reaction to the items on this list —  A waste of money, or worthwhile spending?

Screen Checked Baggage: $91.1 million

Screen Carry-On Baggage: $37.8 million

Passenger Profiling: $10 million

Screener Training: $5.3 million

Screen Passengers (portals) and Document Scanners: $1 million

Deploying Existing Technology to Inspect International Air Cargo: $31.4

Provide Additional Air/Counterterrorism Security: $26.6 million

Explosives Detection Training: $1.8 million

Augment FAA Security Research: $20 million

Customs Service: Explosives and Radiation Detection Equipment at Ports: $2.2 million

Anti-Terrorism Assistance to Foreign Governments: $2 million

Capacity to Collect and Assemble Explosives Data: $2.1 million

Improve Domestic Intelligence: $38.9 million

Critical Incident Response Teams for Post-Blast Deployment: $7.2 million

Additional Security for Federal Facilities: $6.7 million

Firefighter/Emergency Services Financial Assistance: $2.7 million

Public Building and Museum Security: $7.3 million

Improve Technology to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling: $8 million

Critical Incident Response Facility: $2 million

Counter-Terrorism Fund: $35 million

Explosives Intelligence and Support Systems: $14.2 million

Office of Emergency Preparedness: $5.8 million

Now comes the "reveal": this list comes from President Clinton’s 1996 Omnibus Anti-Terror Legislation.

The Republican-controlled Congress killed the legislation.  At the time, they were more interested in stained blue dresses.

Wait, there’s more.

On April 6, 2000, then-Attorney General Janet Reno wrote the following words in a budget goals memo, detaling how counterterrorism was the top priority for the Department of Justice.  (The FBI had declared couternterrorism its top priority several years earlier).  She wrote:

"In the near term as well as the future, cybercrime and counterterrorism are going to be the most challenging threats in the criminal justice area. Nowhere is the need for an up-to-date human and technical infrastructure more critical."

Contrast this with the official annual budget goals memo — the same annual memo — from Attorney General John Ashcroft (under Bush), dated May 10, 2001. Out of seven strategic goals described, not one mentions counterterrorism.

As the 2006 election heats up, you’re going to be hearing a lot about how the Democrats, when they were in power, failed to address the growing threat of terrorism.  This is demonstrably false, and you shouldn’t buy it (click on the link for more examples of what the Clinton Administration tried to do to thwart terrorism).