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Chertoff to Buffalo: We’re 51.4% Behind You

Predictably, the bust-up of a teenaged terror cell in Canada has a lot of people freaked out, especially since Fort Erie has been named by the Buffalo News as being, as Donn Esmonde put it, “on the terrorist radar screen.” Who knew they had radar screens?

It’s unclear whether Fort Erie really was a possible target, or if the official reports on the case simply have the words “Fort Erie” in there somewhere (their mayor has denied the “rumor”). Also, the recently described “plan” to storm Canadian Parliament and behead new PM Harper have us wondering if these terrorist guys have any idea what the hell they’re doing. Seriously, what—there’s no security at Canadian Parliament?

At any rate, we in the states can breathe easy, because our freshly minted Homeland Security Department will protect us from border-crossing bin Ladens. Or will they?

As it turns out, not so much. In Buffalo and many other seemingly vulnerable and attractive targets to terrorists, Homeland Security funding has been slashed dramatically this year, by half or more. Funding has been cut for many other locations, including New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Boston, the San Francisco Bay area, and obvious prime targets like New York City and Washington. DC. Instead, large increases in security funding will go to such terror hotspots as Omaha, Louisville, Charlotte, and Milwaukee.

Does anyone else detect a pattern here? As with the projected military base closings that threatened Niagara Falls last year, most of the losers in this equation are in blue states, and most of the winners in red states. The “standards” by which these areas have been evaluated for funding are intentionally askew, resulting in ludicrous discrepancies, including the designation of New York City as free of national landmarks.

Are we being paranoid? Ask NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican himself. “We tried to do an analysis of some of the moneys and whether or not they were given out for political reasons,” Bloomberg told the New York Times, “and in fact in many of the places where they got money — but arguably there's no threat — there are close connections either at the Senate level or the House level.”

This is just more evidence that the Homeland Security Department has never been anything but a massive, ambitiously conceived boondoggle. As we all saw in their handling of FEMA and their darkly comic, color-coded and suspiciously timed terror alerts, they have done virtually nothing but spend money. And now they’ve decided to spend less of it in places where it could conceivably be used to, oh, you know—protect the homeland.

After all, why reward areas that didn’t vote for you? If “baby al Qaeda” incinerates New York or San Francisco, that’s one less obstacle in the next election cycle. Meanwhile, every other jerk in Omaha gets a badge and a gun, and guess who they’re voting for?

If you need more evidence, look no further than that gaping security hole we’ve learned so much about in recent years, cargo container inspection. This year, finally, $650 million was allocated to increase inspections of these containers—until it was removed from a national security funding package this week. Guess 5% inspection will have to do again this year—there are police dogs in Kentucky walking around without bulletproof vests, after all.

 

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