Report: Homeland Security Mandates Ignored

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, announced the release of a report prepared by the Majority Staffs of the Committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs. The report is titled, "Wasted Lessons of 9/11: How the Bush Administration Has Ignored the Law and Squandered Its Opportunities to Make our Country Safer."

The report examines the administration’s performance on the requirements in H.R. 1, the “Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007.” This Democratic-backed homeland security legislation was signed into law on Aug. 3, 2007. The legislation included provisions to:

  • Strengthen the nation’s security against terrorism by requiring screening of all cargo placed on passenger aircraft;
    Securing mass transit, rail and bus systems;
  • Assuring the scanning of all U.S.-bound maritime cargo;
  • Distributing homeland security grants based on risk;
  • Creating a dedicated grant program to improve interoperable radio communications;
  • Creating a coordinator for U.S. non-proliferation programs and improving international cooperation for interdiction of weapons of mass destruction;
  • Developing better mechanisms for modernizing education in Muslim communities and Muslim-majority countries, and creating a new forum for reform-minded members of those countries;
  • Formulating coherent strategies for key countries;
  • Establishing a common coalition approach on the treatment of detainees; and
  • Putting resources into making democratic reform an international effort, rather than a unilaterally United States effort.

While the majority staffs of the committees found that the Bush administration has taken some steps to carry out the provisions of the act, just the title of the report, “Wasted Lessons of 9/11: How the Bush Administration Has Ignored the Law and Squandered Its Opportunities to Make our Country Safer,” is an indication of the report’s findings. The report authors found that little, incomplete or no progress has been made on many of the key requirements of the law.

“The administration has just failed to act in so many ways,” said Thompson. “Many of the act’s security provisions are incremental in nature, with benchmarks kicking in this year or next. The lack of progress leads me to conclude that the president is passing the buck to his successor – just as he seems to be doing on the war in Iraq and the economy.”

To read the report, click here.

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