Thursday, March 16, 2006

John Kerry: Investigation Shows Bureaucratic Bungling Still Hurting Our Port Security

John Kerry's Senate office reports today, that the "Department of Homeland Security will release an investigation today into port security – an investigation that John Kerry called for eight months ago to fix gaping holes in the security of America’s ports":

Today’s Inspector General’s report was required by an amendment John Kerry authored to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill last year.

“It’s been more than four years since 9/11, and the government still can’t get port security right. The incompetent handling of the Dubai Ports deal was just the tip of the iceberg. Shiploads of cargo slip into our ports uninspected and the Department of Homeland Security wastes millions on idiotic projects that score zero on their own threat scale while needed security improvements aren’t happening and our ports and cities remain vulnerable,” said John Kerry.

Kerry’s amendment required the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security to report to Congress on the department’s progress implementing 12 recommended changes to improve the Port Security Grant Program.

In January 2005, the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General issued a report criticizing the department’s management of the Port Security Grant Program, saying there is “no assurance that the program is protecting the nation’s most critical and vulnerable infrastructure and assets.” The Inspector General found that many of the projects that received funding lacked merit, the program’s bureaucracy prevented money from getting to the most vulnerable ports and that available assessments of ports’ infrastructure and vulnerabilities were not used effectively.

Today’s report shows that bureaucratic bungling continues to hamper work to secure America’s ports. In the report, the Inspector General notes that “it is not clear that DHS knows how much actual risk reduction has been achieved.”



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