Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More Incompetent Bullshit

Terrorist Target

Terrorist Target

NOT a Terrorist Target

Yeah, it's a good thing that Bush created the Department of Homeland Security. So they can dole out primo pork to small towns who are afraid that they might be the targets of terror attacks and generally be bumbling idiots. Michael Chertoff is inspired by Jacques Clouseau (the good Peter Sellers one).
U.S. Terror Targets: Petting Zoo and Flea Market?

WASHINGTON, July 11 — It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”

But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these “unusual or out-of-place” sites “whose criticality is not readily apparent” are inexplicably included in the federal antiterrorism database.

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

The database is used by the Homeland Security Department to help divvy up the hundreds of millions of dollars in antiterrorism grants each year, including the program announced in May that cut money to New York City and Washington by 40 percent, while significantly increasing spending for cities including Louisville, Ky., and Omaha.

“We don’t find it embarrassing,” said the department’s deputy press secretary, Jarrod Agen. “The list is a valuable tool.”

But the audit says that lower-level department officials agreed that some older information in the inventory “was of low quality and that they had little faith in it.”

“The presence of large numbers of out-of-place assets taints the credibility of the data,” the report says.

In addition to the petting zoo, in Woodville, Ala., and the Mule Day Parade in Columbia, Tenn., the auditors questioned many entries, including “Nix’s Check Cashing,” “Mall at Sears,” “Ice Cream Parlor,” “Tackle Shop,” “Donut Shop,” “Anti-Cruelty Society” and “Bean Fest.”

Even people connected to some of those businesses or events are baffled at their inclusion as possible terrorist targets.

“Seems like someone has gone overboard,” said Larry Buss, who helps organize the Apple and Pork Festival in Clinton, Ill. “Their time could be spent better doing other things, like providing security for the country.”

Angela McNabb, manager of the Sweetwater Flea Market, which is 50 miles from Knoxville, Tenn., said: “I don’t know where they get their information. We are talking about a flea market here.”

New York City officials, who have questioned the rationale for the reduction in this year’s antiterrorism grants, were similarly blunt.

“Now we know why the Homeland Security grant formula came out as wacky as it was,” Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said Tuesday. “This report is the smoking gun that thoroughly indicts the system.”

The source of the problems, the audit said, appears to be insufficient definitions or standards for inclusion provided to the states, which submit lists of locations for the database.

New York, for example, lists only 2 percent of the nation’s banking and finance sector assets, which ranks it between North Dakota and Missouri. Washington State lists nearly twice as many national monuments and icons as the District of Columbia.
I feel much safer. Don't you? I'm so goddamn glad the "grown-ups" are running shit.

I've been to Columbia, Tennessee. There are no terrorist targets there. None. I don't know if local officials feel pressured to put crap like "Mule Days" on the list of possible terror targets, if they really feel that al-Qaeda hates them some mules, or if they're just looking for that federal dollar.

Or if it's some combination of those three. But, seriously. Indiana? No one is coming to blow your shit up. If someone did blow up, say, Gary, then that's a net improvement.

Someone with some pull should've called bullshit on this nonsense a long time ago. The NY Daily News had an article on this a few weeks ago, and we talked about that bidness, too. 'Cause we're on top of shit for you, America.

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