Is Federal Terror Money Making Us Safer?

July 21 2005, 7:32 AM
The Rocky Mountain News today presents this troubling fact, based upon its review of documents related to the federal Homeland Security Grants received by Colorado:
Federal Homeland Security grants have flooded Colorado communities with high-tech equipment like blast suits for bomb squads and half-million-dollar RVs stuffed with communication or hazmat gear. But newly released records indicate little has been spent to protect tunnels, power plants and other potential terrorist targets .... officials readily admit that most of the equipment is more likely to be used in a train wreck than a terrorist attack.
The Governor's office isn't able to shed much like on how much money is going to protect our infrastructures.
The administration of Gov. Bill Owens had a committee assigned to the infrastructure issue, but it stopped meeting last fall for lack of funds. It is now meeting again, and is making progress, said John Dombaugh of the Southeast region.The governor's point man on homeland security, Michael Beasley, director of the state Department of Local Affairs, said Owens asked for improvement on critical infrastructure "almost two years ago, and he has redirected his departments to put that on the front burner." Beasley could not say Wednesday how much has been spent on critical infrastructure protection. He noted that 85 percent is privately owned, and that security at those sites is "evolving" with new construction or redevelopment.
It sounds like there is no clear plan. One of the most knowledgable men on the planet on the issue lives among us: former Senator Gary Hart. I sure hope he's being consulted. If not, maybe Governor Owens and local law enforcement communities should read some of his many papers, such as Still Unprepared for Danger on first responders and protecting the infrastructure before doling out the federal dollars on more high tech radios and $500,000. decked out RV's.