Bush Scandals List

302. DHS’ goofy terrorist target list

On December 13, 2003, George Bush signed Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7) that directed the federal government to come up with a National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) within one year (December 2004) to “identify, prioritize, and coordinate the protection of critical infrastructure and key resources.” This included a National Asset Data Base (NADB) or terror target list in conjunction with the states. By the time of a June 2006 Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, the plan still wasn’t ready.

A lack of clear guidelines and general disorganization so typical of the DHS led to the terrorist target list expanding form 160 to 77,069. This was mostly do to two separate and uncoordinated calls to the states for their input. Only about 14% (11,018) of the potential targets named were determined to be of national significance. Some of the terrorist targets listed in the first call to the states included Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, Bean Fest, Nix’s Check Cashing, the American Society of Young Musicians , 4 Cs Fuel and Lube, DPW Landfill, [state] Right to Life Committee, Sweetwater Flea Market, Amish Country Popcorn, Mule Day Parade, and Beach at End of [a] Street. There were also 1,305 casinos, 25 golf courses, 34 Coca Cola bottlers, 718 mortuaries, and 127 gas stations on the list. Indiana led all states with security assets (8,591) almost as many as New York (5,687) and California (3,212) combined. In other words, the terrorist target list was an unholy mess. Yet it was being used to help make decisions about DHS funding.

Pork, bureaucratic mismanagement, and incompetence have been hallmarks of the DHS. The list and the problems that plague the department explain why in 2005 Wyoming ($27.80) received almost twice as much per capita as New York ($15.54), why in 2006 Dillingham, Alaska (pop. 2,400) which didn’t have a single streetlight got DHS funds to purchase 80 security cameras, and why on May 31, 2006 (days before the Inspector General’s report came out), the DHS decided to cut funding to New York City and Washington, D.C. the two cities attacked on 9/11 by 40%. What can I say but heckuva job.

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