RealNews

Officials' access to terror reports held up

A plan to give more than 200 state and local emergency management officials access to classified federal reports about potential terrorism threats has been delayed, largely because Congress has not provided money for background checks, U.S. government officials said. The program under which federal officials would share secret intelligence reports with state and local authorities is part of an effort to establish a secure communication network that governments would use in deciding how to respond to terrorism threats. State and local officials across the nation have applied to the Department of Homeland Security for clearance to receive the intelligence reports. But a backlog of requests has been building since $1.1 million designated to fund background checks for state homeland directors and emergency response offices was left out of the federal budget for fiscal 2003, said a Federal Emergency Management Agency official who asked not to be identified. Full Story

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