Signs of the federal government’s determination to combat terrorism in the USA are easy to spot these days. This week’s drills in Chicago and Seattle — in which 8,500 state, federal and local officials responded to staged bioterror and radioactive bomb attacks — show domestic threats are being taken seriously. So does the speed with which Congress earmarked $5.5 billion this year for local emergency personnel. While such bold gestures can reassure the public, they don’t ensure added security. Too often, anti-terror money and personnel are being diverted to targets that pose minimal risks of casualties or disruption, such as national monuments. Meanwhile, seaports and other higher-risk threats remain dangerously vulnerable. Correcting the skewed system requires government agencies to work together to set priorities. Congress created the Department of Homeland Security six months ago to perform that function. Yet because turf wars have divided anti-terror tasks among competing agencies, no systematic approach exists to identify and address top vulnerabilities. Full Story
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