Homeland insecurity: Napolitano keeps shortchanging New York on terror fundsEditorial
NY Daily News
July 30, 2009
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited America's top terror target yesterday with word that the federal government will deliver $35 million for mass transit protection here. How underwhelming.
She also delivered what was billed as a major address on combating the global threat. And nowhere in her 3,800-word speech did the secretary utter the words "New York."
It was only in answer to a question that Napolitano mentioned the city - saying "the terrorist threat is not just focused on New York City or Washington, D.C., or a few other urban areas."
This was worse than underwhelming. It was confidence-sapping, and was hardly blunted by passing references to 9/11 in her speech. And it was consistent with what appears to be an emerging Obama administration policy of lip service to New York while sending terror aid elsewhere.
Last month DHS zeroed out a $40 million budget line for a program in place these past three years to detect suitcase nukes or dirty bombs being brought into the city. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly fought back, and the House, led by Reps. Pete King and Yvette Clarke, voted to restore the entire $40 million. The Senate voted to restore $10 million and now the matter is in a conference committee.
But still, Homeland Security is opposed to the restoration, Napolitano confirmed yesterday.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department stiffed the NYPD, which spends $305 million a year on anti-terror policing, out of even a cent of a $1 billion in stimulus money to hire cops.
Then Napolitano delivered the aforementioned $35 million, as though it made up for shortchanging the city on other fronts.
Sorry: The money represents less than a quarter of a $150 million program intended to safeguard U.S. transit systems.
New York has by far the nation's biggest and most difficult to secure public transit system - the very system Long Island jihadist Bryant Neal Vinas briefed Al Qaeda operatives about in Pakistan.
Our subways carry more than twice as many riders as the nation's 15 other such systems combined. The Long Island Rail Road, NJTransit and Metro-North carry more riders daily than all the 18 other commuter lines in the country.
Early in Napolitano's speech, she got our attention, saying:
"I will speak candidly about the urgent need to refocus our counterterror approach . . . to make it more layered, networked and resilient, to make it smarter and more adaptive," and so on.
But then, describing what she called "a first-order issue for us," she spoke about better engaging the American public in what would amount to a national "If you see something, say something," campaign.
At which point, we tuned out.