Stunning: Despite Plot, NYC's Terror Funds SlashedMarcia Kramer
October 8, 2009
NEW YORK (CBS) ¯ After facing one of the most serious terror threats since the 9-11 attacks, Department of Homeland Security officials are slashing a big chunk of anti-terror funding to New York City.
Local lawmakers say the cut could put American lives at risk.
Just weeks after Najibullah Zazi was nabbed in an al-Qaida terror plot to explode dirty bombs here, the feds have inexplicably slashed Big Apple terror funding designed to build a network of sensors to uncover nuclear or radioactive devices in a 50 miles radius of the city.
"To me this is beyond comprehension that less than a month after al-Qaida attempted an attack against New York City that you would have the Congress cutting the money that New York City needs to defend itself from a dirty bomb attack. It's absolutely mind-boggling," Rep. Peter King, R-Long Island, told CBS 2 HD on Thursday afternoon.
The city wanted $40 million to build the network at bridges, tunnels and other locations in the metropolitan area. Congress only earmarked $20 million for the program and then slipped NYC a doubly whammy -- the money is in a pot that other city's can apply for, so we may not even get the $20 million.
"This $20 million can be spread around like political pork the way other homeland security funds have been spread around the country," King said.
"This is a bad day for New York."
Added Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.: "It is apparent as the nose on your face that New York's a target and we need these funds more than any other part of the country."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly also cited the Zazi case as more reason for NYC to get the funds.
"Having been in Washington myself for four and a half years it is a mysterious place. I can't figure out exactly what happened," Kelly said.
Police sources told CBS 2 the lack of funds will affect the ability to develop new technology that detects dirty bombs coming into the city.
Schumer said he wants to change the way the funds are allocated so the city gets the money automatically and doesn't have to fight for it each and every year.