Battling Terrorism In Strange Places
JULY 12, 2006
A federal antiterrorism database of national monuments, chemical plants and other structures supposedly vulnerable to terrorist attacks reads like a joke with entries such as an insect zoo, a mule day parade and an ice cream parlor.
A 56-page report released by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security says the so-called National Asset Database is highly flawed and leaves out true national monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building in New York.
The database, used by the Department of Homeland Security to divide hundreds of millions of dollars in antiterrorism grants, lists 77,069 sites including legitimate ones like power plants and government facilities. However, the list includes numerous questionable listings that clearly don’t belong there.
They include the Old MacDonald Petting Zoo in Woodville Alabama, the Sweetwater Flea Market in Tennessee, an unspecified “beach at the end of a street,” a donut shop, a tackle store, a check cashing business and a kangaroo conservation center.
While this may all sound bizarre, the Free Internet Press offers an interesting theory of how it all happened saying that many of these ‘terror targets’ made it to the list because Congressional and state politicians saw an opportunity to get ‘anti-terror’ funding by fluffing up their target lists. Regardless, Homeland Security should have caught and eliminated the places that are not legitimate terrorist targets.
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