Serious Backslide In National Security
Nearly seven years after the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history, national security is unbelievably lax and the evidence lies in crucial areas such as weak border controls and the risk of chemical bombs.
The alarming assessment was made this week by none other than Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who assures that the U.S. is backsliding on national security since the September 2001 terrorist attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.
Speaking at a college forum, Secretary Chertoff said that it seems inconceivable that a couple of years after 9/11 a “business as usual” mentality has crept back into the public mindset. He expressed deep concern over the adversity that the government has faced, from the private sector, in its efforts to toughen national security.
For instance, businesses on the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders have strongly opposed to a 2004 law requiring citizens returning from neighboring countries to show passports. Merchants launched an enormous public campaign against the measure, drastically delaying its enactment and further compromising national security.
Securing the Mexican border has also been a difficult mission because officials in several U.S. border towns have resisted the government’s efforts to begin constructing a fence by denying workers access to city property. The conflict has led to litigation between the government and various municipalities.
As for chemical plants, Chertoff said the government has faced difficulty tightening rules to protect the potentially lethal stockpiles of tens of thousands of facilities from terrorists. The reason, he says, is an industry outcry that the federal regulations are too tough.
Perhaps the secretary needs to put his foot down to prevent a scary hypothetical that he himself created; a chemical plant sitting somewhere in a place like Boston becoming a bomb because it is not properly secured.