What is the Bush administration doing with all those 9-11 Commission suggestions?
Chicago congressional delegation members and the two Illinois senators-- say not enough. Friday they sent a letter to Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff asking for a meeting with them in the wake of the alleged plot to blow up Sear Tower.
Click here for the letter....
IN RESPONSE TO ALLEGED TERROR PLOT, CHICAGO CONGRESSIONAL DELEGAT ION ASKS CHERTOFF TO IMPLEMENT 9/11 COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS, MEET WITH DELEGATION
CHICAGO CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION CALLS ON BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO SECURE
CITY, IMPLEMENT 9/11 COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS
Delegation requests meeting with Sec. Chertoff to discuss progress
CHICAGO, IL - In light of the alleged terror plot targeting Sears Tower,
U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Bobby L. Rush, Luis Gutierrez, Danny K.
Davis, Jesse Jackson Jr., Rahm Emanuel, Daniel Lipinski and U.S. Senators
Dick Durbin and Barack Obama today sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland
Security Michael Chertoff requesting that the Bush Administration quickly
implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission in order to secure
Chicago and the nation from another terrorist attack. These members of
Congress further requested that Secretary Chertoff meet with Chicago's
congressional delegation to discuss the agency's progress in filling the
holes in our security infrastructure and response programs.
The full text of the letter is below:
We write today on behalf of our constituents and residents of the
Chicagoland area, who want to ensure that the federal government is doing
everything it can to secure our city and to prevent another terrorist attack
in the United States.
No matter what we learn about the scope of the recently announced alleged
plot targeting buildings in the U.S, including Chicago, the arrests make
clear that bolstering our homeland security must be the first front in the
War on Terror. The Bush Administration and the Republican Congress have yet
to implement a number of recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and the
Government Accountability Office that are leaving our ports and our plants,
our trains and our airlines, and the American people, vulnerable to another
terrorist strike on our soil.
* RISK BASED FUNDING. The 9/11 Commission recommended that state and
municipal homeland security funding be allocated based on risk and
vulnerabilities (not political influence). The 2006 Urban Area Grant
Locations, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, significantly cut
funding for the two cities at the top of the list - New York and Washington
DC -- while increasing funding for cities like Omaha and Louisville.
* POLICE AND FIRE. The 9/11 Commission recommended that the
Department of Homeland Security and its oversight committees should
regularly assess the types of threats the country faces, in order to
determine the adequacy of the government's plans and the readiness of the
government to respond to those threats. However it has become clear that
our government's plans have been inadequate. A recent needs analysis
identified that nationally 28 percent of firefighters per shift are not
equipped with a self-contained breathing apparatus, and 39,000 fire fighters
lack personnel protective clothing. And the FY07 Homeland Security
Appropriations bill contains a 39 percent reduction in state homeland
security grants. To make matters worse, the Department of Homeland Security
has not even distributed the appropriated FY06 security grant funds to the
* TRANSIT/RAIL SECURITY. The 9/11 Commission recommended that
strategies be developed for neglected parts of our transportation security
system, specifically focused on mass transit. DHS has provided only $416
million since 9/11 to secure our nation's transit systems even though the
mass transit industry estimates that $6 billion is needed for security
training, radio communication systems, security cameras, and limiting access
to sensitive facilities.
* AVIATION SECURITY. The 9/11 Commission recommended that all
passengers and carry-on bags be screened for explosives and that in-line
explosive detection systems be installed as quickly as possible. The FY07
Homeland Security appropriations bill does not fund any additional in-line
screening systems beyond the current 8 approved airports and a Democratic
amendment to provide an additional $200 million more to expand explosive
screening systems was defeated by Republicans in Committee.
* CHEMICAL PLANT SECURITY. The federal government requires no
security standards for most U.S. chemical plants. In 2003, the Government
Accountability Office recommended that the Administration develop a
comprehensive national chemical security strategy - which the Administration
just released in May, 2006. The strategy asked for Congress to grant DHS
the authority to regulate the chemical sector. Because of an amendment by
Rep. Sabo, the Secretary of Homeland Security now has the authority to do
that. Now we await action by the Administration and the Republican
leadership to secure our plants. Illinois has 745 chemical manufacturing
facilities - the 6th most of any state in the nation.
Given the concerns the 9/11 Commission has raised about unmet homeland
security needs, we would like to request that you meet with members of the
Chicago delegation to update us on your progress in securing our city and
our region - our ports, our plants, our rail, our airports, our first
responders, and our freshwater sources. We stand ready to work with you to
advance a Congressional agenda that ensures that these holes in our security
are filled as quickly as possible.