The New York Times just posted a great article about some of the spots found in the Department of Homeland Security’s database on potential terrorist targets – a database used to determine how much anti-terrorism funding cities get.

If you’ll recall, places like Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Louisville, Ky., and Omaha got more money than San Diego. Funding in New York and Washington dipped by 40 percent.

Here’s how the article starts:

It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”

But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these “unusual or out-of-place” sites “whose criticality is not readily apparent” are inexplicably included in the official federal antiterrorism database.

And get this:

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, said the inspector general, Richard L. Skinner, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

The database is used by the Homeland Security Department to help divide the hundreds of millions of dollars in antiterrorism grants each year, including the program announced in May that cut money to New York City and Washington by 40 percent while significantly increasing spending for cities including Louisville, Ky., and Omaha.

“We don’t find it embarrassing,” said the department’s deputy press secretary, Jarrod Agen. “The list is a valuable tool.”

Read the entire article here. There are some great quotes from people who work in these suspected terrorist targets.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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