Nearly four years after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, the federal government has yet to deliver a strategic assessment of the biggest threats and vulnerabilities facing the country – one that could be used to allocate precious dollars and resources to the greatest needs, reports the Dallas Morning News. Without priorities, experts fear the government may be mired in fighting the last war and failing to anticipate the next means of attack. The U.S. has spent more than $175 billion in federal funds, and countless more dollars from the private sector, and state and local governments, on homeland security. The money has been used for everything from biohazard suits for emergency responders to agroterrorism research.
Three weeks before the London subway bombings, a Senate committee voted to cut spending on mass transit security in the U.S. – a decision analysts say is likely to be reversed when Congress returns this week. Can a vast country with 95,000 miles of shoreline, 7,500 miles of land borders, more than 500 million visitor arrivals each year, and millions of tons of cargo arriving from land, sea and air – ever be truly safe? As government tightens one form of security, terrorists seek vulnerabilities. “We are up against a thinking enemy,” said David McIntyre, a Texas A&M homeland security expert. “And what that means is if we pour money into protecting planes, of course they are going to attack trains. If we put money into trains, they are going to attack football stadiums.”