The U.S. Department of Homeland Security increased counterterrorism funding for Washington, D.C., and New York City yesterday but warned that doling out more federal cash to the largest urban areas would require the virtual elimination of aid to mid-size cities, reports the Washington Post. Funding for the Washington area climbed to nearly $62 million, a $15 million increase and the biggest boost among seven urban areas deemed at highest risk of attack. The money is to be used over three years to upgrade bomb squads, improve interagency intelligence “fusion centers,” and link police databases in a network dubbed “Google for cops,” among other projects.
Local leaders welcomed the addition but said it still does not reflect the scale of the threat; the amount is still 20 percent less than the region received in 2005. In awarding a total of $1.7 billion in state and local grants and $1 billion more specifically to improve police and fire department communication, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he expects fresh controversy over whether the money was allocated according to risk or political pressure. He said DHS stopped basing grants on such considerations as the location of national monuments, tall buildings, and shopping malls — a much-derided formula whose main creators have resigned. This year, a simplified calculation focused on population, economic importance, and the presence of security facilities and “nationally significant critical infrastructure” like bridges, dams and power plants.