9/11 Panel’s Security Ideas Could Cost Billions

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From federal standards for driver’s licenses to requiring air passengers to pass through elaborate bomb-detection machines, the Sept. 11 commission made more than a dozen recommendations that would significantly affect the daily lives of ordinary people, notes the Los Angeles Times. The measures – separate from the call for restructuring the intelligence community – could cost billions and spark strong debate as lawmakers respond to the panel’s scathing critique of U.S. security. “What the commission is recommending would involve a vast injection of dollars, people and political support by the White House and Congress,” said Paul C. Light, a New York University professor specializing in government bureaucracy. “This piece of the report is actually very detailed and aggressive.”

The commission’s blueprint for domestic security could encroach on some liberties now taken for granted. A spur-of-the-moment trip to Canada or Mexico without a passport might become a thing of the past. A suggested overhaul of the way federal domestic security grants are given to states would carry a steep political price. The current formula, considered generous to rural areas at the expense of urban centers, would be replaced by one that would allocate money based on likely threats and vulnerabilities. Where the Department of Homeland Security has been taking incremental steps to test ideas, the 9/11 panel recommends quick leaps. Airport screening is one example. The commission recommended that the government soon screen passengers for explosives, especially those singled out for more intensive searches. More elaborate detectors, at $132,000 apiece, would cost about $240 million to equip each of 1,800 airport security lanes.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-homeland29jul29,1,7305878.story?coll=la-headlines

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