March 21, 2006

Karl Rove and the Republicans argue that the issue of security will propel them to victory in 2006, but the truth is Republican leaders have been weak on security. Four years after 9/11, President Bush and Republicans in Congress have demonstrated a pre-9/11 mentality and made the wrong choices, which have not made America safer. In fact, according to recent national polls, the American people no longer believe Republicans can keep them secure.

Each day, the Democratic National Committee will issue a "Republican Homeland In-Security Watch" to spotlight specific security lapses that have occurred under the watch of the Bush White House and the Bush-led Republican Congress. Today, the DNC focuses on the Republican failures to improve border security.

Border Security: DHS Gets "C-"

DHS Report Card: Bush Administration Gets A "C-" On Border Security. The Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security's annual report card on the Department of Homeland Security gave the department a "C-" on its policies on border security. According to the committee, "Department urgently needs a comprehensive border security strategy for identifying and securing the nation's most porous and vulnerable land borders and ports of entry. At the same time, the Department must develop a comprehensive vision for border screening that harmonizes and integrates the many initiatives underway." [Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security, Annual Report Card, 2/06]

Department Has Failed To Provide Radiation Screening And "State-Of-The-Art" Technology At Our Borders. "The Department promised that it would deploy effective technology to secure and enhance border security, including providing border security personnel with more radiation detection equipment to detect attempts by terrorists to transport Weapons of Mass Destruction across U.S. land borders and ports of entry. To date, however, the Department has not kept its promise to equip its border inspectors and agents with 'state of-the art' technology that would enable its personnel to effectively secure U.S. borders." [Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security, Annual Report Card, 2/06]

DHS Has Wasted Millions On Failed Border Security Programs. "Since the inception of the Department of Homeland Security, millions of tax dollars have been wasted as a result of failed border security-related technology initiatives undertaken by the Department. The Department already has two failed border security technology programs behind it, the discontinued Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System (ISIS) and the America's Shield Initiative." [Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security, Annual Report Card, 2/06]

Bush Administration Has Failed To Adopt Ability To Recognize Terrorist Suspects At U.S. Borders And Respond To Recommendations. Federal auditors concluded that delays still exist in matching the names of suspected terrorists with names of visa holders and in forwarding necessary information to the Departments of State and Homeland Security. In some cases, it took the Department of State 6 months or more to revoke visas after receiving a recommendation to do so. [, 7/04]

Bush Administration Shortchanges Border Security

Bush Administration Underfunds Border Security Called For By 9/11 Act. The Bush Administration "continues to fall short of fully-funding the level of Border Patrol Agents, detention bed space, and Immigration and Customs Agent resources called for by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (9/11 Act). . . Funding in the President's fiscal year 2007 budget is 25 percent short of what is needed to hire the 2,000 Border Patrol Agents required by the 9/11 Act." [Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security, Annual Report Card, 2/06]

Many Resources Focused on Southern Border Not Helping Protect Against Terrorists. The 9,500 border agents on the southern border made nearly 1 million apprehensions in FY 2003. The Associated Press undertook an investigation in 2003 that "turned up no evidence that any suspected terrorist has been prevented from coming to America" by operations on the southern border. The AP interviewed officials, immigration activists and migrants in the US and Mexico. [US Customs and Immigration Enforcement,; AP, 11/2/03]

Agent Who Foiled Bombing Couldn't Get Funding for a "Sniffer" Dog. Diana Dean, the US Customs agent who disrupted Ahmed Ressam's plan to car bomb LAX, told reporters that officials above her in the Customs Service would not authorize funding for a "sniffer" dog because her station at Port Angeles, Washington, did not get enough traffic. The funding was not allocated despite the fact that an Al Qaeda operative had already once tried to drive a car full of explosives through that checkpoint. [Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 7/20/03]

Border Agent: Terrorists Wouldn't "Take the Chance Coming Across" the Southern Border. Matt Roggow, a US Border Patrol agent, expressed his doubt as to the effectiveness of current border policy in stopping terrorists, stating, "The people who are coming across this border are people who can only pay $1,500 to a smuggler. A terrorist can pay $30,000 or $40,000 and go to the northern border where we don't have the resources to stop them. I'd be willing to bet that a terrorist isn't going to take the chance of coming across this border." [AP, 11/3/03] ... home_6.php