WASHINGTON – Attorney General John Ashcroft (search) said Wednesday the nation is better protected from terrorism since creation of the Department of Homeland Security (search), but conceded that coordination among federal agencies "is not perfect."
Noting that the department has been running for over a month under the leadership of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge (search), Ashcroft said, "We are going toward an improved system to better protect."
Appearing on ABC's Good Morning America, the attorney general was asked about a congressional report criticizing the coordination of terrorist watch-list information among nine component agencies in the new department.
A General Accounting Office study concluded that nine such agencies have not yet ironed out problems in the coordination of information about terrorist suspects, The New York Times reported in Wednesday's editions. It said the GAO report cited bureaucratic and technological obstacles.
"The cooperation has improved dramatically," Ashcroft told ABC. "But it is not perfect. And that's why the president called for the Department of Homeland Security."
"We are much better protected than we have been," he said, "but there are ways for us to improve and the report will provide us a roadmap for continuous improvement in this respect."