DHS Terror Risk Assessment Makes Little Sense

Looking over the list of cities and how much anti-terror funding each will get under a new budget from the Department of Homeland Security, one has to engage in some head-scratching and perhaps recall that this is the same department that said all preparations had been made when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

Washington, D.C. — which the Department of Homeland Security needs to be reminded, is the nation's capital and was one of the two cities hit on 9/11 — is facing cuts in its anti-terror budgeting, cuts of about half.

In itself, that fact isn't so shocking — after all, budgets get squeezed, even in a War on Terror. But what seems odd is where Washington, D.C., ranks in the estimate of risk from a terror attack by the big brains at DHS.

D.C. scores in a "low risk" category for a terror attack, and the city is at the bottom 25 percent of U.S. states and territories. New York City, the Big Apple of terror targets and the place where three thousand died on 9/11, also seems to have ranked low because it got a 40-percent cut in its federal anti-terror funding.

DHS Secretary Michael Cherthoff said his agency had to take care of the most threatened cities, but "also [had to] to make sure we are not neglecting those cities that did not have an initial base of funding."

OK, let's just say making sure no one is left out is a good thing. But what does it say about the thought process over at DHS that Washington D.C. — home to the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, CIA and FBI headquarters and countless monuments, the Pentagon — that it gets a smaller pile of dollars than Montana, Hawaii, Utah and Rhode Island? Is that a risk assessment that makes any sense?

I am an official resident of a lovely part of North Texas. I also work very near a highly probable bull's eye for terrorists — Times Square in New York City. As much as I love my part of Texas, I'd be kidding myself if I thought I'm at greater risk when I am there, than when I am here.

A DHS risk assessment sheet for New York says the city has zero national monuments and icons. Hmm ... What was that World Trade Center anyway? Just two tall buildings I guess.

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