Tom Kean for Senate 2005

September 20, 2006 at 4:51 pm (christianity, clinton, conservative, conyers, edwards, global jihad, hillary, islamo fascist, kucinich, matsui, McDermott, murtha, pelosi, politics, religion, sanchez, sanders, Uncategorized, war on terror, waters, woolsey)

HOMELAND SECURITY
“Time is not on our side.” – Gov. Thomas H. Kean, Sr., Chairman, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Against the United States

After September 11th, elected officials from both parties, and much of the world vowed to do whatever it takes to protect America and its citizens.

Unfortunately, nearly five years later, Washington has failed to take the basic steps necessary to protect us.  That is unacceptable.  The dangers to our country have not passed and there must be a renewed sense of urgency to make sure Americans are protected at home.  Tom is committed to addressing the problems that plague the system head-on, and implementing real solutions for life in a post 9/11 world.

Homeland security grants. 
Since 9/11, the federal government has spent over $8 billion to help state and local governments prepare for terrorist attacks.  Unfortunately, because of pork-barrel politics in Congress, too little of this money has gone to high risk states like New Jersey.  For example, in 2005, Wyoming, the nation’s least populous state, got nearly four times more per person in federal-to-state counterterrorism grants than New Jersey.  This is an outrage.  All federal homeland security funds should be distributed based on risk, not politics, as the 9/11 Commission recommended.  Tom will fight to ensure that high risk areas like New Jersey have the resources they need to keep their citizens safe.

Information sharing. 
Five years after 9/11 the federal government still does not consistently share counterterrorism information with state and local responders.  Even when it does, it often does not speak with one voice, as during the New York City subway threat in 2005.  State and local agencies – the first line of defense against a terrorist attack – need accurate intelligence about terrorists’ whereabouts and intentions.  Tom will work to ensure that the National Counterterrorism Center shares timely, authentic terrorist threat information with the states, so they can stop the next 9/11 before it happens.

Port security. 
The Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal is the largest on the East Coast of the United States, handling over $110 billion in cargo, in more than 2 million shipping containers, each year.  It is a critical part of America’s economic infrastructure.  Protecting this infrastructure from foreign enemies, including terrorists, is a prime responsibility of the federal government.  Tom will work to ensure that maritime security grants go to the ports at greatest risk,  that effective weapons of mass destruction detectors are installed at all ports of entry, and that the Coast Guard receives adequate funding for its port security operations.

Rail security. 
Amtrak and local transit systems throughout the tri-state area are an important part of our region’s economy.  They are also extremely vulnerable terrorist targets.  After the attacks on rail in Madrid and London, we must assume that terrorists will target rail systems in U.S. cities as well.  Unfortunately, rail security has not been a high priority for federal homeland security funding.  Tom will work with Amtrak and other colleagues in Congress to ensure that these systems are given the protection they deserve, in a cost-effective manner that will not raise the price of this important economic resource.

First responder communications. 
If the first responders to terrorist attacks cannot communicate effectively, lives will be lost.  Unfortunately, four years later the same communications problems that hampered the heroic first responders on 9/11 have not been fixed.  As a former volunteer firefighter and EMT, Tom knows personally that first responders need effective communications to save lives.  As New Jersey’s U.S. Senator, Tom will work to ensure that these communications problems are solved before terrorists strike again.

Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Attacks. 
The greatest threat to our nation is a terrorist organization in possession of weapons of mass destruction—especially a nuclear weapon.  As the 9/11 Commission noted, a crude nuclear device in a van like the one used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing could destroy all of Lower Manhattan, taking at least 500,000 lives.  The consequences of such an attack are unimaginable.   Unfortunately, U.S. and international efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials worldwide are moving at a crawl.  The terrorists do not operate on a bureaucratic timeline, and neither should we.  Every day these dangerous materials are not secured at the source, American lives are put at risk.  Tom will work to accelerate the pace of security efforts for weapons of mass destruction by ensuring that programs like Nunn-Lugar, whose goal is to deactivate and destroy WMD’s, receive the funding and attention they deserve.

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