Tuesday, November 29, 2005

GAO: Congress nixed terror training. Do they want an attack?

First they sent the most money for counterterrorism to red areas that were least likely to see it, now they've stopped the air Marshall program because of cost.

What is another hijacking going to cost this nation?

Efforts to train thousands of federal agents to protect commercial flights during heightened terror alerts were quietly abandoned more than a year ago because Congress objected to the cost, government investigators said Tuesday.

The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, reported that the federal air marshal service suspended its efforts to develop such a "surge capacity" by training customs and immigration agents to protect passenger airliners.

The Homeland Security Department "indicated that it would continue to support the surge effort but had not determined whether and when it would resume cross-training to resume this initiative," the report said.

The plan was first disclosed in September 2003 by Tom Ridge, then Homeland Security secretary.

Ridge announced that the air marshals would be combined with immigration and customs agents in the same agency so agents in both could be cross-trained and used for aviation security. The move would allow more than 5,000 armed federal law enforcement agents to be deployed on commercial aircraft, he said.

"This realignment offers a sweeping gain of additional armed law enforcement officials who will be able to provide a 'surge capacity' during increased threat periods or in the event of a terrorist attack," Ridge said at the time.

I'm guessing they'll get back to training the airmarshalls when they really get around to helping the Gulf Coast clean up and rebuild.

In other words:

Don't hold your breathe.

GAO: Congress nixed costly terror training

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