DHS to increase four-fold security funding for New York, New Jersey ports

Published 25 September 2006

DHS’s decision three months ago to cut funding to New York City antiterror programs by 40 percent was welcomed by an equal measure of disbelief and outrage (especially when the department explained that its review process found no national monuments or icons in the city); the department will announce today that it is increasing four-fold its support for security programs at the ports of New York and New Jersey

One of the more controversial decisions by DHS earlier this year was to cut the department’s funding for antiterrorism program in New York City by about $83 million (or 40 percent relative to previous year’s funding). As is typically the case in instances such as these, the two New York tabloids, the Daily News and the Post, tried to out-do each in florid descriptions of DHS secretary Michael Chertoff’s every real and imaginary failing, accompanied by lurid headlines on the front pages. Here is a sample:

Chertoff’s decision to cut the flow of U.S. money [the New York City] by 40% was at the least gross incompetence and at the worst vengeful payback by a petty bureaucrat who tangled last year with the NYPD and wound up humiliated. Either way, President Bush must give Chertoff the boot with a hearty, “Heck of a job, Mikey.” (New York Daily News, 1 June 2006)

DHS has had second thoughts on the issue and announced that annual funding to protect the perimeters of New York’s and New Jersey’s ports will be boosted nearly fourfold, from $6.6 million to $25.7 million. The new money is meant to help ports guard against attacks by land or sea but is not designed to pay for cargo screening or container inspections.

Representative Peter King (R-New York), who is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said that, “The increase is, I think, a true acknowledgment by the Department of Homeland Security that New York and New Jersey is a major target.”

Back in late spring DHS justified the decision to slash New York City antiterror funding by saying that their review process found no national monuments or icons in the city. When that finding was ridiculed, the department hastened to explain that landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge were counted in other categories.

-read more in this AP report