2006_06_bloombergkelly.jpgMayor Bloomberg called the Department of Homeland Security "short-sighted" and "dysfunctional" while testifying to the House Committee on Homeland Security yesterday about the Department of Homeland Security anti-terror funding cuts to NYC. Bloomberg, joined by Police Commissioner Kelly, emphasized the importance of "human intelligence" in stopping potential terrorist attacks. He even had to say, "The world is not what you see on 'CSI.' The real ways that you stop the bad guys is by having well-motivated, highly trained people." (He was explaining that gadgets won't do the leg work of stopping terrorists.) Now, we realize it's the most-watched drama these days, but that just seems, well, bizarre, because CSI isn't even about pre-emptively "stopping bad guys." Anyway.

We looked at the Mayor's prepared remarks and found this passage fascinating:

To better protect New York City, we will invest close to $1 billion over the next four years in counter-terrorism initiatives. From hardening our bridges and upgrading our communications infrastructure to implementing a comprehensive security plan for the Lower Manhattan financial district, these projects are crucial to protecting all New Yorkers. In addition, to guard our City against terrorist attacks, we already spend more than $250 million per year of our taxpayers’ money in annual operating expenses.

In the face of such substantial needs, DHS’s refusal to pay recurring costs puts unnecessary burdens on our City. After 9/11, for example, New York City very sensibly increased aerial surveillance of our watershed reservoirs. But DHS has denied requests for funds to support this program on the grounds that, since New York City has been covering the costs ourselves, we can just continue to do so.

Under that reasoning, if we’d been negligent, and not stepped up these surveillance flights, then we’d now be eligible for Federal funds to start them – a prime example of dysfunctional bureaucratic logic.

Other priceless stuff: The city's own anti-terrorism teams have actually trained federal employees and the number of "at risk areas" has grown from an initial 7 cities to 46.

The Department of Homeland Security's under-secretary (is that like an underminer?) reminded the committee that NYC still got 18% of the funds available and that the "[allocations] all looked fine on paper. But then people saw the dollars; it had a different effect on them." Which is one of other issues - NYC's (and DC's) terror funding went down by 40% because funding was slashed overall. For all the bluster of the upset politicians on Capitol Hill, some must try to make sure the funding is restored.