Report exposes Bush administration security failures at critical sites

Public Citizen exposes gaping holes in homeland security and links security failures to Bush administration policies favoring corporate campaign contributors.

  • $20M Amount corporations contributed to Bush’s campaigns, inauguration and the Republican National Committee.
  • 4 to 6 Percentage of cargo containers inspected after arriving at U.S. ports.

In October 2004, a Public Citizen report outlined how the Bush administration consistently ignored or opposed commonsense measures to protect Americans from potentially catastrophic terrorist attacks – an inaction that reflects officials’ aversion to regulating private industry.

The report, “Homeland Unsecured: The Bush Administration’s Hostility to Regulation and Ties to Industry Leave America Vulnerable,” was based on an analysis of five key areas – chemical plants, nuclear plants, hazardous material transport, ports and water systems.

Examples of Bush-era failures included opposing legislation that would have required nuclear plants to withstand attacks comparable to 9/11, refusing to improve security requirements for trucks that carry hazardous materials and failure to assess the vulnerable of local drinking water.

Eighty-five percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure was controlled by private businesses, and the Bush administration was hostile toward the reasonable regulation of the private industry. It blocked efforts to create rules to strengthen security at chemical and nuclear plants, make the transportation of hazardous materials more secure, ensure the safety of the drinking water supply and secure the nation’s ports.

The report suggested that this was in part because of money raised by the industries representing the five homeland security areas examined in this study. Collectively, they:

  • Raised at least $19.9 million for the Bush campaigns, the Republican National Committee or the Bush inauguration since the 2000 cycle.
  • Provided 10 Rangers and 20 Pioneers – individuals who raise at least $200,000 and $100,000, respectively – to the Bush presidential campaigns.
  • Spent at least $201 million lobbying the White House, executive branch agencies and Congress from 2002 through June 2004.
Bush has abdicated his responsibility to protect America from the risk of terrorist attacks because he is fundamentally hostile to regulation of private industry and is loath to cross his big money campaign contributors. Joan Claybrook, president, Public Citizen

Highlights

  • Despite promises, the Bush administration failed to take steps to protect the public from potentially catastrophic attacks on chemical plants, nuclear reactors, seaports, hazardous materials transport and water systems.
  • Public Citizen highlighted major gaps in homeland security that left chemical, nuclear plants, hazardous materials, ports and water systems vulnerable to terrorists.
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