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Editorial: Homeland Security Grants Misspent, Steered Away from Terrorism

Ediotial
New York Times 

It was no surprise that a fierce budget hawk like Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, pounced on ridiculous grants doled out by the Department of Homeland Security supposedly to help local police and fire departments prepare for terrorist attacks. Mr. Coburn’s recent report on the department’s decade-long, $7 billion program, called the Urban Areas Security Initiative, offers many depressing examples of locally misspent money.

There was an armored car in New Hampshire whose duties included patrolling the annual pumpkin festival. Car-bomb barriers and surveillance cameras, purchased by authorities in Peoria, Ariz., to protect spring-training fans. License plate reading machines in Louisiana used to track car thieves. An $88,000 truck-mounted, piercingly loud device for crowd control in Pittsburgh. And $1,000 fees for first responders to attend a “zombie Apocalypse” demonstration at a counterterrorism conference in California to learn how to handle chaotic events, with actors playing the living dead.

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