Wednesday, July 12, 2006

They Hate Us For Our Petting Zoos

Along with undocumented lettuce-pickers and monogamous lesbian couples, welfare cheats are widely acknowledged to pose a serious existential threat to the United States.

On the other hand, state lawmakers who try to secure federal anti-terrorism funding by passing off petting zoos, donut shops, swimming pools, and bingo parlors as "critical infrastructure and key resources" are just doing their patriotic duty.

Homeland Security Watch discusses the latest report on the long and ludicrous attempt to create a National Asset Database of potential terrorism targets:

The report chronicles the difficulties that DHS has faced in developing a usable national inventory of critical infrastructure, and helps explain some of the shortcomings in the recent homeland security grant allocation decisions, which were based to a certain degree on the information in this database....

The report also notes an equally serious problem: the fact that the database does not adequate account for distributed, system-level assets (e.g. food supply systems, energy & telco grids, etc.), which creates the risk of a bias in favor of protecting fixed assets in the nation’s infrastructure protection activities.
What's interesting about this is that the precursor program for the NADB was Clinton's PDD-63:
Presidential Decision Directive No. 63 (PDD-63), Critical Infrastructure Protection...set forth principles for protecting the nation by minimizing the threat of smaller-scale terrorist attacks against information technology and geographically-distributed supply chains that could cascade and disrupt entire sectors of the economy....PDD-63 required the creation of a National Infrastructure Assurance Plan.
Apparently, the Bush admininstration was "reviewing" (i.e., ignoring) PDD-63 up until 9/11, at which point they took steps to "improve" it. In doing so, they apparently either downgraded the importance of protecting distributed systems and supply chains, or failed to address it coherently.

On the bright side, HSW explains the financial benefits of "asset inflation":
Some of the states who were apparently “asset inflators” made out very well in the discretionary segment of the SHSGP (money left over after the allocation of state minimums) this year, notably Nebraska, North Dakota, and Missouri. Perhaps this is a coincidence; but given the black box nature of this allocation process, and the well-documented flaws in the UASI allocations, I’m inclined to think that it’s not.
Ditto. Part of the current recommendation is to send the list back to state HS advisors, and give them the opportunity to identify "extremely insignificant" assets that should be removed. What happens if one of these advisors insists that the local Pork Festival is threatened by Islamofascist dietary restrictions? Beats me. Perhaps party affiliation could be used as the deciding factor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the tiny windmills!

These extended metaphors are the best yet. Of all the sophistocated framers and political operatives from across the "blogosphere", as they label it, why don't they get this?