Monday, July 17, 2006

Catching up on Homeland Security and the ash borer

The Department of Homeland Security, the gang who can't do anything right, has made a mess of protecting this country from the ash borer, according to the Government Accountability Office.

GAO, summarizing testimony on invasive forest pests, including the ash borer, reported last month that:

In our report on port inspections, we found that DHS has not used a risk-based staffing model to assign newly hired agricultural specialists to ports of entry. As a result, DHS does not have assurance that staff are assigned to areas of greatest vulnerability. In addition, despite an interagency agreement intended to facilitate coordination between DHS and USDA, agricultural specialists are not consistently receiving notifications of changes to policies and urgent inspection alerts in a timely manner. We also reported that DHS has allowed the canine inspection program—dogs trained to locate items that might harbor pests—to deteriorate. Dozens of canine units are vacant, and the proficiency scores of the remaining canine units have declined.

What GAO is saying, ever so politely, is that Homeland Security couldn't find its ash (borer) with both hands.

OK, in its defense, maybe Homeland Security was pre-occupied identifying those 7,000 potential terrorist targets in the state.

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