Former Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) did his part to further the cause of making the United States more of a police state on Thursday; he told House lawmakers that because the Nation is at “war” with homegrown terrorists, local police agencies need more funding.
“We’re in a war and, as I said, it’s against an ideology that is not receding; it’s spreading,” he told lawmakers. “Particularly with homegrown terrorists, state and local law enforcers are in the best position to create the relationships within the communities that will allow them — and have allowed them in numerous cases — to stop terrorist attacks before they occur. And they’re simply not going to do it without funding.”
The formers Senator’s remarks were made during the first Congressional hearing addressing the Federal government’s failure to recognize a series of red flags that would likely have thwarted the Boston Marathon bombers’ terror attack.
The FBI was notified that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had ties to Islamic extremists by Russian intelligence officials and subsequently interviewed the terror suspect in 2011. According to Federal investigators, however, Tsarnaev was not tracked following the interview.
During his testimony, Lieberman told House lawmakers that it was remarkable that the Russian warning was not given more attention, because tensions stemming from the Cold War have traditionally chilled intelligence sharing between the two Nations except in the face of clear and present danger.
“This really should have raised it to a very high profile internally because of where it came from,” he said.
Also testifying on Thursday, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis expressed concern that, despite the warning from Russia, Boston law enforcement agencies didn’t receive information about Tsarnaev’s possible ties to terrorism until three days after the bombing.
Davis contended that it was “hard to tell” whether better information sharing would have kept the bombings from happening.
What’s remarkable about Lieberman’s suggestion that Congress should simply throw money at local law enforcement agencies in order to combat small time terrorists like the Tsarnaevs is that in the Boston event, intelligence sharing — which is cheap or free — was nonexistent, but militarized vehicles and expensive paramilitary equipment — much of which likely acquired with Federal grant money — was visibly plentiful in the days following the attack.
And it isn’t as if the United States isn’t already dropping serious cash in the name of protecting the homeland from terrorists. In the years since the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centers, “homeland security” has cost American taxpayers an unbelievable $791 billion.
Some of the expenditures contributing to that figure include:
- Some $20 billion in, often duplicative, Federal grants to agencies for terror fighting tools and training between 2002 and 2011.
- $461 million in homeland security funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last year alone.
- A $11.7 billion budget for Customs and Border Protection and $2.2 billion in State Department funding in fiscal 2012 to provide border protection and screen people entering the country.