WASHINGTON (AP) – A Homeland Security database of vulnerable terror targets in the United States, which includes an insect zoo but not the Statue of Liberty, is too flawed to determine allocation of federal security funds, the department’s internal watchdog found.
Much of the study by Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner appears to have been done before the department announced in May it would cut security grants to New York and Washington by 40 percent this year.
The report, which was released Tuesday, affirmed the fury of those two cities – the two targets of the September 11, 2001, attacks – which claimed the department did not accurately assess their risks.
Instead, the department’s database of vulnerable critical infrastructure and key resources included an insect zoo, a bourbon festival, a bean fest and a kangaroo conservation center. They represent examples of key assets identified in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Maryland.
The database “is not an accurate representation of the nations C.I.K.R. [critical infrastructure and key resources],” inspectors said.
Also, the database “is not yet comprehensive enough to support the management and resource allocation decision-making envisioned by the National Infrastructure Protection Plan.”
The report noted that Indiana has 8,591 assets listed in the database – more than any other state and 50 percent more than New York.
New York had 5,687 listed. It did not detail which ones, but the Homeland Security assessment of New York this year failed to include Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge or the Statue of Liberty as a national icon or monument.
A Homeland Security spokesman did not return a call or e-mail for comment Tuesday night. But in an April 13 response to a draft of the report, department Undersecretary George Foresman said the database represented a range of national assets that could face different levels of threats at different times.
The data “have been and are currently being utilized to support allocation decision-making processes for the department,” wrote Foresman, who oversees the database and the grant funds.
Part of the problem lies in what inspectors noted were “quirky totals” by states that submitted lists of vulnerable assets.
The database does not rank the assets it tracks by perceived threats and consequences they face, the report found. An earlier attempt to do so with 1,849 assets “was unreliable.”