National Security

  • With help from federal homeland security grants, the state of Alabama earned national praise in 2007 after it rolled out an innovative program known as Virtual Alabama.

  • When it comes to homeland security, the state of Mississippi has a friend in Washington. Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson hails from the state’s 2nd District and chairs the powerful House Homeland Security Committee. A small college in Mississippi where Thompson graduated, Tougaloo, is perhaps the most notable beneficiary of his influence.

  • In 2004 when anti-terrorism and readiness grants appropriated by Congress to the states had reached a multibillion-dollar height, what was then known as the House Select Committee on Homeland Security issued a scathing report that said much of the money had been spent without local recipients knowing what their emergency-response needs were.

  • Attempts to learn more about how the state of Georgia has spent its homeland security grants since 2001 turned out to be an exercise in frustration.

  • Flying on a commercial airliner changed forever after Sept. 11, and travelers have grown accustomed to the greatly enhanced security measures implemented since the hijackings, including thousands of new screeners hired by the fledgling Transportation Security Administration to search passengers and bags for dangerous items.

  • Prosecutors called it “chilling” and “shocking.” A high-ranking official in the Detroit, Mich., office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement named Roy Bailey was responsible for supervising the custody and transportation of detainees facing deportation proceedings.

  • Officials in Massachusetts agreed to turn over records showing how the state had used its homeland security grants since 2001. But purchases there weren’t tracked in an electronic list like a spreadsheet as some others have done, so clerical workers would need to Xerox thousands of pages of hard-copy records. We’d be expected to pay their wages of at least $22 an hour.

  • The American Civil Liberties Union first uncovered documents in July of 2008 showing that the Homeland Security and Intelligence Division of the Maryland State Police infiltrated non-threatening political protest groups and spied on them for at least 14 months.

  • In the spring of 2008, local officials across the country in charge of spending federal anti-terrorism grants responded with befuddlement to a new rule imposed by the Department of Homeland Security on anyone planning to apply for the preparedness funds.

  • Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made national headlines in early 2009 when he declared that his state would reject as much as $100 million worth of stimulus funds contained in President Barack Obama’s economic recovery package due to provisions Jindal warned would lead to a tax increase on businesses.

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