National Security

  • Veteran Republican Rep. Hal Rogers of eastern Kentucky’s 5th District has a well-earned reputation for delivering to his constituents a bounty of earmarks – the type of government spending widely maligned by critics as wasteful, unregulated pork.

  • It has been difficult convincing Kansas to make available the records showing how its homeland security grants have been spent and managed since 2001. We first filed a request in August of 2008 under the Kansas Open Records Act looking for lists documenting all equipment and services invoiced and paid for under a series of federal grant programs that all states have benefitted from.

  • “Intelligence-led policing” became one of the most popular phrases among authorities after the Sept. 11 hijackings. Investigators wanted to compile oceans of information about potentially dangerous people and use super-computer technology to analyze it in search of evidence that perpetrators were planning another attack.

  • Shortly after the Sept. 11 hijackings, the federal government promised it would pay closer attention to how the nation guarded its most precious and vital assets against potential terrorist attacks. Are drinking water delivery systems vulnerable? Could perpetrators bomb a chemical production facility? Former President George W.

  • Illinois officials gave $200,000 a year to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Urbana so it could seek tips from the public about terrorists possibly tampering with the food supply by poisoning pets. Authorities also claimed the hotline would help them detect disease outbreaks. After two years, however, the local SPCA learned only that macadamia nuts are dangerous for dogs.

  • The state of Idaho produced a lengthy spreadsheet and other documents in response to a request submitted under the state’s open-records law for information about its anti-terrorism grant spending. While the information is not as detailed as we would have preferred, readers can still view spending activity by county, cost of the equipment purchased, year it was acquired and more.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Florida is a leading recipient of homeland security grants in the United States due to its significant population and major tourist attractions. And it’s received hundreds of millions of dollars over the years to recover from various disasters, namely hurricanes that pummeled the state’s coastline.

  • In response to an open-records request asking for information about the state of Delaware’s anti-terrorism grant spending, a public information officer at the Department of Safety and Homeland Security provided just seven pages of information after consulting with government lawyers.