Friday, July 15, 2005

Homeland Security Dept. to Rail Passengers: You're on Your Own

Evidently, the federal government's responsibility for homeland security stops when you step on a train or bus. The News Journal reports:
Called before the Senate to testify Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told senators that states -- not the federal government -- were responsible for ensuring the safety of passenger rail, bus and subway systems.
Delaware's congressional delegation (all of whom ride Amtrak to and from Washington every day) hoped they could boost rail security in the aftermath of the London train bombings:
Biden, who has had no luck pushing his own plan to pump $1.2 billion into rail security alone, said last year's deadly terrorist attack on a Madrid train station should have been a wake-up call about the vulnerability of the nation's mass transit system. But thousands of people a day still pass through Baltimore's Civil War-era tunnel, which has no ventilation or escape routes if terrorists decide to unleash a chemical weapon, and thousands more pass through Washington's Union Station without passing under a single security camera.
"Go down there, Mr. President," Biden said. "Get on a train with me, as I do every night. ... Tell me whether or not you see any security. Tell me whether or not you see any guards."
Could you imagine Tony Blair telling Parliament that protecting rail passengers is not his job?

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