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Urban Issues: Anti-Terrorism

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Jul 26, 2004
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URBAN ISSUES - ANTI-TERRORISM
• Aid for Local Police
Bioterrorism
• Patriot Act

George W. Bush

President Bush created the federal Department of Homeland Security after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The department provides some funding for state and local governments to help cover the costs of increased security. In the past two years, the federal government provided $13 billion in grants to help state and local responders and emergency managers prepare for terrorist attacks. New York City has received about $180 million to fund antiterrorism programs. President Bush promised to increase national funding by $3.6 billion next year, but it is unclear exactly how much will come to New York. New York currently receives fewer Homeland Security dollars per person than 48 other states and American Samoa. (Learn more)

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To address threats of bioterrorism, Bush proposed the creation of Project BioShield, an initiative designed to acquire more vaccines. The Department of Homeland Security’s science and technology division also established a program in major cities to detect the spread of terrorist agents like anthrax in time to distribute life-saving medicines to citizens affected. (Learn more)

Bush signed the PATRIOT Act, which gives government and law enforcement officials broader use of surveillance in an effort to fight terrorism. He says the act is needed to fight the war on terrorism, but critics say it violates civil liberties and unfairly discriminates against immigrants. (Learn more)

John Kerry

Kerry said he would reimburse cities for Homeland Security expenses and create a fund to hire 100,000 firefighters. He also wants to enlist the National Guard and Americorps volunteers in Homeland Security efforts. He also promises to:
• create a community defense service
• ensure that first defenders are equipped and ready
• bring information technology to the war on terror
• reform domestic intelligence
• implement public health initiatives
• improve security at our bridges, tunnels and private infrastructure. (Learn more)

To address threats of bioterrorism, Kerry would appoint one individual who is responsible for communicating with state and local officials on biosecurity issues. Kerry also plans to increase vaccine and drug development in response to bioterrorism. (Learn more)

Although Kerry voted for the PATRIOT Act, which gave the federal government broad new law enforcement powers, he now wants to amend it. He has compared the curtailing of civil liberties under the act to the repression of the Taliban government. (Learn more)

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