AP Hit Piece: 'Bush Staff' Nixing Bomb Detection?
In "Bush staff wanted bomb-detect cash moved," AP writer John Solomon took what was a common request for a re-direction of funds from one thing to another and turned it into an overarching plot by the Bush administration to materially harm Homeland Security. Worse, he tried to contrast this everyday Washington budget activity to the terror plot in England to leave the reader with a feeling that Bush was trying to allow terrorists to get away with the kinds of plots that the Brits uncovered.
"WASHINGTON - While the British terror suspects were hatching their plot, the Bush administration was quietly seeking permission to divert $6 million that was supposed to be spent this year developing new homeland explosives detection technology."
"While the British terror suspects were hatching their plot"? As if the Bush administration knew that these terrorists were "hatching their plot" as they went about the regular business of administering the government!
After that lose linking of the British terror plot to the funding diversion request of $6 million from the Homeland Security research arm -- called the Sciences & Technology Directorate -- the report briefly mentions that the department has $200 million it hasn't even spent and that Congress rescinded that amount because it wasn't spent.
We are left imagining that Bush wanted to take away all the funds for the kind of bomb detection devices that could stop a British type terror plot here. Yet, as the report continues it reveals how paltry that request of a $6 million diversion was by reporting how large that budget for detection devices is.
"Homeland Security is spending a total of $732 million this year on various explosives deterrents and has tested several commercial liquid explosive detectors over the past few years but hasn't been satisfied enough with the results to deploy them."
$6 million from $732 million does not seem too great a deficit. So, Bush wasn't trying to strip the bomb detection research of that much of its funding!
Worse still, we have to get nearly to the end of a long piece to find out what they wanted that $6 million diverted for in the first place.
"It asked to take $6 million from Homeland S&T's 2006 budget ... to cover a budget shortfall in the Federal Protective Service, which provides security around government buildings."
Seems like a legitimate request to me. An extra $6 million to protect public buildings? $6 million from a budget of $732 million? That seems a tiny diversion for a purpose that isn't out of the ordinary. Couple that with the fact that money is moved from one place to another every single day in Washington and we end up with a big "ho-hum" story that is trumpeted as some sort of apocalyptic Bush failure.
Besides, the Senate's homeland appropriations committee and the House's committee rejected the request last month anyway, so it is a dead issue.
Finally, after reading the article, one realizes that most of the people quoted in the piece are Democrats. Of course they are against Bush's requests.
All in all, this was just an excuse for the AP to make Bush out as someone who doesn't really care about Homeland Security! A hit piece, plain and simple.