Homeland security: New York City a big winner in FY 2012 budget proposal

Homeland security budget dollars are critical to protecting large US metropolitan areas, like New York City. The proposed fiscal year 2012 federal budget for homeland security would see significant dollars headed to the Big Apple.

Uschi Gerschner/Newscom
View of Empire State Building and New York skyline from Rockefeller Center. A proposed 2012 federal budget would add dollars to the city's homeland security plan.

New York is on track to receive a significant boost in anti-terrorism funding in President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget, and lawmakers from both parties are taking credit.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said New York will see an increase of about $41.2 million across several anti-terrorism programs, including the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which funds anti-terrorism law enforcement training, planning and new equipment; transportation and port security programs; and Securing the Cities, a federal, state and local partnership aimed at forestalling radiological terrorism.

Schumer said he had pressed administration officials to recognize the role the federal government needs to play in securing New York.

"It's a federal function, a national function," Schumer said. "We are under threat not from people who live in New York but from the outside."

A Republican, House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King of Long Island, said he and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had personally lobbied Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the merits of the Securing the Cities initiative, which places radiation detection devices around New York and other cities. The Obama administration tried to defund the program in its first two budgets, but money was eventually restored. This is the first Obama budget to fund the program outright.

"We showed her the program, showed how it's working. It's not just for New York; it can be used by any urban area," King said.

There have been at least nine planned terrorist attacks in the city since the Sept. 11, 2001, destruction of the World Trade Center. The terrorists involved hoped to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, to blow up financial institutions, to smuggle explosive materials into the city, to detonate explosives on the subway, to release cyanide into the subway system, to ignite an airport jet fuel pipeline and to collapse commuter train tunnels at ground zero.

The most recent attempt came last May, when a Pakistani-American man, Faisal Shahzad, tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square. Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison in October.

Both King and Schumer said they would work to preserve the anti-terrorism programs despite efforts by both parties to enact significant cuts.

"In this budget climate, it's always a concern," King said.

The fiscal year begins in October.

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