WASHINGTON- Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., responded Thursday to two private studies emphasizing the nation’s vulnerability to future terrorist strikes. Senator Lieberman’s statement follows:
“This week, two private studies were released which contradict the assertions of the Bush Administration that it is doing enough to prepare for terrorist assaults here at home.
“A study by the Rand Corporation found that first responders overwhelmingly believe they are still unprepared if terrorists strike. The report provides yet more evidence – to anyone who still needs a wake up call – that our nation’s first responders remain dangerously unprepared to protect the public, or even themselves, in the event of another terrorist attack. It is based on information provided by those who are on the front lines in the fight against terrorism. The reality is that the funds now in the pipeline being touted by the Administration are not nearly enough to get our first responders up to speed. Nor has the Administration provided the leadership necessary to help clear up the confusion among first responders about how to respond to terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction. “In the second, troubling study, a survey of American schools conducted by the National Association of School Resources Officers revealed that over 76 percent of school-based police officers feel that their schools are not adequately prepared to respond to an attack upon their schools. These school officials need more guidance about how to assess threats and prepare for them. In our effort to defend the homeland, we must take every precaution to ensure that our nations most valuable resource, our children, are safe in the event of a terrorist attack. This report indicates we are not doing enough to meet this responsibility. “The Bush Administration must wake up before we have another attack and act to provide the resources and leadership necessary to better prepare those who risk themselves to protect our communities.”