Map tracks use of homeland security funds
An interactive map that details the use of homeland security readiness funds in all 50 states is the central element of “Homeland Security: Boom and Bust,” a report from the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity (CPI) and the Berkeley, Calif.-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR). CPI and CIR compiled the data from state and federal documents to reveal possible misuse of the funds, such as the purchase of unnecessary equipment.
In compiling the map, CIR used open-records laws to obtain data from each state and the District of Columbia showing how and where officials have invested anti-terrorism and preparedness cash. CIR also reviewed official government documents — from state auditors and overseers, public-interest groups, the federal Government Accountability Office, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, the Congressional Research Service, and congressional committees with public safety responsibilities. Many of those documents can be accessed directly through links included in the interactive map.
Information on the map includes:
• Whittier, Alaska, population 175, bought a $24,000 incident-command truck, two 4×4 all-terrain vehicles, and two Anthrax detectors. No case of Anthrax infection has ever been reported in Alaska.
• Between 2003 and 2007, Georgia received more than $100 million in grants to invest in new radio projects. But, not all jurisdictions upgraded their radio systems, leaving some unable to communicate.
• When federal officials asked state and local governments to provide an inventory of critical infrastructure facilities, Indiana apparently listed among its 8,600 “key resources” a local popcorn factory. In all, Indiana listed more state “assets” than New York and California combined.
• The Department of Homeland Security cited more than $8.2 million of “questionable costs” in West Virginia, including $3,000 worth of lapel pins, $8,000 in trips to Washington and Chicago, and thousands of dollars in cell phone charges.
View the “Homeland Security: Boom and Bust” map.