Dean accuses GOP of 'pre-9/11 mindset'

March 11, 2006 at 11:10 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said Republicans have a "pre-9/11 mindset" regarding security at U.S. seaports.

Dean was giving his party credit for stopping a deal in which an Arab company was to take over management of several U.S. ports. Even though the Bush administration stressed security matters would remain in the hands of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs agents, Congress said it would stop the agreement.

"We need to do more to ensure the security of our ports," Dean said in the Democrats' weekly radio address. "It's unacceptable that five years after 9/11, only 6 percent of cargo coming into America's ports is inspected. Republicans have shown a pre-9/11 mindset when it comes to closing the gaps in our security at our ports."

Dean said Republicans in Congress stopped efforts by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., to get "long overdue funding for adequate port security."

"Homeland security begins with hometown security," Dean said. "We have to do a better job securing our shipping ports and nuclear power plants, equipping our first responders and our National Guard."

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