Chertoff cites Mumbai for tighter security

Dec. 4, 2008 at 9:53 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The terrorist attack on Mumbai, India, shows the need for the United States to beef up its coastal protection, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff said.

Chertoff said a pending FBI-Homeland Security report on the Nov. 26 raid -- in which terrorists apparently approached the Indian financial and entertainment hub by sea -- confirmed the need for quality intelligence and effective emergency response, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

He also said the incident underscored the need for U.S. officials to counter security threats posed by watercraft, strengthen the U.S. Coast Guard and keep the Federal Emergency Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

Chertoff spoke to reporters Wednesday before meeting with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for Homeland Security secretary.

He also advised against removing FEMA from the department, a move being considered by the Obama team, pointing to reports of poor coordination by Mumbai's fire, police and emergency managers.

"What we have done in terms of joint planning, incident management, integrated prevention and response is to my mind the best way to minimize the risk of a Mumbai-type attack," Chertoff said.

The secretary also took a shot at critics, saying, "The bottom line is that in the last seven-plus years we have not had a successful attack" in the United States. "For all those who have benefited from protection, biting the hand that protects you is similar to biting the hand that feeds you."

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