WASHINGTON, DC - House Democrats, citing numerous reports that significant holes in terrorism preparedness still exist, unveiled a new, comprehensive plan of action that would address specific security needs across the board - from emergency responders to cargo screening. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D- Manhattan and Queens), who has emerged as a leader in the 9/11 recovery efforts and homeland security and is the Chair of the Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security, joined with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other party leaders to announce the plan. Maloney spoke of the serious security challenges New York City still faces, two years after the attacks of 9/11. She used first-hand knowledge of the plight of the City's emergency responders to stress the need to implement the plan.
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced that the Federal Air Marshals program will be merged with customs and immigration programs and that employees currently working in the customs and immigration sections will be "cross-trained" as Federal Air Marshals (FAMs). This announcement comes in the wake of the controversy over Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) decision to remove FAMs from certain flights. That decision was based largely on the fact that many homeland security programs are cash-strapped and that DHS has requested reprogramming of FAM funds into other areas. The day after DHS's decision to remove FAMs became public, news reports said that the department still planned to cut FAM training.
WASHINGTON, DC - On Tuesday, Iran's hardline clerics rejected a move for that country to ratify the United Nations's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). While most of the world - 173 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan - has spoken out against discrimination against women by binding themselves to this convention, Iran remains on a short list with the United States of countries who have yet to ratify. The Bush Administration refuses to take a position on the Convention and continually deflects questions about it. Today, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), a multiple-time sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Congress, expressed continuing confoundment at the Bush Administration's refusal to express its desire to ratify the convention.
WASHINGTON, DC - According to a news report today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has turned on some of its most vital employees by conducting a "witch hunt" of Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) to determine the source of previous news reports that FAMs would be cut from flights to save on hotels. Today's report is the latest eye-opening story about the internal management of the FAM program and has raised new questions about whether the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is more concerned with internal politics than it is with properly securing America's airliners. In response to today's report, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), Chair of the Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security, called on her colleagues to investigate the internal TSA probe and the agency's reported threat to use the USA Patriot Act on its own employees.