Dear Taxpayer,The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the attacks of September 11, 2011 will forever be etched in our collective memory and forever serve as painful reminders that the enemies of freedom aremany and our security often comes at a steep price—in dollars, lives and liberty.We no longer can assume our distant shores from foreign lands or having the greatest militaryforce in the history of the world are enough to protect us. We now live with the realityterrorists are within our midst and they may look, sound and act like us, but they hateeverything we are and the values we share.The balancing act between liberty and security has been tenuous throughout the history of ournation, founded upon basic freedoms granted by our Creator and protected from governmentinfringement within the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. But a new element has been added tothis equation over the past decade that threatens to undermine both our liberty and security—excessive government spending and insurmountable debt.We cannot secure liberty and guarantee security simply by spending more and more money inthe name of security. Every dollar misspent in the name of security weakens our alreadyprecarious economic condition, indebts us to foreign nations, and shackles the future of ourchildren and grandchildren. Our $16 trillion national debt has become the new red menace notonly lurking in our midst, but created and sustained by shortsighted and irresponsible decisionsmade in Washington.We can only defend our freedoms by ensuring the dollars we spend on security are done so in afiscally responsible manner, meet real needs, and respect the very rights we are aiming topreserve and protect.This report,
Safety at Any Price,
exposes misguided and wasteful spending in one of the largestterror-prevention grant programs at the Department of Homeland Security – the Urban AreaSecurity Initiative (UASI).
We cannot assume that because the UASI program has an important mission and a large budgetit is accomplishing its goals, however. Significant evidence suggests that the program isstruggling to demonstrate how it is making U.S. cities less vulnerable to attack and moreprepared if one were to occur—despite receiving $7.1 billion in federal funding since 2003.After ten years, a clear danger for the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant program isthat it would be transformed from a risk-based program targeting security gaps into anentitlement program for states and cities.My office has conducted a year-long inquiry into the this grant program found that to wide of latitude is given to states and urban areas to determine the projects they will fund, and programparameters defining what constitute allowable expenses are extremely broad.
UASI is to provide funds for the nation’s cities most at risk of a major terror attack.