Cuomo Writes to Boehner to Ask for Anti-Terrorism Funding

Governor Cuomo picks up on a front page story in Newsday about Republican efforts to cut anti-terrorism funding for New York City in half.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), Cuomo said “Your leadership is needed to prevent these harmful cuts.”

Cuomo doesn’t have a public schedule today and, in general, hasn’t been eager to inject himself, personally, into the national scene. For example, when White House officials held a meeting in March about security at Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester, Cuomo sent his lieutenant governor to the meeting in Washington.

But for a New York elected official, asking Washington for more security funding is a no-brainer.

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Reid,

At a time when the federal government is warning that we may see retaliatory attacks for the death of Osama Bin Laden, congressionally proposed cuts to state and local homeland security grants for the FY2012 federal budget would undermine the very initiatives that have been put in place to protect our nation and people from the persistent and evolving threat of terrorism.

Since September 11th, New York State has been the target of thirteen terrorist plots. Most were thwarted through the collaborative investigative prowess among local, state and federal law enforcement officials, as well as citizens who reported suspicious activity. Some plots, including Faisal Shazad’s attempted bombing of Times Square and the crowded Theatre District, failed. Under all scenarios, federal support to the state and local officials who are literally on the front lines of the war of terrorism being waged against us is essential. The capability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from a terrorist attack requires the full participation of all levels of government. That is exactly what the funding made available through the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants has as its goal.

Thursday’s arrest by the NYPD of two suspects who were targeting multiple synagogues and the Empire State Building demonstrate that the death of Bin Laden does not mean the threat of terrorism has abated. With the 10th anniversary of September 11th and the opening of World Trade Center Memorial only months away, this plot was simultaneously the latest success story and sober reminder that our city and state remains in the crosshairs of those who use bombs and bullets to make their points. Osama Bin Laden himself cited the 10th anniversary as a date his followers should target for attack. Now is not the time for the federal government to step back from the partnership with state and local governments in defense of our nation.

Your leadership is needed to prevent these harmful cuts and to ensure that our nation does not degrade its abilities to meet the threat of terrorism.