Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 2, 2006

The inconsistency of Clark Kent Ervin

Filed under: Risk Assessment,State and Local HLS — by Christian Beckner on June 2, 2006

Yesterday Sec. Chertoff was asked during Q&A at the Brookings Institution whether he had read former DHS Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin’s new book, Open Target. Chertoff replied that he hadn’t.

Mr. Secretary, don’t waste your time. As loyal readers know, I panned the book in a review a few weeks ago, citing among other flaws its “inconsistent grounds for criticism.” Ervin has provided a new data point in support of my contention with his response to the homeland security grant imbroglio.

Yesterday on his blog, Ervin discussed the homeland security grant decisions accordingly:

Yet, somehow the areas encompassing the only two cities that have been attacked by terrorists – New York and Washington, DC – wound up taking a 40% cut yesterday when the allocations were announced. On the other hand, areas that any reasonable and unbiased person would agree are relatively low risk places like Omaha, Nebraska and Louisville, Kentucky, saw an increase in funding. Department spokesmen defend the indefensible with a straight face.

Seems sensible. But four weeks ago, in an editorial in the Washington Post on soft targets, Ervin wrote this:

Because there never has been a terrorist attack on a soft target in the United States, the psychological effect probably would be disastrous, even if the casualty toll were relatively low. If the attack were to take place outside the major cities already considered prime terrorist targets — such as New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago — the collective national psyche would be especially traumatized. For the first time, every American, wherever he or she lived, would feel at risk. A single suicide bomber in a shopping center in Topeka, or a single bomb-carrying car rammed into a movie complex in Omaha, could bring the nation to its psychic knees.

Which is it? These two statements are in direct contradiction with one another. Evidently, by his own admission, Ervin was himself unreasonable and biased just a few short weeks ago.

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Comment by serial catowner

June 5, 2006 @ 7:20 pm

Well, actually…no. Bombs, firebombs, insane shooters- these are all common features of middle American life. Granted, they may be more socially “acceptable” to some people when black people or abortion clinics are the target, but any garden-variety explosion in Nowheresville USA isn’t going to make much noise.

A really BIG explosion that hit a really BIG target might, but big targets are what you’re lacking in much of the country.

Trackback by Independent Conservative

June 19, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

Clark Kent Ervin, Patriot or Crybaby?…

Clark Kent Ervin is the former Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security. During his time on the job he issued some fairly critical reports and spoke of various security vulnerabilities. He was let go back in 2004 and it appears it w…

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