Friday, June 02, 2006

Breaking News! New Government-wide Training Program on Monuments and National Icons.

White House Orders Monument-Icon Training Throughout Government

Looking To Head Off Controversy of DHS Terrorism Cuts; “We don’t want to tip off Al-Qaeda on some statute in Iowa

The Bush Administration has gotten themselves into another imbroglio, and has forced the White House to backtrack, with President Bush announcing this afternoon a new, government-wide training program on Monuments and National Icons.

This comes on the heels of outrage, after the Department of Homeland Security announced on Wednesday that it had placed Washington, D.C. and New York City in the bottom 25%, low risk category of a terrorist attack, and cutting their anti-terrorism funding by as much as 40%.

In the case of New York City, the DHS risk assessment, and justification for the 40% cut back in funds, was that the city had “no national monuments or icons”. New York City is home to the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, as well as internationally-noted museums and libraries.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to the New York Times said that "When you stop a terrorist, they have a map of New York City in their pocket. They don't have a map of any of the other 46 or 45 places."

Congressman Peter King (R-NY), and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said of the cuts that "It's a knife in the back to New York and I'm going to do everything I can to make them very sorry they made this decision."

King promised to call hearings into the matter, and hold the Department of Homeland Security accountable, demanding they justify their actions.

Chertoff: Washington and New York “Got A Fair Shake”

President Bush, already reeling from the investigation into the alleged massacre in Haditha, Iraq, approved the U.S. Military commanders ordering “refresher” training for the combat troops, that was described as focusing on "importance of adhering to legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield."

After the firestorm of criticism on the anti-terrorism cuts continued yesterday and into this morning, the President summoned Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who justified the cuts, saying, on PBS's "The News Hour With Jim Lehrer," he believed that New York and Washington got "a fair shake."

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said the meeting between the two was “tough” and “with a lot of frank talk”. Snow would neither confirm nor deny that the President wore his flight suit for the meeting with Chertoff.

Snow: “We don’t want to tip off Al-Qaeda on some statute in Iowa ...”

According to Snow, the Monument and Icon Training will begin “within the next few days” and consist of a “day-long session, for every government department and office.” The training will use books, photos, and with a nod to the request of Senate Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), videotape of the nation’s monuments and iconic buildings, parks and territories.

Snow said that the Monument and Icon Training will be “mandatory” for all government employees.

“Sure, we know a lot of these things already,” concede Snow, “But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded, refreshed, that Lombard Street is in San Francisco and Boston has Paul Revere’s house.”

Snow said that the White House hasn’t decided as of yet, if the President will go on national television, to address the Monument and Icon Training Program. Snow indicated that there is concern, expressed by the intelligence agencies and the military, that if the President used images during his address, that he “may be giving aid to our enemies.”

President Bush is said to be in favor of using photos in a national address, as sources close to the White House say the he was “inspired” after watching the National Spelling Bee on television last evening.

“It’s still being discussed,” admitted Snow. “We don’t want to tip off Al-Qaeda on some statute in Iowa that they may not know about already.”

White House Council Harriet Meirs, who last fall, conducted the special special Ethics Classes , for the Bush Administration, refresh them about the leaking of classified material, will be part of the team that runs the Monument and Icon Training.

“As far as I know, the country’s monuments and icons aren’t classified,” said Snow, “So I don’t think we have to worry about anyone leaking the content of the training program.”

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff believes, in respect to the cuts in anti-terrorism funds, that "Washington and New York got a fair shake"

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