Democrats criticize Homeland Security vulnerability assessments

Democrats on Tuesday called the Homeland Security Department's efforts to prioritize the nation's critical infrastructure "seriously flawed."

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee expressed concern that inconsistent methodology for extracting data about key assets around the country have resulted in incomplete and inadequate vulnerability assessments.

"The inconsistencies of critical infrastructure listings between cities suggest that the department's approach is not comprehensive enough to ensure that all the essential assets of our country are catalogued," wrote Jim Turner of Texas, the ranking Democrat of the panel, and his colleagues.

The letter requested that the department notify Congress if it requires more funding and a timeline with details about completing risk assessments.

The department has catalogued 33,000 critical infrastructure sites across the country, obtaining the information from state and local officials as well as the private sector.

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