Chertoff: U.S. Backsliding on Homeland Security

By Laura Spadanuta, Assistant Editor

Reuters reports that during a talk today at Harvard University, Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff said the United States may be backsliding on homeland security.

"A couple of years after 9/11 it would not have seemed conceivable that a 'business as usual' mentality could creep back into our public mind-set. It has begun to return," Chertoff told a forum at Harvard University.

"I'm concerned that we are beginning to backslide," he said, citing several areas where the United States has faced trouble while seeking to get tougher on security after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Chertoff cited the residents, mayors, and business owners opposing a plan to build a border fence on private land, which he said was a key part of his office's attempts to stop potential terrorists. Chertoff also criticized the postponement of rules that would require U.S. citizens to provide passports upon re-entering the country from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, or Caribbean countries.  Additionally, Chertoff pointed to an October outcry surrounding attempts to tighten rules for chemical plant stockpiles.



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