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Front Page » April 18, 2002 » Opinion » Favors federal Paul Revere legislation
Published 4,919 days ago

Favors federal Paul Revere legislation

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Minuteman Media

National hero Paul Revere has emerged as a symbol for a new day that is dawning in the United States.

Revere galloped through the streets of the rebellious colonies to warn of threats on a distant horizon, declaring:"The British are coming!"

Revere's simple message is as familiar to most Americans as any other event from our Revolutionary War.

In late February, several modern day whistleblowers gathered in a congressional hearing room to sound alarms, for a time of national crisis.

Receiving the most attention was Bogdan Dzakovic, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agent for the last 14 years who has led special teams to test airport security.

Dzakovic's message for Americans was the number one or two televised news stories on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the Black Entertainment Network, as well as the lead story in the newspaper USA Today.

According to special agent Dzakovic, the FAA had ignored repeated warnings before Sept. 11, 2001 that security was inadequate at most of the nation's airports.

Even after the tragic events last September, airport mock terrorist readiness exercises resulted in fatal penetrations 90 percent of the time.

The federal agency publicly left the false impression that the protective forces' success rate was 90 percent.

Then there were the two whistleblowers whose revelations have brought national attention to security problems at nuclear weapons facilities.

Ron Timm heads a small firm that has evaluated security at U.S. Department of Energy sites for 17 years.

Timm has found that mock terrorist assaults on DOE facilities succeed more often than the attacks fail.

Matthew Zipoli, the other nuclear weapons whistleblower, is the vice president of the security officers union at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories in the Bay area of northern California.

Zipoli has revealed how farcical security operations have become at the University of California facility.

During a recent bomb threat at the University of California, the untrained security force reportedly acted in ways reminiscent of Keystone Cops.

The security personnel were purportedly looking for bombs with no earthly idea what an explosive device would look like or how to deal with it, herding the entire security force into the targeted structure and keeping all employees in the threatened building rather than evacuating it.

More ominously, Zipoli reported that the mock terrorists had obtained access to the facility's plutonium 100 percent of the time. In addition, 80 percent of the time, the mock terrorists had managed to escape the facility's secure area with a package that represented plutonium - the key ingredient for nuclear weapons.

After the security officers union vice president raised the nuclear-related concerns, the University of California fired Zipoli.

Also at the gathering in Washington, D.C., former U.S. Customs special agent Darlene Catalan blew the whistle on the vulnerability of the nation's borders.

Catalan reported security lapses on the border that offered opportunities for human migration as well as the smuggling of drugs and weapons. She noted that each day from 5,000 to 10,000 uninspected tanker cars roll into the country from Mexico.

Randy Robarge raised security concerns at the Seabrook nuclear power plant. He identified weaknesses in the program to screen potential employees and vulnerabilities of key areas of the facility to airborne assault by commercial airliners.

Several Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress, including Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Rep. Steve Israel of New York, have responded to the whistleblowers by offering a Paul Revere bill.

The proposed federal legislation would provide a remedy for government and corporate employees who are retaliated against for communicating with Congress and public agencies about their concerns.

Paul Revere succeeded in sounding an alarm because the Americans who heard the message rose to the occasion and defended our new nation.

The least the U.S. government and citizens can do today is defend the courageous employees who have risked jobs and careers to warn us of potentially catastrophic dangers.

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April 18, 2002
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