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John Kerry 2004 On The Issues - A Safe & Secure Homeland

John Kerry 2004 On The Issues

A Safe & Secure Homeland

 

The most basic responsibility of a president is defending our homeland.
We've seen some progress in making America more secure since September 11 - but there is still much more to be done. Today our government is not doing enough to make us safe. Our intelligence services remain fragmented and lack coordination. Our borders and ports are full of holes. Our chemical plants are vulnerable to attack. And across America, police officers, firefighters, and other first responders still lack the information, gear, and equipment to do their jobs safely and successfully.

America needs a new strategy for homeland security that takes steps as big as the threats we face. John Kerry and John Edwards have that strategy. They will do whatever it takes to make America safe - coordinate our intelligence agencies, take action on all key fronts, stand up for security whenever special interests stand in the way, and get the needed resources to the first responders who defend America every day.

John Kerry and John Edwards will offer a new security strategy that addresses five major challenges:

Track And Stop Terrorists
Many of the intelligence problems that allowed terrorists to slip into our country before 9/11 have not been addressed. John Kerry and John Edwards will improve our ability to gather, analyze, and share information so we can track down and stop terrorists before they cause harm.

Protect Our Borders And Shores
Today, our borders, our ports, and our airports are not as secure as they must be. John Kerry and John Edwards will make our airports, seaports, and borders more secure without intruding upon personal liberties.

Harden Vulnerable Targets
Chemical industry lobbying has kept the Bush administration from strengthening security at chemical plants, where an attack could endanger 1 million Americans. John Kerry and John Edwards will always put Americans' safety ahead of big business interests and take strong measures to harden likely targets-including nuclear plants, trains, and subways-against possible attack.

Improve Domestic Readiness
Our first defenders will respond to any attack with courage and heroism-but they also need the equipment and manpower to do the job. John Kerry and John Edwards will back up their words with resources and ensure that America's first responders have everything they need to protect their communities.

Guard Liberty.
We must always remember that terrorists do not just target our lives - they target our way of life. John Kerry and John Edwards believe in an America that is safe and free, and they will protect our personal liberties as well as our personal security.

The Kerry-Edwards Plan for Homeland Security


America needs a new strategy for homeland security that takes steps as big as the threats we face. John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan that addresses five major challenges: (1) improving our ability to gather, analyze, and share information so we can track down terrorists and stop them before they cause us harm, (2) better securing our airports, seaports, and borders, (3) hardening likely terrorist targets, (4) improving domestic readiness, and (5) winning the war on terror without losing the values of freedom and justice for all that make us proud to be Americans.


Track and Stop Terrorists
The war on terror requires good intelligence, yet many of the problems with information-sharing and databases that allowed terrorists to slip into our country before 9/11 have not been addressed. As part of a reform of our intelligence services, John Kerry will establish a true Director of National Intelligence to coordinate the nation's intelligence efforts, and he will establish a separate service within the Federal Bureau of Investigation dedicated to intelligence work. He will accelerate the improvement and integration of key watchlists and databases so they operate quickly and seamlessly. And he will give more security clearances to state and local officials and ensure that they get critical information quickly when they need it.


Protect our Borders and Shores
At our ports, the Kerry-Edwards plan will improve loading facility security while improving the accuracy and timing of transmitted and shared data about contents, location, and chain of control regarding a container shipment. At our airports, the Kerry-Edwards plan will ensure adequate security for air cargo, tons of which goes uninspected today, and ensure that screenings at airports continue to become more effective. At our borders, the Kerry-Edwards plan will use technology and work with Canada and Mexico to improve border security while speeding up legal and secure passages across our border.


Harden Vulnerable Targets
We must do more to reduce risks at likely targets of terrorist attack, including nuclear plants and chemical plants. For example, even though an attack on a chemical plant could endanger 1 million Americans, the current administration has failed to require better security at chemical plants because of lobbying from the chemical industry. The Kerry-Edwards plan will require these plants to adopt adequate plans to improve security, including measures to reduce dangers to the public if an attack occurs. It will also improve security at nuclear plants and strengthen security on railways and subways by more chemical and biological detectors and taking other key steps to prevent terrorists from striking our trains.


Improve Domestic Readiness
Our first defenders will respond to any attack with courage and heroism-but they also need the equipment and manpower to do the job. The Kerry-Edwards plan will provide direct assistance to our police officers and firefighters to ensure that they have the communications systems, protective gear, and manpower they need to protect our communities. It will also modernize our emergency warning system to provide localized warnings, treat the fighters on the frontlines as partners, and provide all Americans with the information they need. To improve our ability to respond to a biological attack, John Kerry will put one individual in charge of our anti-bioterror efforts, set national benchmarks for state and local preparedness, and harness America's bioscience genius to increase drug and vaccine development. Finally, John Kerry will enable all Americans to do their part by creating a new community defense service comprised of ordinary Americans that serves as a 21st century neighborhood watch. And he will expand national service opportunities for young people who want to help defend our nation.


Guard Liberty at Home
John Kerry and John Edwards believe in an America that is safe and free. They believe we must always remember that terrorists do not just target our lives - they target our way of life. As president, John Kerry will defend our liberty and our security at home. He will appoint an Attorney General who values and protects civil liberties. Like eight Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Kerry has rejected this administration's policy of detaining American citizens indefinitely, without access to a lawyer or chance to prove their innocence. He believes some provisions of the Patriot Act - like the money laundering provisions - must be made stronger. Others - like the library and "sneak-and-peek" search provisions - must be made smarter, to better protect privacy and freedom while allowing our government to everything necessary to track down terrorists and defend America. As president, John Kerry will ensure that the American government is open and responsive to the needs and inquiries of Congress and the public, offering enough information to hold the government accountable without compromising our security.

 

Source: John Kerry for President 2004 Web Site

 

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