By Kevin McNicholas
BOSTON (Reuters) – The Republican governor of Massachusetts on Monday expressed frustration with the way the federal government tells states about possible terrorism threats that might involve them.
During a speech at a conference on domestic security preparedness, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney described how rumors and a lack of coordination appear to hamper the flow of essential information from Washington to local governments across America.
Romney’s criticisms came with a week left in a presidential campaign that has focused heavily on the war in Iraq and domestic security issues. Republican President Bush has made his leadership in the war on terror central to his re-election hopes.
Romney said states face an uncoordinated flow of information from the federal government regarding possible terror threats, and he called for a centralized way of advising local governments of such risks.
«We have to have a single conduit, where every single state knows they’re getting the same story,» Romney, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, told the conference at Northeastern University.
«What state and local governments need, in our view at least, is that intelligence information is validated, delivered rapidly to us and comes in a concise and actionable format, and of course that it’s updated regularly,» he said.
Romney cited examples of hearing information from one source in the government and then asking another source about it — only to be told the first source didn’t necessarily have the facts straight.
«We’re giving information to certain federal agencies about what we’re hearing from other federal agencies. That doesn’t make sense,» he said.
Romney was elected governor of Massachusetts more than a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington. Two of the four planes used in the attacks took off from Boston.
© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved
By Kevin McNicholas