During a visit to Iowa Tuesday, New York Governor George Pataki defended the federal government’s response to the terrorist attacks of four years ago. “I know that we have gotten much greater information, support, help, material, aid from the federal government over the last few years than we had ever had before,” Pataki said. “The cooperation is extraordinary. The sharing of intelligence, the providing of funding so that we can train first responders and equip them have all been outstanding.”
The bipartisan “9/11 Commission” issued its final report Monday, citing a lack of progress on major initiatives, like intelligence sharing among government agencies and distribution of Homeland Security grants based on politics. Pataki did say that despite the best efforts of government, no one can ever claim that the U.S. is “totally safe.”
“I don’t think there is any politician in American who could say with absolute honesty that there’s no risk, that we’re not going to be attacked again,” Pataki said. “We know there are those who want to attack us again which is why both at the state level and at the federal level we have to continue to look to improve our methods, to improve our operations and to get better and we’re going to continue to try to do that.”
Pataki contends that a combination of things — including a crack-down on illegal immigration — are necessary to prevent another act of terror on U.S. soil.
“The goal is not just to be ready,” Pataki said. “The goal, I think, is to prevent another terrorist attack in the first place.” Pataki said New York is still a target for terrorists, and the federal government has given a “tremendous amount” of help to his state.
“Assistance in preparation, assistance in intelligence,” Pataki said.
A new state-run center based in up-state New York gets “real-time” alerts from the F-B-I, according to Pataki. Pataki said the federal government can’t do it all alone and the “eyes and ears” of local law enforcement and other citizens need to be on the look-out for information that might prevent a terrorist attack.
“Always there is room for improvement, always the federal government can be doing more, but our experience is that we’ve had a very good partnership,” Pataki said.
Pataki, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2008, met Tuesday afternoon with Red Cross volunteers from the Des Moines area who worked in New York following the September 11th attacks. Last night, Pataki headlined a Republican fundraiser.