Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible contender for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008, on Monday criticized the Bush administration for failing to do enough to protect the country from terrorists.
Clinton’s comments came after authorities in the United Kingdom last week said they thwarted a terror plot involving airplanes bound from Britain to the United States. Conspirators allegedly planned to blow up as many as 10 planes flying from Britain to the United States using liquid explosives, which the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s security equipment cannot detect in carry-on luggage.
“We’ve done some things right,” the New York senator said at a community event in Schenectady. “Obviously we’ve beefed up airport security in some ways, but as we’ve learned over the last week not in every way that matters. We still have not done what we need to do to protect our ports, our borders, our bridges, our transit systems, our rail lines, it’s a long list.”
“I don’t think our long-term strategy for homeland security is yet what it needs to be,” she said.
Department of Homeland Security spokesman Jarrod Agen disputed Clinton’s assertions.
“The department has taken several steps to strengthen our nation’s ports, borders, and mass transit systems by providing funding to state and local partners, training and deploying manpower and assets for high risk areas, developing and testing new technologies, and performing security assessments of systems across the country,” he said.
Earlier this month, Clinton called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying new leadership would give the United States “a fighting chance to turn the situation” in Iraq around.
The former first lady has come under attack from some in her own party for her 2002 vote for the war and her current opposition to a deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal.
She said Monday that the terror plot discovered by the British did not change her view on Iraq.
“It’s two different things,” she said.
Later, the 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO endorsed Clinton for re-election to the Senate. In a speech to the group, Clinton lambasted Republicans on a host of issues, from the Congress’ failure to raise the minimum wage to tax policies.
“What sense does it make to cut anti-terrorism funding to New York by 40 percent but give tax cuts to billionaires who live in New York City?” she said.
Associated Press writer Devlin Barrett in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press