The Obama administration is hitting back at New York officials who say the White House is cutting homeland security funding — charging Gotham officials with sitting on $275 million in unspent federal cash.
Late Friday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sent off a pointed letter to city and state officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor David Paterson. They had joined a chorus of critics accusing the administration of slashing about 25 percent for port security and another 27 percent for transit security on the eve of Obama's fundraising jaunt to Manhattan Thursday.
"We are concerned, however, that more than $275 million dollars in Federal funding for New York City's port and transit security since 2006 has not yet been drawn down," Napolitano wrote. “There is no greater responsibility of government than the safety of our citizens. We are committed to supporting the efforts of the many skilled and valiant men and women who are working day and night to serve and protect the people of New York.”
The letter also was sent to every member of the city's congressional delegation, along with Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. "New York has yet to draw down on any of the transit funding it received last year. Given the sense of urgency we all feel, we are focused on working closely with Congress and our state and local partners to ensure these funds are put to work quickly to address important security needs in New York City and throughout the State."
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the letter a "phony" and said the money Napolitano refers to are matching grants that first require the city and state to shell out hundreds of millions of local funding at a time of historic budget deficits.
“It’s crazy to be coming after New York like this less than two weeks after the attempted terrorist attack in Times Square," King said.
The letter came after Obama traveled to New York City Thursday to praise law enforcement officers for their work in capturing the man behind the attempted Times Square bombing attack, Faisal Shahzad.