A day after President Barack Obama said his biggest fear was a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan, it was revealed that the Department of Homeland Security is cutting funding to New York City's nuclear security program by more than half.
The nationwide "Securing the Cities" program is designed to detect and prevent a nuclear attack in cities facing the highest risk. New York City's share of the funding is set to go from $11 million to $4.7 million.
Senator Chuck Schumer called on DHS to reverse the funding cuts immediately.
"As President Obama correctly noted, our biggest fear is a nuclear weapon going off in New York City, so why would DHS want to cut funding for such a vital program here?" said Schumer. "Time-and-again, would be terrorists have made New York City their target of choice, which is why we must prioritize and fully fund programs like ‘Secure the Cities.’"
But according to a DHS official, the security program was designed to start with high levels of funding as equipment was secured and personnel were trained in nuclear detection operations. After the initial investment, the plan was always to transition to more sustainable local funding sources.
DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee said in a statement that the city was actually set to receive a net increase of money from the department this year.
“The Department of Homeland Security has been and continues to provide support to New York, to further strengthen the nation’s ability to respond to a range of threats, disasters, and incidents," Lee said.