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Bloomberg: U.S. Must Secure Weapons, Stop Terror Financing, Reports Say

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By Jeff Bliss

The U.S. must do more to secure nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and cut off financing for terrorist groups, according to two bipartisan reports.

In its report, the Partnership for a Secure America, a group that includes former members of the 9/11 commission, gave the Bush administration a grade of C for its non-proliferation efforts.

The American Security Project said the U.S. has done little to curtail criminal activities and direct cash transfers that fund terrorist attacks.

“Incidents of Islamist terrorism around the world remain at an all-time high,” according to a report by the group, whose members include Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Democrat.

“The United States is not winning the `war on terror.”’

Almost seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has made progress in securing seaports and destroying the U.S. chemical weapon stockpile, and the American public has become more optimistic about victory against terrorists, the reports by the Washington-based groups said.

Yet if current trends continue, terrorists will mount 664 attacks around the world this year, 10 times the number in the late 1990s, according to the American Security Project.

Muslims Skeptical

The U.S. has failed to make its case to the Muslim world, which views the country’s policy goals with suspicion, the American Security Project said. About 92 percent of Egyptians and 73 percent of Indonesians believe the U.S. wants to divide and weaken Islam.

That skepticism fuels anger that spawns recruits for terrorist groups, the group said.

The Partnership for a Secure America said the administration has failed to draw up a plan that coordinates all initiatives on the weapons.

“While progress has been made in securing these weapons and materials, we are still dangerously vulnerable,” the group said. It gave the Bush administration a C- for its biological- weapons prevention programs, a C for its nuclear initiatives and a B- for its work against chemical weapons.

The next president’s highest priority should be to boost the security at the facilities where these weapons and their components are stored and do more to work with other countries and international organizations to make it harder for terrorists to get the weapons, the group said.

–Editor: Bill Schmick, Brigitte Greenberg.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Jeff Bliss in Washington +1-202-624-1975 or
jbliss@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Michael Forsythe at +1-202-1940 or
mforsythe@bloomberg.net.

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