updated 9/9/2004 9:39:57 AM ET 2004-09-09T13:39:57

Terrorists blow up subways, trucks and ships as well as airplanes, but the Transportation Security Administration doesn’t have a plan yet to defend all forms of transportation from attacks.

In a 20-page addition to the report it issued in July, the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks said most of the TSA’s resources have been devoted to protecting aviation.

“Other transportation modes are at risk and have significant vulnerabilities,” said the report, which was made available on Wednesday.

The commission recommended that the Homeland Security Department and the TSA, one of its agencies, come up with a final plan by Feb. 1 to protect passengers, equipment and facilities.

Report includes 94 recommendations
The Sept. 11 commission addendum showed how much needs to be done just to protect transportation. Its 94 recommendations — expanded from the handful included in the July report — include developing recovery plans to restart key transportation systems after a terrorist attack, checking travelers’ names against terrorist watch lists before they board passenger trains or cruise ships, and setting priorities based on risk assessments.

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, the ranking Democrat on the House aviation subcommittee who made the report available, said the government has done only about 10 percent of what it should be doing to protect transportation.

“No one could look at this and say we’ve done everything we can do, or are in the process of doing everything we can do, to make the country safe,” he said.

The report said that without a strategic plan, “policy-makers may find themselves continually fighting the last war rather than anticipating and protecting the nation’s transportation system against future threats.”

TSA chief David Stone has said such a plan will be finished by the end of the year.

Brian Jenkins, counterterrorism analyst for the RAND Corporation, said tough decisions have to be made about the most important targets to protect because resources are limited.

‘None of these decisions are easy’
“Do you spend lots of money on terminals, shopping malls, train stations, bus depots?” Jenkins said. “None of these decisions are easy.”

Jenkins said the country’s two biggest transportation vulnerabilities are mass transit and ports.

“There’s limited things we can do” to protect them, he said. “We’re going to have to live with some of the risk.”

On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Senate turned aside a Democratic effort to double port security spending in the Homeland Security Department spending bill.

An amendment by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to double the bill’s $150 million for developing equipment to detect nuclear weapons hidden in containers entering U.S. ports died although senators voted 50-46 for it. It lost because a procedural move forced Schumer to garner 60 votes to prevail.

The Sept. 11 commission also urged the TSA to check travelers’ names against terrorist watch lists before they board passenger trains or cruise ships.

Wider use of ‘no-fly’ list urged
“Steps should be taken as soon as possible to convert the “No-Fly” list into a “No-Transport” list that would be provided to transportation providers in addition to air carriers (starting with cruise ships and Amtrak),” the report said.

Airlines now check their passengers’ names against such a list, a responsibility that the TSA plans to assume sometime next year.

Privacy advocates say the government is too secretive about how it puts people on the list and that those who are mistakenly identified as terrorists don’t have an effective way of getting off it.

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