Today, U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) met with Gen. Lowenberg and the Washington State Domestic Security Executive Group in Olympia, Washington to discuss their ongoing work on security and other issues related to the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C.
In December, Larsen and other members of the WA delegation, including Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representives Dicks and Smith, sent a letter to The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asking them to review border and security issues facing the Pacific Northwest region and to provide a plan to fund security needs and ensure interoperability between state, local and federal responders in preparation for the Games.
Earlier this month, DHS sent a reponse to Larsen that confirms plans to open a 2010 Coordination Center to be located at the Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine facility in Bellingham, Washington in conjunction with Washington state. The response from DHS fails to identify funding for 2010 Olympics security.
“I am pleased that the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed plans for a 2010 Coordination Center in Bellingham, but I am disappointed that, to date, the President and DHS have failed to identify funding for Olympics security,” said Larsen. “Gov. Chris Gregoire has taken critical steps to prepare for the Olympics, and I will continue to work with her and other federal, state and local leaders to ensure that our region's security needs are met and that the Department of Homeland Security is prepared for the Games.”
“The federal government controls all bi-national security arrangements," said General Timothy J. Lowenberg, Director, Washington Military Department. "Other than attending State of Washington-hosted meetings and designating a lead federal official, however, the Department of Homeland Security has failed to plan for or resource its own internal requirements or assure federal interoperability with state and local emergency responders. We urge DHS to give priority attention to these security matters.”