What would you define as “critical infrastructure?”

The fine people at the Department of Homeland Security are building a database of “critical national infrastructure” that’s supposed to help them determine what needs to be paid special attention to as a potential target for terrorists. It was decided that the best way to go about doing this was to ask each State to send in info on its critical infrastructure to be included in this database and so they asked, twice, and they got plenty of submissions which was fantastic… until they took a closer look at what was being submitted. Seems that quite a few States are run by morons who believe that strip malls and casinos count as critical national infrastructure:

Among the critical assets in the database are Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, a Kangaroo Conservation Center, Jay’s Sporting Goods, several Wal-Mart stores, Amish Country Popcorn, and the Sweetwater Flea Market.

The DHS Office of Inspector General found the National Asset Database, being compiled to support a variety of infrastructure protection projects, full to overflowing with “poor quality” data, such as 4,055 malls, shopping centers, and retail outlets, 224 racetracks, 539 theme or amusement parks and 163 water parks, 514 religious meeting places and 1,305 casinos.

And some of those out of place items seem quite out of place on a critical infrastructure list, such as a Sears Auto Center, a Pepsi bottling plant, the Trees of Mystery, the 4 Cs Fuel and Lube, a truckstop, High Stakes Bingo, and the Mule Day Parade.

The state of Iowa, for instance, has several strange places on its critical infrastructure list, including a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop near Des Moines. And Florida counts two small tourist attractions, Weeki Wachee Springs and Dinosaur World, among critical assets for which it’s applied for homeland security grant money.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I would think that someone with a modicum of common sense would recognize that a lot of these places don’t qualify as “critical national infrastructure.” Sure, some of them might actually be good terrorist targets, but the country isn’t going to grind to a halt if a terrorist blows up the local Pepsi bottling plant or Krispy Kreme donut shop. Get a fucking clue, folks!

8 thoughts on “What would you define as “critical infrastructure?”

  1. They are not ignorant, they know exactly what they are doing.  The problem is, they’re not doing this with the security of their states in mind so much as with the money that they get with more security targets for Homeland Security to pay them money to protect.

    It’s really only a sign of the utter corruption that permeates almost ever level of government these days, and the total incompetence of those in Washington.

  2. thankfully, national surveillance isn’t going through as well as planned. Maybe we still have hope in the old Roman model.

  3. Yeah what were these guys thinking? Everyone knows the way to bring America to a stand still is to blow up every Starbucks there is…

    But in all seriousness, this is pretty screwy. I think I agree with Buzz, the state leaders are just greedy and want more money to “protect” their state. I do rememeber seeing a topic on 60 minutes or some show like that about small po-dunk towns asking for and recieving home land security aid money just because they could.

  4. Actually a terrorist group sending teams of two or three people around the country blowing up small targets such as power substations, telephone hubs, and indeed commercial buildings like donut shops could possibly do far more damage to the economy in the long run.  Imagine this kind of thing happening every day in random places.  It would be impossible to defend against because you can’t have cops and soldiers everywhere defending everything, and the cumulative damage would quickly add up.  Not to mention the effects on public moral.  Of course terrorists don’t do thinks like that because they aren’t flashy enough.  They want to make “big statements.”

  5. See, that’s what’s beautiful about our Free Enterprise system.  Bin Laden could blow up every Starbucks and we’d STILL go on drinking coffee!  Ha!

  6. They are not ignorant, they know exactly what they are doing.

    Don’t think so, because EVERY state has to have enough critical infrastructure to pork-pack such a database to the gills without seeming to be greedy. Just list EVERY fire station and ER room. And every main highway bridge and tunnel. And all the water and power plants. And… you get it.

    No need to enter your local Burger King. That IS stupid, even if you’re only out there for the subsidies, not for protecting your populace.

    Actually a terrorist group sending teams of two or three people around the country blowing up small targets such as power substations, telephone hubs, and indeed commercial buildings like donut shops could possibly do far more damage to the economy in the long run.

    Not so sure, because such people get caught (and likely awfully fast). You can’t just do a driveby with some packs of TNT. Or if you do (without careful planning) you hit some snag even earlier. Somewhere, a camera is going to record you. Or some guy will see you. Then its statewide alert, and you get stopped at the next roadblock. No, there are no ‘serial terrorists’ as such, I’d say. Only serial terrorist groups.

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