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Friday, August 7, 2020

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Staff Editorial: National security more than just bombs, walls


Even though the larger issues of the war on terror and preventing any attacks on the domestic front should be on the forefront of national policy and concern for the administration, it seems, that the government is leaving the small-time citizen fending for himself.

Take the case of American citizen Andrew Speaker, who has dominated TV shows and national headlines with his unchecked round-the-world journey while being infected with a rare, drug-resistant form of tuberculosis. At Wednesday’s congressional hearings between the Centers of Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security, the finger pointing shifted between both entities and Speaker himself.

No one has taken responsibility yet.

And who could blame them? The apparent slip-ups were brought to before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, where lawmakers badgered CDC Director Julie Gerberding. The alleged mistakes ranged from CDC belatedly warning the DHS about the disease on May 22, even though the CDC first learned about it on May 18.

Another source of confusion for lawmakers was that the CDC didn’t allow Speaker to use a CDC plane, a jet that’s available to the agency during public health emergencies. It was also reported that the CDC rarely uses the private jets, despite the $7 million annual upkeep fee. There are even conflicting viewpoints on the usage of the jet: Speaker told Newsweek that a CDC official said a jet wouldn’t be sent for him; CDC officials are now reporting that "options were still being explored" when Speaker dashed to the U.S.

And while the TB scare is boiling down to a blame game, the government should keep in mind national security isn’t limited to terrorists.


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