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Improvements Still Needed in US Security, Says Top Official


U.S. Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge is defending the government against allegations contained in a new report that says the United States remains "dangerously unprepared" for a terrorist attack. But Mr. Ridge acknowledges that more needs to be done to increase security.

On CBS Television's Early Show Monday, U.S. Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge took issue with the report released last week. "I think the notion that we have been idle, that we've literally done nothing since September 11, and that this country has not responded in a fairly comprehensive way to be better prepared, I think that's substantially different than saying that we still have some additional work to do," Mr. Ridge said.

Last week, the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York based foreign policy institute, issued a report saying the United States remains dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic attack on U.S. soil, even though it has been more than a year since the September 11 terror attacks.

Former U.S. Senators Warren Rudman and Gary Hart headed the task force, which also included other former top U.S. officials, Nobel laureates and private analysts. On Sunday, Former Senator Hart told ABC Television he thinks the United States must take urgent action.

"This country is unacceptably vulnerable. The president needs to focus the attention of all Americans on those vulnerabilities, (and) call on congressional leaders and business leaders and the American people to step up and protect this country," Mr. Hart said.

Homeland Security chief Ridge responded by saying the United States is in his words, "better prepared," but he said the country still has more work to do.

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