Report: Colorado Infrastructure Security Panel Hasn't Met in Months

Committee charged with assessing Colorado's infrastructure has not held meetings in six months; claims lacks of funds


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The post Sept. 11 panel set up to assess Colorado's security weaknesses hasn't met in six months, The Gazette reported Saturday.

It also reports that the state continues to spend millions on security without a clear idea of what needs to be defended.

"We are missing a strategy," said Murray Hamilton, director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Homeland Defense at the University of Denver and a member of the stalled Critical Infrastructure Committee.

Hamilton, speaking Thursday to the Senate Select Committee on Homeland Security, said that his 53-member committee that was supposed to identify potential terrorist targets in Colorado - utilities, emergency services, businesses and schools - has been shelved due to lack of money.

The panel members were appointed by Sue Mencer, former director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety. Mencer, an appointee of Gov. Bill Owens, who went on to run the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness.

"Part of what we wanted to accomplish was to come up with a series of white papers for the governor and for the Legislature, saying, 'This is where we are, and this is where we need to get,"' Hamilton said. "There are a lot of things that need to be done, and we just need a strategy."

Some lawmakers said they were alarmed by Hamilton's comments.

"Of all the things we've heard so far, this is the most shocking," said Sen. Dan Grossman, D-Denver, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "They just stopped meeting. It's preposterous."

Meanwhile, the state has received more than $110 million in homeland security grants from the federal government through 2004.