Blame Television

Former 9/11 Commissioner and Navy Secretary John Lehman makes an uncomfortable point in his phone conversation with radio talker/blogger Michael Smerconish:

"When such a bomb goes off, for example, in the Philadelphia subways, there are going to be far more casualties because police and fire have not been allowed to have the kinds of equipment and connectivity they absolutely know they need. They have been articulate in pointing it out, but they have not been getting it."

Lehman credited British planning, practice and equipment for keeping the death toll in last week's bombings to near 50. Said we fall far short when it comes to keeping a proper radio communications network.

The reason?

It should make your blood boil.

Smerconish last night in the Huffington Post:

Lehman reminded me that the 9/11 Commission made 41 recommendations, not all of which have been acted upon. Significant among the open items is one which concerns communications:

Recommendation: Congress should support pending legislation which provides for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes.

That hasn’t happened. And wait until you hear his explanation.

"It is really scandalous in a way. One of our recommendations was to free up a range of radio frequencies not being used. That hasn’t happened because they are being held onto by the broadcast industry due to a contingent possibility that they may be needed in distant future for HDTV, but they are the very frequencies that are needed by first responders and are used by police and fire departments."

Senator John McCain has been trying to do something about this for three years, but so far has been met with stiff opposition from the broadcast industry. Lehman calls the lobbying effort to deny our emergency personnel access to the airwaves "pure greed and selfishness."

Let’s hope London is a wake-up call to prioritize the war on terror over televisions.

Posted 07/13/2005 10:50:31 AM

Forget McCain, sic Rove on them.

Sherri W.
Posted 07/13/2005 02:43:13 PM

It's a-boiling. Of course, if our legislators were willing to resist the media lobby, that'd help, too....

Posted 07/14/2005 02:57:55 PM

Go, Michael.

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