Millions spent on local Homeland Security, challenges remain

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- In New York City, NYPD's anti-terror teams rolled out in a show of force. It has become an unfortunate but somewhat routine display there. We've not seen that kind of roll out in Houston.

Just six months ago, two alleged terrorists tried to kill people at a prophet Muhammed cartoon contest near Dallas.

In that case, the FBI sent a warning to Garland police three hours before the attack but did not know the men were closing in until they showed up guns blazing. The FBI had investigated one of them for 8 years and picked up one suspect's social media posts about the event, but then they went quiet just like the Paris attack.

"They flow underneath the intelligence community. You cannot surveil these guys electronically," said former FBI counter terror expert Jim Conway.

Conway says it may be time to expand law enforcement's ability to act on terror suspects faster.

"We can only do what is allowable under the law. - We need to have a more robust and a more aggressive strategy," said Conway.

Even before that questions remain about the work already being done.

Houston has the nation's second oldest joint terrorism task force where HPD and the FBI cooperate, but HPD's own consultant said last year, "HPD has conducted no systematic assessment of the value of the work."

Since 9-11 the feds have billions to prevent terror in our cities, 120 million to Houston alone since 2010.

A senate report on those funds suggested, "Homeland Security Grants are yielding little value for the nation's counter terrorism efforts."

And consider this, federal statistics reveal just 13 percent of chemical facilities have been inspected for compliance with a $500 million anti-terror program.

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