Many have followed such “zombie apocalypse” shows and films such as The Walking Dead, Resident Evil and many others in the zombie genre, but now it seems that our own government has been establishing a Zombie Apocalypse Training Camp at taxpayer expense.
The Department of Homeland Security gave out grants of $1000 each, plus and expensive hotel stay to first responders for at the Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego, California for training first responders at a week long HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit.
So what all took place that week for $1000 a pop? According to Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) report Safety At Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Homeland Security Spending In U.S. Cities:
“[Strategic Operations] performed two shows on Halloween, which featured 40 actors dressed as zombies getting gunned down by a military tactical unit. Conference attendees were invited to watch the shows as part of their education in emergency response training. [HALO president Brad] Barker explained that, ‘the idea is to challenge authorities as they respond to extreme medical situations where people become crazed and violent, creating widespread fear and disorder.’”
Senator Coburn has a long history of putting out his annual Wastebook, filled with mind-blowing waste of our tax dollars by the federal government and among the greatest abuses of taxpayer money is brought about by the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security.
The report stated: “At a time when our $16 trillion national debt is our greatest national security threat … paying for first responders to attend a HALO Counterterrorism Summit at a California island spa resort featuring a simulated zombie apocalypse does little to discourage potential terrorists.”
Coburn said upon release of the report, “For instance, paying for first responders to attend a HALO Counterterrorism Summit at a California island spa resort featuring a simulated zombie apocalypse does little to discourage potential terrorists. I hope this report encourages DHS to award funds based on calculated risk, not politics. Congress has a duty to ensure that this grant program does not become a parochial, pork-barrel entitlement program. We need to help the program fulfill its original goal of providing funds for projects in areas most at risk.”
The HALO Corporation issued a statement following the release of Coburn’s report, in which it denied that any government funds were used for the event. “The report’s suggestion that Department of Homeland Security and Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) funds were used to pay for zombie apocalypse training is absolutely untrue,” said Barker in a statement. “Absolutely no taxpayer money, DHS or UASI funds were spent on the zombie apocalypse demonstration. The Summit’s approval as a training event under the UASI program, and therefore the eligibility of law enforcement and first responders to receive grant funding to attend, applied to our in-classroom course curriculum, which comprised about 30 courses on counter-terrorism, emergency preparedness, disaster response, intelligence analysis, cybercrime, narco-terrorism, human trafficking and more.”
As soon as HALO’s statement became public, Sen. Coburn’s office called “foul” on it. John Hart, spokesman for Sen. Coburn wrote in an email:
“HALO is responding to a report that is different from what was written. Our report faults DHS for deeming the summit an allowable expense for attendees. If HALO doesn’t want their events criticized then don’t work with DHS, which operates on taxpayer funds. Plus, holding events at what they called an “island paradise” is a red flag. The bottom line is the zombie apocalypse show was in part made possible by summit attendees whose fees were deemed an allowable expense by DHS – fees which could, of course, be reimbursed by taxpayers.“
DHS spokesman Matthew Chandler said, in a statement to the Huffington Post regarding the grants, “We have seen the value of these grants time and again. As envisioned by Congress, these grants have directly supported the development and sustainment of core state and local capabilities identified as national strengths in the 2012 National Preparedness Report — from helping to save lives and minimize damage during the tornadoes in the South and Midwest, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy to building a national network of fusion centers to strengthen critical information sharing and terrorism prevention.”
DHS has spent over $7.1 billion in the fascade of “making cities safer from terrorism” and the federal government has spent over $35 billion on DHS grant programs since 2003.
In addition Coburn’s report cited a $98,000 greatnt to look for “sunken treasure,” $90,000 for surveillance at two Major League Baseball stadiums, $41,000 for a remote-control helicopter in Seattle, and $6,200 for sno-cone machine purchases.
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