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DNC Watch: Homeland Security Shows Off New Surveillance Equipment and Weapons at Camp Near Boston

StoryJuly 23, 2004
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With the Democratic National Convention approaching, the Department of Homeland Security gathered more than 30 law enforcement agencies in a field outside of Boston to show off the latest technology in surveillance and crowd control. We speak with Dallas Morning News reporter Pete Slover who was there. [includes rush transcript]

In recent weeks, the Bush administration has made several very public announcements on the possibility that al Qaeda or other terror groups may be plotting attacks during the Democratic and Republican conventions, which kick off this weekend in Boston as the Democrats meet to coronate John Kerry as the party’s nominee. And yesterday, in an open field outside of Boston, the Department of Homeland Security sponsored a large gathering of more than 30 state, local and federal agencies that are being deployed for the conventions. On display was the latest surveillance and crowd control technologies.

  • Pete Slover, veteran investigative reporter with the Dallas Morning News. His latest article is called "In Boston, an Anti-Terror Trade Show." He joins us on the line from Boston.

TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday in an open field outside of Boston, the Department of Homeland Security sponsored a large gathering of more than 30 state, local and federal agencies that are being deployed for the conventions. On display was the latest surveillance and crowd control technologies. We’re joined by Pete Slover, who is a veteran investigative reporter with the Dallas Morning News, latest article "In Boston, an Anti-Terror Trade Show." Welcome to Democracy Now! Very briefly, can you describe what you saw yesterday, Pete?

PETE SLOVER: Well, it was pretty impressive. They had a number of what they called "mobile command centers." They had these kind of set-up-anywhere human car washes for decontamination, but more than anything else, it was just a strange, kind of festive atmosphere with all of these grim and ominous pieces of equipment. There were guns and gas masks and bomb robots and all sorts of flashy stuff to show us what the $50 million being spent on security is buying the taxpayer.

AMY GOODMAN: X-ray machines?

PETE SLOVER: Yeah. They had a gizmo I had never seen before, which was some kind of remote x-ray machine they had set up under a tree, and a fellow about 100 yards in a tent was pecking at a laptop showing reporters how he could see what was inside the container without getting near the presumed bomb or dangerous material.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much, Pete, Slover, for joining us. Dallas Morning News. We’ll speak more to you about these investigations next week in Boston.

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