CBS Station WCBS in New York reported Thursday that New York politicians were less-than-happy with the Obama administration for allegedly cutting New York City's counter-terrorism budget.
"It's an absolute direct slap in the face of the people of New York," Republican Rep. Peter King said of cuts in port and transit security funding.
The state's Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand, also chimed in, complaining (in Schumer's words) that "they just don't get it and are not doing right by New York City."
The complaints were tied to recent attempted terrorist attacks in New York City, chief among them the Times Square bombing attempt: What further evidence that New York needs its anti-terror funding, the politicians suggested, does the administration need?
The White House soon issued a statement suggesting that claims that New York counter-terrorism funding had been cut are simply wrong. The city, officials said, was actually getting an increase of $47 million for port and transit security over the previous year - so long as you remember to include more than $100 million in grants from the stimulus package.
"With that money, the total for NYC will be $245 million, more than $47 million than what was allotted by the Bush Administration in the previous year," the administration said. "In fact, one out of every three recovery dollars for transit and port security went to NYC, making them the largest recipient in the country."
CBSNews.com reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for some clarity. According to spokesperson Amy Kudwa, when you include the stimulus money, New York City does indeed get more than $47 million more - "a 24% increase from the previous administration."
(Overall, Kudwa said, DHS awarded New York City $457 million in fiscal year 2009 "to prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other threats." The numbers discussed above are tied only to port and transit security.)
The back-story here is that lawmakers are traditionally briefed on allocations privately before the numbers are released publicly; it appears that King, Schumer and Gillibrand took a very different message from that briefing than the one that the White House and DHS are pushing today.
On the same day that the story broke, oddly enough, Mr. Obama travelled to Manhattan to thank the New York police department for its response to the Times Square bombing attempt. "You have saved an awful lot of lives," he told police officers.