After a short but unusually severe thunderstorm that roared through the D.C. area on Friday night, the entire Washington Metropolitan Area was thrown into chaos.
Three days later, countless traffic lights are still out, hundreds of thousands of residents are without power, including myself, grocery stores and gas station are closed for lack of power, and the federal government is encouraging employees to telework.
The Washington region braced for a sweltering workweek and challenging commutes on Monday, with hundreds of traffic lights still dark, temperatures expected to climb into the 90s and nearly a half-million area households still without power.
Is this the work of a terrible terrorist attack? No, it is the complete disaster non-preparedness a decade after 9/11. Despite the fact that billions if not trillions have been spent since 9/11 on counter-terrorism and so-called "homeland security" measures, one of the major terrorist targets, the nation's capital, cannot cope with a severe thunderstorm.
I received a message from PEPCO that most D.C.-area residents may not have power until next Friday at 11:00 pm - a full week after the storm hit. With temperatures this week set for the mid to upper-90s, that is a long time for residents to be with air conditioning, or fans, or refrigerators.
Two years ago, the Washington Post's comprehensive examination of the billions of taxpayer dollars spent on "homeland security," "Top Secret America," reflected that the D.C. metropolitan area was burgeoning with infrastructure, though apparently none of it focused on keeping the D.C.-area up and running after a severe thunderstorm.
Though the storm Friday was, as all the news outlets are repeating, an "unusually severe" thunderstorm, the same thing happened in 2003 with Hurricane Isabel - the thousands of D.C.-area residents were left without power for an entire week.
(I won't even get started on the climate change deniers.)
I am not the only D.C. taxpayer wondering, where are billions in "critical infrastructure" protection and "homeland security?" They are not going toward obvious solutions like putting power lines underground.
The D.C. area's responsiveness to unexpected events has not improved, but taxpayers' pockets have been drained to create an entire secret city of "national security" in northern Virginia. Making sure citizens have food and power in an emergency should be a top priority, not a distant second to security theater like taking our shoes off before getting on an airplane.
Jesselyn Radack is National Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.