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Ridge Defends Homeland Security Department

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge defends his department against criticism from congressional Democrats and his own Inspector General that the agency hasn't done enough to secure U.S. borders.

In an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep, Ridge discusses funding for Coast Guard expansion, recent Inspector General reports critical of his department and criticism from Democrats in Congress over gaps in security along the U.S.-Mexico boarder.

"It's fascinating to me, given what we have done during less than two years with this department at our borders, to suggest that we aren't far safer than we've ever been," Ridge says. "There are gaps, admittedly, but we've moved quickly to fill them as [fast as] we possibly can and we'll continue to do so in the future."

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Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.