After 9/11, the question had been a simple one. How in the world did they get past all of the intelligence community? Did the manifold layers of intelligence agencies that now litter our country and national budget miss these men? We were like children waking from a fairy-tale to live in a nightmare. After some investigating, the government explained how this happened.
Supposedly, there was a complete uncovering of the plot and its parts. We knew of almost all of the people and where they were. We knew that there was a planned attack. We knew about the pilot lessons. The problem was that no one organization had enough of the information to see the whole picture. The American people demanded that something be done about this problem. We could not let this happen again.
Hence, the birth of The Department of Homeland Security. This shiny new department was going to have undeniable power over every investigation. DHS would have access to all Intel on terrorist suspects worldwide. They would serve as a connecting link between the different agencies. They would not be simply another agency among many others; they were to bring all agencies into a harmonious working relationship.
Now, as wonderful as that sounds, we do not seem to have any proof that it actually works. There are millions of dollars being spent by the DHS, but those who have exercised oversight are now saying that we may not be any safer.
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) gave his final report on the agency, and it called for action to right the ship. He said that Congress needed to act to bring the agency back to its mission. Coburn said, “Congress needs to review the Department’s mission and programs and refocus DHS on national priorities where DHS has a lead responsibility.”
There are a lot of troubling figures, especially for any who are concerned both for national security and who wants the government to watch the bottom line financially. We have spent $50 Billion over 11 years on counterterrorism programs, but no one can point to any time when this has made the country any safer.
Then there is the issue of our southern border. In this area of the country, the entire Mexican Army could sneak across and the DHS would not know until they reached Wyoming. I have to confess that this area sometimes has me thinking like a conspiracy nut. If the terrorists have not used this as a means to enter and attack, are they after us or is this some Big Brother ruse, i.e.,1984.
The worst part though is the cyber security. DHS has spent $700 Million a year to protect our country from cyber attacks. They have proven that though they throw all this money at the problem they cannot even protect themselves much less private people or major corporations. Sony is just one such example.
All this bothers me, but the thing that really gets me upset is the storm disaster relief. The DHS has spent $170 Billion on disaster relief since 2002. Why is the agency, which is responsible for protecting our citizens from terrorism, spending its budget on storm relief? This is the problem with bureaucracy. It is like kudzu. It cannot stop growing. Maybe refocusing the DHS will work. After all, anything is possible. But if history holds true, it will grow into an oversized, over-diversified, and ineffective drain on our economy.