Homeland Security is an Inefficient Use of Taxpayer Money and Infringes on American Rights and Civil Liberties
July 16, 2013
Kim Peterson - Is it time to shut down the Department of Homeland Security?
This arm of the federal government is bloated and ineffective, Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation, writes in a column for Bloomberg Businessweek.
Kenny makes the case that DHS should just be put out of its misery and that now is a good time to do it with Janet Napolitano's resignation from the top spot.
From his piece, here are six reasons Homeland Security should be put to bed:
1. No one's running the show. There are now 15 vacant positions at the highest levels of the department.
2. Terrorism doesn't kill many Americans. You have a higher chance of drowning than dying in a terrorist attack. You have a much higher chance of being killed by a gun.
OK, now is about the time when you might be saying, "Wait, maybe terrorism doesn't kill many Americans precisely because Homeland Security is so good." Unfortunately, that's not the case, because . . .
3. DHS hasn't stopped many large terrorist attacks. Check out the Heritage Foundation's list of 50 terrorist plots that federal authorities have stopped since Sept. 11. One guy wanted to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge with that most deadly of weapons: a blow torch. And these are just alleged plots, Kenny writes. The list of plausible plots or actual crimes is much smaller.
It's also important to note on this list how many plots were foiled by the FBI. That agency is doing amazing work on its own.
4. DHS is a cash hog. It received $20 billion in 2002, which seemed like a lot back then. Now it's getting some $60 billion a year, and spending is out of control. Consider the half a million dollars that went to North Pole, Alaska, for homeland security rescue and communications equipment, Kenny writes. The population of North Pole: 1,570.
5. It goes too far with U.S. citizens. From seizing a GI Joe doll's gun at the airport to putting in expensive full-body scanners to conducting random searches on the highways, the DHS "gets a free pass to infringe civil liberties without a shred of economic justification," Kenny writes.
6. It's bloated. The DHS also includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which doesn't have the best track record. The department also includes the U.S. Secret Service, which just spent an estimated $100 million to provide security for President Obama's trip to Africa. There are so many resources in Homeland Security that agents were out arresting drunk drivers in Tennessee last Labor Day weekend. While Tennessee authorities may have appreciated the help, is that really DHS' duty?
Finally, we leave you with this: The government can't even define "homeland security." A recent report from the Congressional Research Service and picked up by Wired noted that 10 years after Sept. 11, the government "does not have a single definition for homeland security." That may "impede the development of a coherent national security strategy," the report said.