It’s only Homeland Security

IT’S ONLY HOMELAND SECURITY….The Washington Post ran a severely unflattering multipart series last week on the Department of Homeland Security, explaining in alarming detail how the agency has been beset by almost every bureaucratic problem imaginable. You name it — turf wars, incompetent management, political cronyism, budget shortfalls — the DHS has had it. About the only project the agency has successfully taken on has been the creation of a logo, and even that took a couple of tries.

With this in mind, House Democrats released a report yesterday (why this couldn’t wait until after the holidays is unclear) highlighting the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has fallen short of fulfilling 33 of the agency’s own goals. It’s not a pretty picture.

DHS pledged to create a list of chemical plants, bridges, skyscrapers and other potential terrorist targets — at this point the department is over a year late in delivering. The agency also said it would install monitors to screen for radiation material entering the country at borders, seaports, and airports; create an efficient network to share alerts with state, local and private industry officials; and install surveillance cameras at all high-risk chemical plants. None of this has happened.

And while the lack of progress is disconcerting enough, the reaction from DHS was hardly reassuring.

Responding, Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said the department is prioritizing resources and programs based on “today’s greatest threats.”

“Rather than looking backward at yesterday’s threats, we are building upon what we have already accomplished to meet evolving threats,” said Knocke.

I can appreciate the fact that these circumstances are tough to spin, but when an agency is found to have fallen short, repeatedly, of its own goals — and those goals are crucial to keeping Americans safe — it’s not exactly comforting to hear that DHS will build on what they’ve “already accomplished.”