That's the hype. This is the reality.
Nearly three years after it was formed, the immense Department of Homeland Security remains hampered by severe management and financial problems that contributed to the flawed response to Hurricane Katrina, according to an independent audit released yesterday.
The report by Homeland Security Inspector General Richard L. Skinner aimed some of its most pointed criticism at one of DHS's major entities, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Katrina and a subsequent storm, Rita, increased the load on FEMA's "already overburdened resources and infrastructure," the report said.What do you expect from conservatives who believe government can't do anything right? They prove conservative-run government incompetence every day.
The audit is the latest in a series of tough assessments of the beleaguered department, which has been widely criticized since it was formed in March 2003 by combining 22 disparate agencies. In a final "report card" issued earlier this month, for example, the former members of the Sept. 11 commission gave the DHS low or failing grades in many key areas, including airline passenger screening and border control.In other words, Homeland Security is all fucked up and it started with how it was created in the first place.
In an 11-page response to the inspector general's findings, homeland security officials acknowledged problems but disputed some of the criticisms and offered explanations for others.One thing you can say about the Bush Administration: They're never slow to respond with spin.
The audit followed a report Tuesday by 13 Democratic members of the House Homeland Security Committee, who alleged that the administration has failed to fulfill promises for improvements in areas such as border security and intelligence sharing. The report also noted that the department has missed deadlines to create a comprehensive database of critical infrastructure targets that face a high risk of terrorist attack.
"The findings of the report are significant because they uncover a number of unnecessary vulnerabilities to our homeland security that the American people deserve to know about," the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.), said in a statement with the report.But they're spying on Americans, making sure vegetarians and gays aren't plotting terror. What more could you want?
But wait, the Administration has an answer:
Knocke disputed many of the Democratic criticisms, arguing that they ignore many specific changes that are underway and do not take into account significant progress in homeland security since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"Virtually each of these claims fall short of reflecting the substantial work that has been done in securing America since 9/11," Knocke said.Don't you feel safer already?