Video: 3 reasons to get rid of DHS

posted at 2:16 pm on November 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

On Sunday, we will reach an anniversary that few will recall, but fortunately Reason and Reason TV recall it for us.  Don’t worry about sending flowers or candy to the DHS for their 10th anniversary; we’ve been sending them billions in cash for years, and as Nick Gillespie reminds us, we haven’t even gotten thank-you cards in return.  Well, we did get groped at an airport occasionally, but it’s hardly the same thing.

Seriously, what have we accomplished by folding a number of agencies into a massive bureaucracy?  Did “homeland” security improve over what might have been accomplished with a smaller, lighter, more nimble organization?  Or did we just create an excuse to build another massively expensive, oft-delayed government building in Washington DC?

1. It’s unnecessary. In the months immediately following September 11 attacks in 2001, President George W.Bush initially resisted calls to create a new high-level bureaucracy that would be laid on top of current activities. He was right to recognize that coordinating existing agencies would have been smarter and better. Unfortunately, he caved in to pressure to create a massive new department.

2. It’s ineffective. To read the titles of Government Accountability Office(GAO) analyses of Homeland Security is to be reminded constantly that DHS is never quite on top of its game.Recent reports include “DHS Requires More Disciplined Investment Management to Help Meet Mission Needs,” “DHS Needs Better Project Information and Coordination Among Four Overlapping Grant Programs,” and “Agriculture Inspection Program Has Made Some Improvements, But Management Challenges Persist.”

3. It’s expensive. Last year, Homeland Security spent a whopping $60 billion, a figure that will doubtlessly increase in coming years. The construction of its new headquarters – the single-largest project ever undertaken by The General Services Administration – will cost at least $4 billion and is already years behind on schedule since breaking ground in 2009.

Since it’s the holiday season, here’s a bonus reason to get rid of the Department of Homeland Security: It also runs the Transportation Security Administration, whose nasty reputation for manhandling innocent travelers is only slightly more annoying than its massive and undeserved growth in personnel and cost over the past decade.

Perhaps it’s time to rethink the “bigger is better” philosophy of organization — and budgeting — in Washington DC.

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Privatize air travel security.

Who has more incentive than the airlines to keep their jets safe?

itsnotaboutme on November 23, 2012 at 2:20 PM

4. That nasty old cow running the show needs to be working as a greeter at WalMart.

BigWyo on November 23, 2012 at 2:21 PM

George W.Bush initially resisted calls to create a new high-level bureaucracy that would be laid on top of current activities. He was right to recognize that coordinating existing agencies would have been smarter and better. Unfortunately, he caved in to pressure to create a massive new department.

That was W’s one big failing; he tended to cave to pressure from the other side. Same with TSA, he was going to have it be a privately run operation with strong requirements. He did the same with his education bill early on; one little whiff of unhappiness about education vouchers and he abandoned them. Did the same with failing to pursue the mismanagement in Fannie and Freddie as well; he pushed for an accounting and caved when Barney Frank and Chris CountryWide Dodd both screamed that no such accounting was necessary, everything was just peachy keen and Bush was a racist for implying otherwise.

AZfederalist on November 23, 2012 at 2:30 PM

That nasty old cow running the show needs to be working as a greeter at WalMart.

BigWyo on November 23, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Walmart, unlike the Government relies upon people freely coming into their stores to transact business. Having her as a greeter would shut that store down within a week.

AZfederalist on November 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

The construction of its new headquarters – the single-largest project ever undertaken by The General Services Administration – will cost at least $4 billion and is already years behind on schedule since breaking ground in 2009.

Evidently they’ve forgotten about all the EMPTY buildings they current own in DC.

GarandFan on November 23, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Privatize air travel security.

Who has more incentive than the airlines to keep their jets safe?

itsnotaboutme on November 23, 2012 at 2:20 PM

That is how it is done at Prague Ruzyně International Airport (now known as Vaclav Havel Airport).

Each airline does their own security right at the gate before you board your plane. They also do this in Slovakia and at Schiphol in Amsterdam.

It’s fast and incredibly efficient.

JPeterman on November 23, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Funny, I don’t recall conservatives being in an uproar about the creation of DHS, the PATRIOT Act, and the TSA a decade ago. Must be misremembering things.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Both Janet Napolitano of the DHS and John Pistole of the TSA are closet misanthropes who engage in demeaning and degrading ‘physical and psychological’ torture of citizens vicariously through a phalanx of ill-educated and low-IQ thugs reminiscent of Hitler’s 1930′s-era brown shirts ostensibly in the name of national security. History repeats itself…again.

LizardLips on November 23, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Funny, I don’t recall conservatives being in an uproar about the creation of DHS, the PATRIOT Act, and the TSA a decade ago. Must be misremembering things.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

That is because you are ignorant and stupid.

It’s a damn shame too.

tom daschle concerned on November 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

That nasty old cow running the show

I might suggest big sis is more line of a water buffalo!
L

letget on November 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

That is because you are ignorant and stupid.

It’s a damn shame too.

tom daschle concerned on November 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Oh, okay.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM

The TSA voted for Obama.

Curtiss on November 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

“The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.”

~ Ronald Reagan

Joe Mama on November 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

DHS is becoming more and more like the left’s secret police.

It’s name may go down in history along with the Stasi, KGB and the SS.

darwin on November 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Funny, I don’t recall conservatives being in an uproar about the creation of DHS, the PATRIOT Act, and the TSA a decade ago. Must be misremembering things.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Leftists can’t recall anything. For example, they draw a complete blank of how they treated Bush for eight years.

darwin on November 23, 2012 at 2:59 PM

There was a guy on the Andy Dean show a couple nights ago
talking about a book he wrote. He talked about the fact that most if not all airlines now outsource their mechanical checks and repairs for all their planes, and there are not only numerous opportunities for screw-ups and shoddy repairs, but also for intentional sabotage. There’s no vetting of the shops who get the work, while the TSA gropes grandmothers and little kids.

PatriotGal2257 on November 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Funny, I don’t recall conservatives being in an uproar about the creation of DHS, the PATRIOT Act, and the TSA a decade ago. Must be misremembering things.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Yes, you are misremembering things. We definitely were not happy about the way the TSA was implemented and thought W caved way to quickly in allowing it to become another government bureaucracy.

Elements of the Patriot act were necessary to fight against non-state, state-sponsored terrorists because the laws as written gave too much ability for states like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, et al. to sponsor terrorists but when something happened, be able to step back with a surprised look, saying, “Who? Me?” In addition, being able to get at terrorist cell conversations was necessary to prevent future attacks. DHS? Lots of us saw that as a new goat rope waiting to happen.

AZfederalist on November 23, 2012 at 3:02 PM

AZfederalist on November 23, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Let’s fix that:

Funny, I don’t recall conservatives being in an uproar about the creation of DHS, the PATRIOT Act, and the TSA a decade ago. Must be misremembering things.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Yes, you are misremembering things. We definitely were not happy about the way the TSA was implemented and thought W caved way to quickly in allowing it to become another government bureaucracy.

Elements of the Patriot act were necessary to fight against non-state, state-sponsored terrorists because the laws as written gave too much ability for states like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, et al. to sponsor terrorists but when something happened, be able to step back with a surprised look, saying, “Who? Me?” In addition, being able to get at terrorist cell conversations was necessary to prevent future attacks. DHS? Lots of us saw that as a new goat rope waiting to happen.

Not sure how that last post happened

AZfederalist on November 23, 2012 at 3:04 PM

It being Thanksgiving it would be appropriate to thank the founders of DHS who are always left out of the equation for some reason of fear/respect. Thank Islam and its Muslims. Cut the throat of your own turkey this year!

BL@KBIRD on November 23, 2012 at 3:06 PM

If it employes government workers, I want it eliminated. I want ALL government workers fired.

Warner Todd Huston on November 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Leftists can’t recall anything. For example, they draw a complete blank of how they treated Bush for eight years.

darwin on November 23, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Not a leftist. Just not a neocon. I think we got royally boned by Bush & co. Bush ran as a fiscal con and governed as a neocon, then tried to shift to the religious right and be a social con for ’04… but overall, he basically governed as a neocon (aka pro-israel liberal) and shot every single one of us in the foot.

Look at the exit polls. 50% still blame bush for this economy.

MAYBE if we hadn’t elected a guy who would allow DHS, no child left behind, medicare part d, overseas adventurism etc etc, we would have a better case to make when we say we believe in fiscal sanity

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Elements of the Patriot act were necessary to fight against non-state, state-sponsored terrorists because the laws as written gave too much ability for states like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, et al. to sponsor terrorists but when something happened, be able to step back with a surprised look, saying, “Who? Me?” In addition, being able to get at terrorist cell conversations was necessary to prevent future attacks. DHS? Lots of us saw that as a new goat rope waiting to happen.

Not sure how that last post happened

AZfederalist on November 23, 2012 at 3:04 PM

PATRIOT Act was us voting away our fourth and fifth amendment rights. Nothing more, nothing less.

Wonder how the FBI could read Patreus’s private gmail draft emails without a warrant? :)

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 3:10 PM

MAYBE if we hadn’t elected a guy who would allow DHS, no child left behind, medicare part d, overseas adventurism etc etc, we would have a better case to make when we say we believe in fiscal sanity

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

I don’t disagree.

darwin on November 23, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Funny, I don’t recall conservatives being in an uproar about the creation of DHS, the PATRIOT Act, and the TSA a decade ago. Must be misremembering things.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

you mean when the feds dusted off Bidens OKC bombing plan and shoved it onto us with a cool PATRIOT name?
yeah we have always loved it, never have any of us ever spoken out against it.
never.

idiot.

dmacleo on November 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

But, but, if you oppose Homeland Security and the Patriot Act you hate the joooos or something.

letoile du nord on November 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

you mean when the feds dusted off Bidens OKC bombing plan and shoved it onto us with a cool PATRIOT name?
yeah we have always loved it, never have any of us ever spoken out against it.
never.

idiot.

dmacleo on November 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Yeah, the Republicans passed it over Democrat objections (yes, I know the Dems were just being contrarians, and had no real argument) but conservatives, especially the neo-cons on fox, spent years justifying why it was necessary.

But okay, both Dems and republicans were against the PATRIOT Act. But it was still passed and signed into law. Fine. I’m the idiot.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Just like Cheney saying defecits don’t matter. It didn’t happen. I’m an idiot. That never has / will continue to bite us in the ass.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM

How about these three reasons:

1. JNap
2. JNap
3. JNap

= total incompetence

stukinIL4now on November 23, 2012 at 3:26 PM

And let’s not forget that the former Chief of Staff to the director of ICE has a lawsuit filed against her citing sexually offensive behavior that contributed to a discriminatory work environment for male employees.

RMCS_USN on November 23, 2012 at 3:35 PM

4. That nasty old cow running the show needs to be working as a greeter at WalMart.

BigWyo on November 23, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Being from Wyoming you know darn well she is a “bull.”
As far a greeter, she would scare customers off. Parents would punish bad kids by taking them to see her.

arnold ziffel on November 23, 2012 at 3:40 PM

And God help us….. TSA is unionizing….

ultracon on November 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM

And God help us….. TSA is unionizing….

ultracon on November 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM

of COURSE TSA is unionizing. Who didn’t see that coming for the last 10 years?

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Not a leftist. Just not a neocon.

Look at the exit polls. 50% still blame bush for this economy.

MAYBE if we hadn’t elected a guy who would allow DHS, no child left behind, medicare part d, overseas adventurism etc etc, we would have a better case to make when we say we believe in fiscal sanity

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Nope. Not buyin’ it. Sounds exactly like a leftist to me.

Your denial is denied. Fail.

Solaratov on November 23, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Nope. Not buyin’ it. Sounds exactly like a leftist to me.

Your denial is denied. Fail.

Solaratov on November 23, 2012 at 4:12 PM

I believe it is a disciple of the OBGYN Dr. Porkbucks from the Republic of Tejas.

tom daschle concerned on November 23, 2012 at 4:17 PM

We could get rid of 80 percent of government agencies/departments and clear the national debt in a few years.

Mr. Arrogant on November 23, 2012 at 4:27 PM

That nasty old cow running the show needs to be working as a greeter at WalMart.

BigWyo on November 23, 2012 at 2:21 PM
Walmart, unlike the Government relies upon people freely coming into their stores to transact business. Having her as a greeter would shut that store down within a week.

AZfederalist on November 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

…and besides!…what have the greeter’s at WalMart done to BigWyo …I’ve always found them to be nice and friendly…that’s not a vile comparison…but a bile one!

KOOLAID2 on November 23, 2012 at 4:28 PM

We could afford DHS if we got rid of other programs/things that cost more money. Here is a shot list: EPA, Dept of Energy, Dept of Education, NPR, PBS, Green energy subsidies (Solyndra), social secruity, Medicare, Medicaid, planned parenthood, Obamacare….

nazo311 on November 23, 2012 at 4:37 PM

We could afford DHS if we got rid of other programs/things that cost more money. Here is a shot list: EPA, Dept of Energy, Dept of Education, NPR, PBS, Green energy subsidies (Solyndra), social secruity, Medicare, Medicaid, planned parenthood, Obamacare….

nazo311 on November 23, 2012 at 4:37 PM

The DHS is just as bad as all those, possibly worse than some.

So we should eliminate the DHS and everything you listed.

letoile du nord on November 23, 2012 at 4:49 PM

“Those who sacrifice security for liberty deserve neither.”

Ben Franklin

letoile du nord on November 23, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Why did they call it the Department of Homeland Security?

Because “Geheime Staatspolizei” had too much of a negative connotation.

If, God willing, we are able, and allowed to vote, the minute we can elect a real Conservative to the White House, the first order of business on Day One should be to abolish the DHS, the ODNI, and Obamacare…and then get an Attorney General who is actually conversant in the law and the Constitution, who will start issuing indictments across the board.

But…it all depends on that pesky little “if” thing…once the fascists have taken power, it’ll take a huge upheaval to get them to relinquish that power…and allowing only legal voters to vote, well, that has never been ne of their priorities.

God save the Republic…we might not have one for long, come January.

coldwarrior on November 23, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Perhaps it’s time to rethink the “bigger is better” philosophy of organization — and budgeting — in Washington DC.

I remember when we built a “bigger is better” intelligence service a few years ago and how effusive Ed was about that wonderful idea. Many of us didn’t care for it.

burt on November 23, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Remember how the Romney supporters flipped off this foolish idea while I, the AWE inspiring Danno Man. seemed to be the ONLY COMMENTER who knew which candidate for POTUS was running on shutting DHS down [along with 0bamacare]?

Oh well. The Romney bots got exactly what I predicted. Four more years of 0bama. I wonder if they will learn their lesson this time around…

DannoJyd on November 23, 2012 at 6:41 PM

DannoJyd on November 23, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Who did you vote for?
Just curious.

Mimzey on November 23, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Been against this monstrosity from the moment I heard it was being formed up. DNI, too.

Same reason: larger bureaucracy brings less efficiency, expands overhead, makes everything slower and more costly, and reduces accountability by increasing the number of people to point fingers at.

ajacksonian on November 23, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Did “homeland” security improve over what might have been accomplished with a smaller, lighter, more nimble organization? Or did we just create an excuse to build another massively expensive, oft-delayed government building in Washington DC?

No. And, yes.

So we should eliminate the DHS and everything you listed.

letoile du nord on November 23, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Amen.

Not a leftist. Just not a neocon.

Timin203 on November 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Can we please stop using “neocon” to mean “warmonger”? It really puts you in a bad light when you do that. It’s something the left did (the anti-semitic left, no less) to try and make the anti-communists into “bad people”. When you perpetuate it, you aid their cause.

GWB on November 23, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Been against this monstrosity from the moment I heard it was being formed up.

ajacksonian on November 23, 2012 at 7:50 PM

The question so many asked was “Isn’t that what the Department of Defense is for?”

DNI, too.

ajacksonian on November 23, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Same here: the CIA is the Central Intelligence Agency, after all. Isn’t that it’s purpose?

GWB on November 23, 2012 at 8:41 PM

4. That nasty old cow running the show needs to be working as a greeter at WalMart.

BigWyo on November 23, 2012 at 2:21 PM

She already is. See the “if you see something, say something” campaign. They were playing her mug on some video screens near check out stands.

oryguncon on November 23, 2012 at 10:47 PM

“That was W’s one big failing; he tended to cave to pressure from the other side. Same with TSA, he was going to have it be a privately run operation with strong requirements. He did the same with his education bill early on; one little whiff of unhappiness about education vouchers and he abandoned them. Did the same with failing to pursue the mismanagement in Fannie and Freddie as well; he pushed for an accounting and caved when Barney Frank and Chris CountryWide Dodd both screamed that no such accounting was necessary, everything was just peachy keen and Bush was a racist for implying otherwise.

AZfederalist on November 23, 2012 at 2:30 PM

To AZ’s point

To comment on GWB’s failings for a second. Yes, he did cave. The reason? He was convinced he needed to fight the wars. I heard he had promised his inner circle that a 9/11 would NEVER occur on his watch again.

Democrats cut a deal with him. They get their spending and he gets his wars. They were never patriotic about this. It was all about expanding the government for them. TSA is a perfect example.

As for his other weaknesses, GWB believed- wrongly- that he could harness big government as part of his “Compassionate conservative” approach. Thinking you could hand feed the animal and only risk your forearm vs your whole arm is a silly goal indeed, as GWB learned.

As for things like the Patriot Act and other internal security issues, I can say from experience (I was a detective back then) that we were sorely behind the eight-ball when dealing with terrorist tracking. We still are, but not as bad.

However, I was in contact with someone who was inside the WH during that time. No one liked it because many had a sense of the threat it could become to our civil liberties. In fact, I heard one comment common to the discussion was like this; “The PA may be good for us, because we know the limits, but another future administration could use it to abuse citizens.”

(A good example is GWB policy of snagging terrorists off the battlefield and interrogating them- a necessary evil- and Obama’s personal review of “kill lists” where the admin targets people without trial.)

They were right to be afraid. Some wanted to sunset it in ten years. But you know and I know no politician or bureaucrat is going to give up the power over their citizens like the PA gives them without a fight. It is against their nature.

Good luck in backing down from where we are headed. Technology is out-stripping the court’s understanding of it. Judges can’t comprehend the impact of the new surveillance like the NSA supercomputer going online in Utah.

archer52 on November 24, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Eternal life baby, eternal life, government bureaucracy.

HerneTheHunter on November 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

DHS was stupid. I remember the argument so clearly at the time. There wasn’t even support for it, or for TSA, in the country. It was all top down. The pressure came from the Democrat party, not the people. But Bush caved. Typical. He wanted to reach across the aisle.

Yeah, one of the big problems that led to 9/11 was the disconnect between the agencies and bureaucracy. So we dealt with the bureaucracy by creating another bureaucracy.

JellyToast on November 24, 2012 at 1:05 PM