Instead Of Nominating New DHS Boss, Obama Should Look At Disbanding DHS
from the a-mistake-whose-time-has-come dept
Of course, many have questioned his qualifications to lead an organization like DHS, noting that it's a pretty big leap from his last job:
“I think it’s a stretch because you go from administering a relatively small and homogenous staff… to administering a huge and very diverse staff, with things like law enforcement responsibility, immigration and border control responsibility,” says one former Obama Justice department official who worked with Johnson. “It’s just a very diverse set of issues and set of people to manage, and he has no experience with managing any of them.”But, really, there's a bigger issue here: why do we still have a Department of Homeland Security in the first place? It seems like the whole thing is a massive bureaucratic disaster. Over the years, we've covered how the crowning jewel of DHS, its so-called "fusion centers" that tried to bring together various groups for anti-terror purposes -- the very reason that DHS was put together in the first place -- were a colossal failure. They were incredibly wasteful of taxpayer funds, created no useful intelligence at all in the fight on terror, and were regularly cited for violating civil liberties. More recently, we've noted how Customs and Border Patrol has basically become a rogue agency that can do whatever it wants with what appears to be no oversight or consequences. We've similarly seen how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (another sub-agency within DHS) was involved in illegal censorship and questionable seizures of blogs, just because the RIAA complained.
And there's plenty more. Apparently, DHS only just figured out how to actually track its finances. And this is after it spent heavily on massive tech projects that didn't work.
Maurer says that the department has only just begun to keep adequate financial books. Several big DHS projects have been expensive failures. Billions of dollars were spent on technology to secure the southern border and screen cargo containers for radioactive materials. In both cases, the tech just didn’t work.DHS was created in the hysteria following 9/11. It officially was created in 2003, and has now been in existence for a decade. In that time, it appears to have failed at a variety of key things, and it's entirely unclear if it's created any benefit at all. Matt Yglesias pointed out last week that rather than nominating a new boss, we should be admitting that creating DHS was a mistake. It seems like that would be a much more productive step at this point.