Abolish the Homeland Security Department

George W. Bush proposed a special White House office shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Its purpose was to "coordinate the executive branch's efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States."

Soon, President Bush had bigger things in mind for the Office of Homeland Security. He recommended the Office for Cabinet status (known as DHS). This mammoth department lumped in 22 agencies from other departments. The ONLY thing they had in common was that they MAY have some role in terrorism prevention or response. The rationale was to improve coordination and efficiency. Several members of Congress feared "unnecessary bureaucracy, duplication of effort, and wasteful spending." Yet it quickly passed, anyway.

The skeptics were proven right. Moreover, the Department has evolved into something worse than they imagined.

  • More than any other department, the DHS seems singularly committed to . . .
    • Waste
    • Fraud
    • Abuse
  • And the department itself is as "un-American" as National Socialism or communism.

Waste

The DHS budget jumped from $19.5 billion in 2002 to $44.1 billion in 2010. What do we get for our money?

  • Wasteful overlap remains. The budgets of the individual agencies are as large as or larger than they were before the DHS was created.
  • The DHS budget keeps expanding. Congress doesn't want to be labeled as "against security."
  • The DHS is unfocused. It covers unwieldy functions ranging from anti-counterfeiting, border security, and computer incident response. As David Rittgers notes, "Americans are not safer because the head of DHS is simultaneously responsible for airport security and governmental efforts to counter potential flu epidemics."
  • Most foiled "terror plots" were really "sting" operations of the FBI, not the work of DHS agencies.

Fraud

The DHS serves only one purpose. It shows the American people the Feds are "doing something" about terrorism. But that is a lie . . .

  • The two agencies most responsible for failure to coordinate and "connect the dots" before 9/11 are the FBI and CIA.
  • Yet neither the CIA nor the FBI (a domestic agency) has been placed under the DHS umbrella.
  • This makes a coordinated, DHS-led antiterrorism strategy impossible. Leaving FBI and CIA out defeats the very purpose of the DHS.

As if that's not bad enough, taxpayers are defrauded too. Only 25% of DHS anti-terrorism "grants" to local governments goes to actual terrorism prevention and response. DHS is a definitional example of pork-barrel politics — a Department of Porkland Security.

Abuse

The crimes of the DHS's Transportation Security Agency (TSA) are well-known. DownsizeDC.org already has a campaign against this heinous agency.

But there are even more ominous developments which threaten your civil liberties.

For instance, the DHS is funding a "pre-crime" program called FAST. This "Minority Report" styled boondoggle conducts experiments to "predict whether a person will commit a crime."

DHS is betting on algorithms: it’s building a 'prototype screening facility' that it hopes will use factors such as ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to 'detect cues indicative of mal-intent.'

It gets worse.

The DHS provides funding for unaccountable "fusion centers." These are state, local, and regional intelligence information centers created to help share information between law enforcement agencies. There's little or no actual coordination or sharing of information between fusion centers and the FBI. Fusion centers can actually undermine FBI anti-terrorism efforts because they duplicate the work of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Fusion centers have issued politically-charged "threat reports." The DHS itself has also issued its own threat assessments. Among these various reports, we find that potential terrorists can be recruited from . . .

  • Student groups at historically black colleges
  • Politically active Islamic groups
  • Members of third parties, including Libertarian, Constitution, and Green parties
  • Pro-life AND pro-choice groups
  • Environmentalists and anti-war activists
  • Tea Party AND anti-Tea Party groups (one could rightfully expect that Occupy has recently made it into of these assessments)

That is to say, ANYONE who dissents or is dissatisfied with the Status Quo might be a terrorist. Such assessments reflect the paranoid minds of Statist bureaucrats and their political bosses, rather than reality.

Will the combination of pre-crime boondoggles and "fusion" assessments provide the basis for infiltration into the private lives and activities of ALL peaceful people?

Un-American

One last point: the word "homeland" is offensive. It evokes the "blood and soil" patriotism of European-style nationalism or totalitarianism rather than the American patriotism traditionally understood as devotion to republican liberty. One has to wonder, was the initial use of the word "homeland" intentional? . . . is it conditioning us for the collar of tyrannical rule?

Conclusion

The DHS was has no real reason for existence. Some of its agencies should go back to the Departments they belonged to before 2002. Others should be abolished together, as should the DHS itself. No Presidential candidate has proposed doing so, so you and I must build the constituency. Then our "champion" may arrive.

Use the form at right to send your elected representatives a letter about this issue. It's easy!

  • Your position will be counted by each Congressional office,
  • Will educate the Congressional staffer who reads it,
  • May be passed up the chain of command,
  • May receive a reply (many DC Downsizers get them). If you receive such a letter, please share it with us at Comments@DownsizeDC.org.

Send a letter to Congress

We provide the first few words of the letter so that Congressional offices will see the most important point right at the start, and so that no one can hijack our system for another purpose. Here's the part we provide . . .

Abolish the Department of Homeland Security.
   
Your ZIP Code is required so we can direct your letter to your representatives in Congress.