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Congress should summon the courage to reject Bush's homeland security bill, Libertarians say

WASHINGTON, DC -- If Congress really wants to help protect national security, it should summon the courage to say "no" to Bush's homeland security bill, Libertarians say.

"We already have several departments of homeland security, starting with the Pentagon, the FBI and the CIA," said George Getz, Libertarian Party communications director. "But instead of holding those agencies accountable for their failures, Bush prefers to create yet another bumbling bureaucracy. How will this make America safer?"

With Congress reconvened, Bush is pushing the House and Senate for a vote as early as Wednesday on his proposal for a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, which would combine 170,000 employees from 22 federal agencies and require a $37 billion budget.

"This proposal is extremely popular on Capitol Hill, because politicians reflexively enlarge government whenever a crisis occurs," Getz said. "But as September's congressional hearings into intelligence failures showed, bureaucracies posed an obstacle to preventing the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So creating another bureaucracy could make America even less secure."

Evidence at the hearings revealed that the CIA knew before the 9/11 attacks that several of the hijackers were al-Qaeda operatives, yet failed to notify the FBI when they entered the country; that FBI leadership thwarted a search of the computer of accused hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui; that intelligence agencies intercepted dozens of electronic messages from the hijackers but were unable to read them because they lacked Arabic translators; and other stunning intelligence lapses.

Bush should have responded to those revelations by demanding more accountability, not more bureaucracy, Libertarians say.

"Why haven't the directors of these agencies been fired or disciplined for the failures that contributed to the deaths of over 3,000 innocent Americans?" Getz asked. "Why isn't Bush crusading to make those agencies smaller and more accountable rather than hiding them inside another impenetrable bureaucracy? And how can the president expect intelligence agencies to succeed when there's no price to pay for failure?"

Politicians should simply admit that Bush's bill won't make America safer and would merely create a $37 billion Department of Bureaucratic Redundancy, Libertarians say.

"The American people are already spending over $350 billion on a department of homeland security called the Pentagon, and billions more on the FBI, CIA, NSA and other agencies," Getz said. "Instead of spawning another bureaucracy, politicians should apologize to the nation for this extravagantly expensive failure and explain why it won't happen again.

"With the nation at risk of another terrorist attack, it's time to put national security ahead of job security at U.S. intelligence agencies."

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