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
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,
"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."