by Carl Tate
The nation was once again roused out of its complacency on Christmas 2009 when a Nigerian man attempted to blow up an airliner on its way to Detroit. He was a known extremist whose father warned the CIA repeatedly about his son’s leanings yet intelligence/security officials didn’t know about his presence on the plane until it was more than half-way to the United States.
This episode, a grave and serious lapse in judgment on the part of our homeland security and intelligence, calls for a serious response, one nearly as our response to 9-11. Perhaps we should consider seriously streamlining the Department of Homeland Security. With its 20-plus components, 80,000 employees and 86 congressional oversight committees it isn’t possible for this behemoth to possibly do the job most Americans expect and need it to do.
And the intelligence community has not improved one iota since the CIA was humiliated a few years ago when its director was ordered to start reporting to the National Director of Intelligence. The President spoke of the dots not being connected but that will continue to occur in the present environment – when turf battles are still raging and when agencies are blamed for screw-ups that aren’t their fault or when organizations are given impossible missions.
I spent a year and half working for the Bush administration as an appointee in Homeland Security. The employees work hard, day and night, to safeguard this country. But I often got the sense we were merely fooling ourselves into believing everything was alright and that it was more luck than skill that prevented another attack on the homeland. December 25, 2009 may have proven me right.