June 06, 2002
Tom Ridge may have something
Tom Ridge may have something more productive to do if President Bush has his way with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Instead of playing around with warning colors, Ridge would have control over the Coast Guard, Secret Service, INS, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and a bunch of other agencies.
If focused properly, this new department would be a serious barrier to future terrorist attacks. How the Homeland Security Secretary (presumably Ridge) would deal with making sure intelligence was gathered, analyzed, and acted upon depends on what the legislation creating the department looks like as well as the ability of the secretary. A person in charge who could force the CIA and FBI to work together instead of worrying about turf would bring better security to the nation. But a weak secretary would be little better than the present Homeland Security Advisor--and much more expensive.
Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation
"Bush Seeks Homeland Security Dept."
[UPDATE: Ex-Navy man, Daniel Tabb has issued the first opposition I've seen to the new department. He worries that "something is bound to fall through the cracks" if those agencies were combined under department. It's not like a whole lot of stuff fell through the cracks already. Tabb then calls the new department a "national police force" and Bush's "private army." This diatribe is just a knee-jerk reaction. Bush's plan doesn't create a new police force or army. What it does is combine currently scattered agencies under one leader with a common mission: defend America against terrorists. It's going to take a lot more than a quick, paranoid screed to question the general premise.]