Friday, June 07, 2002

So, here's what I gather about the Bush administration proposal for a "Homeland security department."

The problem in the runup to September 11th, it is increasingly plain, was that the FBI and CIA had plenty of information concerning the people and the plan, but failed to make good use of it. The agencies failed to distribute critical information to each other, and headquarters failed to distribute critical information to agents that could have used it in the field.

The proposed solution is a government reorganization which doesn't touch the FBI and CIA, but combines other agencies including the Secret Service (which handles counterfeiting), the Coast Guard (which handles rescue and shore safety), Customs (which does revenue and tariff enforcement), the INS (which issues tourist visas) and so forth into a single agency which will focus on counterterrorism.

The intelligence problems are addressed by creating a center within the new agency which will review intelligence gathered by other agencies (FBI, CIA, apparently, NSA).

So --- the problem of turf wars between the FBI and CIA is dealt with by giving them both a new agency to fight with, the problem of information hoarding at headquarters is dealt with by establishing a new hoard of information at headquarters, and we also improve matters by imposing a new layer of centralized bureaucracy on agencies which (with the possible exception of INS) didn't have much to do with the problem.

But it does have strong bipartisan support in Congress.

What could possibly go wrong?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home