Goodbye, Janet

by | Jul 18, 2013

photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

As Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano departs her post for the fairer climes of the University of California, she leaves behind a government monstrosity that not only is not in better shape than when she arrived, but is teetering on the verge of total collapse. The woman whose husky voice reminded us — in the Metro, in Walmart, everywhere — to say something if we see something, has left behind a workplace where the employees have the lowest morale anywhere in government — despite pay boosts and numerous colorful special recognition awards programs.

In all fairness, it would be wrong to blame only Ms. Napolitano for the fact that most DHS employees would rather get a root canal than go to work. Imagine the humiliation of working for the Transportation Security Administration, for example, where days are spent either irradiating innocent Americans or groping them. Snatching an iPad from someone’s bag may give a temporary boost, but in all it is miserable work.

The creation of the Department of Homeland Security in the post-9/11 hysteria was one of the most ill-advised moves in a Congress desperately eager to “do something” to prevent the next attack. Of course the one thing that would have greatly diminished the risk of a future attack — radically changing our foreign policy to stop antagonizing our enemies and potential enemies — was the one solution that was totally and completely off the table.

The DHS was the product of typical bureaucratic thinking: a centralized structure is always more efficient than many decentralized entities. Bigger is better. Therefore Congress decided to cobble together 22 separate agencies with very different functions into one super-agency whose size alone could certainly not fail to impress our adversaries. Of course it was all a mistake, as some tried desperately to warn at the time. A decade or so later there is no way to un-crack the eggs that went into the bureaucratic omelet that is called DHS. It is politically too risky for the average Member of Congress to call for an end to the agency that is supposed to keep us safe.

Budgets remain enormous despite claims of draconian cuts, and the menu of “homeland security” services seems to contain quite a bit of filler.

Goodbye, Ms. Napolitano. Enjoy Berkeley. And if you see something…


  • Daniel McAdams

    Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and co-Producer/co-Host, Ron Paul Liberty Report. Daniel served as the foreign affairs, civil liberties, and defense/intel policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, MD (R-Texas) from 2001 until Dr. Paul’s retirement at the end of 2012. From 1993-1999 he worked as a journalist based in Budapest, Hungary, and traveled through the former communist bloc as a human rights monitor and election observer.

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