"But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." - John Adams

Monday, June 14, 2010

Homeland Security Unprepared

It seems that it's a problem, all throughout the administration, that no one is prepared for a crisis when it happens. The Gulf of Mexico is still being saturated with oil and the administration is still trying to figure out what to do, the economy is still languishing and the administration is trying to figure out how to print enough money for something to turn around, and now we find that Justice and Homeland Security are ill prepared for a major attack:

"The most important overlooked story of the past few weeks was overlooked because it was not surprising. Also because no one really wants to notice it. ... I speak of the report from the inspector general of the Justice Department, issued in late May, saying the department is not prepared to ensure public safety in the days or weeks after a terrorist attack in which nuclear, biological or chemical weapons are used. The Department of Homeland Security is designated as first federal responder, in a way, in the event of a WMD attack, but every agency in government has a formal, assigned role, and the crucial job of Justice is to manage and coordinate law enforcement and step in if state and local authorities are overwhelmed. So how would Justice do, almost nine years after the attacks of 9/11? Poorly. 'The Department is not prepared to fulfill its role ... to ensure public safety and security in the event of a WMD incident,' says the 61-page report. Justice has yet to assign an entity or individual with clear responsibility for oversight or management of WMD response; it has not catalogued its resources in terms of either personnel or equipment; it does not have written plans or checklists in case of a WMD attack. A deputy assistant attorney general for policy and planning is quoted as saying 'it is not clear' who in the department is responsible for handling WMD response. Workers interviewed said the department's operational response program 'lacks leadership and oversight.' An unidentified Justice Department official was quoted: 'We are totally unprepared.' He added. 'Right now, being totally effective would never happen. Everybody would be winging it.' The inspector general's staff interviewed 36 senior officials involved in the department's emergency response planning and summarized the finding: 'It was clear that no person or entity is managing the overall Department's response activities.' You could almost see them scratching their heads and saying, 'No one's in charge here.' ... We may be witnessing again a failure of imagination, the famous phrase used after 9/11 to capture why the U.S. government was caught so flatfooted and was so stunned that such a terrible thing could occur. They neglected to think of the worst thing that could happen, and so of course they did not plan for it. If agencies within the government now are having a second failure of imagination, it is not forgivable. We're not being asked to imagine a place we've never been, after all, we're only being asked to imagine where we've been, and how it could be worse, and plan for it." --columnist Peggy Noonan

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