6 reasons to close the Homeland Security office

The department seemed necessary after the Sept. 11 attacks. Now it's an inefficient use of taxpayer money.

By Kim Peterson Jul 16, 2013 1:53PM
A Department of Homeland Security booklet in Washington, DC, on July 25, 2012 (© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Is it time to shut down the Department of Homeland Security?

This arm of the federal government is bloated and ineffective, Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation, writes in a column for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Kenny makes the case that DHS should just be put out of its misery and that now is a good time to do it with Janet Napolitano's resignation from the top spot.

From his piece, here are six reasons Homeland Security should be put to bed:

1. No one's running the show. There are now 15 vacant positions at the highest levels of the department.

2. Terrorism doesn't kill many Americans. You have a higher chance of drowning than dying in a terrorist attack. You have a much higher chance of being killed by a gun.

OK, now is about the time when you might be saying, "Wait, maybe terrorism doesn't kill many Americans precisely because Homeland Security is so good." Unfortunately, that's not the case, because . . .

3. DHS hasn't stopped many large terrorist attacks. Check out the Heritage Foundation's list of 50 terrorist plots that federal authorities have stopped since Sept. 11. One guy wanted to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge with that most deadly of weapons: a blow torch. And these are just alleged plots, Kenny writes. The list of plausible plots or actual crimes is much smaller.

It's also important to note on this list how many plots were foiled by the FBI. That agency is doing amazing work on its own.

4. DHS is a cash hog. It received $20 billion in 2002, which seemed like a lot back then. Now it's getting some $60 billion a year, and spending is out of control. Consider the half a million dollars that went to North Pole, Alaska, for homeland security rescue and communications equipment, Kenny writes. The population of North Pole: 1,570.

5. It goes too far with U.S. citizens. From seizing a GI Joe doll's gun at the airport to putting in expensive full-body scanners to conducting random searches on the highways, the DHS "gets a free pass to infringe civil liberties without a shred of economic justification," Kenny writes.

6. It's bloated. The DHS also includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which doesn't have the best track record. The department also includes the U.S. Secret Service, which just spent an estimated $100 million to provide security for President Obama's trip to Africa. There are so many resources in Homeland Security that agents were out arresting drunk drivers in Tennessee last Labor Day weekend. While Tennessee authorities may have appreciated the help, is that really DHS' duty?

Finally, we leave you with this: The government can't even define "homeland security." A recent report from the Congressional Research Service and picked up by Wired noted that 10 years after Sept. 11, the government "does not have a single definition for homeland security." That may "impede the development of a coherent national security strategy," the report said.

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Jul 16, 2013 4:35PM

Shut it down, it was never needed and neither is the TSA.

Freaks with uniforms who think they're gestapo!

Jul 16, 2013 3:53PM
it is another bloated agency. the 9/11 attack was rare and will not be often repeated. we now have nsa, dia, cia, and who knows how many other agencies. we will suffer more from out of control government than from foreign terrorists.
Jul 16, 2013 4:47PM
DHS is a army set in place to control the USA citizens and it needs to be done away with. We don't need a Gestapo military in the USA
Jul 16, 2013 3:55PM
OMG i can barely believe this article even got published! It needs to be abolished yesterday. And make no mistake about it Janet Napolitano has become a cancerous figure that is why she is leaving. Next will be the announcement that Holder has "decided" to take on a job at Goldman. They should take 1/2 of the 60 billion give it as grants to the states & use the rest for deficit reduction. A good many of the supposed attacks were entrapment cases, where agents egged on & gave money to disturbed people to commit acts of violence. 

But alas it's just a dream, the DHS is not going away. It will not be cut but expanded no matter how wasteful and horrible it is. As a matter of fact it will be increased so more money can be thrown down the rat hole.
Jul 16, 2013 4:44PM
CIA, NSA, FBI and others.

We have enough agencies.  

Shut it down.
Jul 16, 2013 4:36PM
How useful have they been in securing all of our borders?  They have allowed over 40 million illegal aliens to invade our country while we are searched, our conversations and emails listened to and read in our own country.
Jul 16, 2013 3:54PM
How much money are we spending on this and what is the return on investment, we could certainly take a look at what has worked with the department and put it in the FBI group. The rest is just waste waste waste. There were 4,000 plus people killed and look at what we have lost for a never ending war of 10 + years. The civil war here cost 800,000 lives, why do we put so much revenge and cost on such a much smaller tragedy. Why didn't homeland security stop the Boston bombing?
Jul 16, 2013 4:21PM
when the country made a living plowing mules, hoeing cotton and shaking peanuts by hand, all had a job.  they didn't make a lot of money but they didn't have to pay high prices.  Gas was 29 cents per gallon.  We had one or two policemen in town, a sheriff and maybe a deputy.  The state troopers were formed in the 30's.  The country was at peace and the world looked up to us.  Now, with the "science" of all new ways to do things, only a few work, many depend on the government for food and other countries take our "aid" and hate us.  No, I can't see a need for homeland security.  They can't keep us safe anyway and if Bullymerica would leave other countries alone, they wouldn't be needed.
Jul 16, 2013 4:18PM

Will I get on a government list because of this posting?


Homeland Security is more and more something that is done to us. 


We know that we are just jumping through hoops everything we go to the airport, cross the border, or get near a federal building when we see such heighten scrutiny.

Jul 16, 2013 4:11PM
Did Congress create this big money sucking department or GW Bush? Either way it is
not cost effective for the results it is getting. Congress needs to address the problem, it
spends to much money for the ROI. Congress is worthless, they can make laws but never
go back and re-evaluate them and fix them. 
Jul 16, 2013 4:35PM
Jul 16, 2013 4:47PM
I was terrified when I first heard Bush say the name of the new dept.  I would be jubilant to see them disbanded.  We are exponentially in more danger from them than any terrorists.  If we are terrorized it will be from within as always...9/11?  Our justice dept not honoring the decision of a jury?  The mobs rioting to overturn our justice system...and cheered on by the president.  If Homeland Security was helpful they already would have arrested the entire administration at the request of the corrupt Congress.
Jul 16, 2013 4:32PM
If they do away with it, what will they do with all the ammo, armored vehicles, detention camps they have??
Jul 16, 2013 4:49PM
Sounds like something out of a totalitarian government. 
Jul 16, 2013 4:38PM

Is Homeland Security effective? I don't know - you can't believe any statistics coming from Washington


Is it cost effective? Probably not - it's a government program, and as such, filled with incompetency and corruption.


Maybe we should eliminate Homeland Security (along with some other useless federal departments) and see how many people die as a result. Then we should honestly calculate the cost effectiveness.

Jul 16, 2013 4:49PM
Here's all the Homeland Security you need. Take all the money from Homeland Security give it to all the border states so they can hire border agents and top of the line equipment, that way they can successfully protect our borders, both to the North and especially the South. Watch all the sea containers that are being imported into this country  And beef up US Customs Dept. at the airports. Last of all beef up the FBI so they can oversee possible threats inside the country. Icing on the cake would be for Americans to keep a watchful eye out and report to the authorities, anything that might be considered suspicious activity or a possibly threat to our citizens..  
Jul 16, 2013 4:33PM

The whole thing needs to go away. Stop killing people in the middle east and you will see that there will be no more attacks. Just look at the gate in the airports and you will see hundreds of people making $80K/Year doing nothing. It is a waste to infringe into the rights of Americans. One day thanks to the advancement of technology we the people should be able to vote on all the issues affecting we the people and then we should be able to get raid of state congress and federal congress. 

Jul 16, 2013 4:12PM
we already are suffering from out of control spending. cut welfare programs in half and make people go back to work.
Jul 16, 2013 6:05PM
Department of Homeland Security is the American version of the Soviet KGB.
Jul 16, 2013 5:19PM
Its no different than Hitlers SS being used to snoop on everyone outside the law
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