spent just a few short hours last week voting to create the biggest
new federal bureaucracy since World War II, not that the media or even
most members of Congress paid much attention to the process. Yet our
most basic freedoms as Americans privacy in our homes, persons, and
possessions; confidentiality in our financial and medical affairs; openness
in our conversations, telephone, and internet use; unfettered travel;
indeed the basic freedom not to be monitored as we go through our daily
lives have been dramatically changed.
time Congress attempted a similarly ambitious reorganization of the
government was with the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947.
Back then, congressional hearings on the matter lasted two years
before President Truman finally signed legislation. Even after this
lengthy deliberation, however, organizational problems with the new
department lasted more than 40 years! What do we expect from a huge
bureaucracy conceived virtually overnight, by a Congress that didn’t
even read the bill that creates it? Surely more deliberation was appropriate
before establishing a giant new federal agency with 170,000 employees!
Homeland Security department first was conceived, some congressional
leaders and administration officials outrageously told a credulous rank-and-file
Congress that the new department would be "budget neutral."
The agency simply would be a reorganization of existing federal employees,
we were told, and would not increase the federal budget. In fact, the
agency was touted as increasing efficiency, rather than expanding federal
power. Of course the original 32 page proposal sent over by the White
House quickly grew to 282 pages in House committees, ending up at more
than 500 pages in the final version voted on last week with a $3 billion
price tag just for starters. The sheer magnitude of the bill, and the
technical complexity of it, makes it impossible for anyone to understand
completely. Rest assured that the new department represents a huge increase
in the size and scope of the federal government that will mostly serve
to spy on the American people. Can anyone, even the most partisan Republican,
honestly say with a straight face that the Department of Homeland Security
does not expand the federal government?
of dangerous and unconstitutional powers granted to the new Homeland
Security department is lengthy. Warrantless searches, forced vaccinations
of whole communities, federal neighborhood snitch programs, federal
information databases, and a sinister new "Information Awareness
Office" at the
Pentagon that uses military intelligence to spy on domestic citizens
are just a few of the troubling aspects of the new legislation. To better
understand the potential damage to our liberties, I strongly recommend
a November 14th New York Times op-ed piece by William
Safire entitled "You
Are A Suspect." The article provides a devastating critique
of the new Homeland Security bureaucracy and a chilling warning of what
the agency could become. The article can be read on my
website, under the section entitled "Speeches."