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20 years

June 22, 2002

By Jon Christian Ryter
Copyright 2002 - All Rights Reserved
To distribute this article, please post this web address or hyperlink

rior to the creation of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal (1934-1945) the unconstitutional fourth branch of government—the bureaucracy—did not exist except for the illegally created Federal Bureau of Investigation that was created by Woodrow Wilson’s Justice Department to ferret out nonexistent German and Bolshevik third columnists during World War I.
     The FBI—originally created as a very low profile adjunct arm of the Justice Department—was created specifically and exclusively to investigate “white collar” federal crimes (usually related to tax evasion, securities fraud or violations of antitrust laws) as well as violations of a handful of other federal trade or commerce laws in effect prior to 1920. The investigative arm of the Justice Department was called the Bureau of Investigation. The handful of “agents” employed by the Justice Department were largely accountants whose sole function was to audit the books of those suspected of tax fraud or pyramid schemes. (BI agents were unarmed since the Constitution made no provisions for the Executive Branch to create its own police force.) Already in existence was the US Marshal’s Service which was created in 1787. US Marshals were appointed by the federal courts to enforce federal law. Their activity was controlled by the Judicial Branch not the Executive Branch.
     A low-ranking Justice Department statistician named John Edgar Hoover convinced his supervisors in the Justice Department that the Bureau of Investigation could be used to roundup draft dodgers (called “slackers”), German spies (which Hoover insisted were in every neighborhood of America) and communist instigators who had infiltrated the labor movement and were causing civil unrest by calling for general strikes as America prepared for war.
     The Wilson Administration fanned the fears of the American people by insisting there was an active German third column operating in the United States that would, at any moment, engage in sabotage by blowing up industrial plants that were supplying war materials to our allies in Europe. Advocates of an Executive Branch federal police force used the “war scare” to legitimatize the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By the end of the World War, the Federal Bureau of Investigation existed. Nobody questioned its legitimacy because it was created during the “needs” of war—when the American people were most susceptible to an inherent fear of being killed by foreign terrorists—and most open to surrendering a limited amount of liberty for a renewed sense of security.
     It was during World War I that the federal government of the United States learned it could successfully abrogate the Constitutional rights of the American people with impunity—providing they kept the people frightened enough. The media of the United States, which was now controlled by America’s wealthiest families, fueled the fire. Hoover, given expanded authority by the Justice Department after the passage of the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917 (and later, the Sedition Act of May 15, 1918), concocted a scheme that would greatly expand the intrusive reach of the Bureau of Investigation by convincing Assistant Attorney General John L. O’Brien to “deputize” a mail order private detective agency, the American Protective League, as an adjunct investigative arm of the Justice Department. APL members were “mail order detectives” without any training whatsoever. Officious-looking badges were issued to the APL “detectives” by the Justice Department and the “free labor” was encouraged to infringe on the civil rights of their neighbors in order to ferret out the “spies” and “third columnists” that Hoover knew had infiltrated America. (The American Protective League used their special relationship with the Justice Department to recruit new “detectives” who paid 75¢ for the Justice Department-issued APL badge. By 1918, the American Protective League boasted that it had 100,000 members—all of whom were eager to infringe on someone else’s Constitutional rights in order to create a little excitement in their own boring lives.)
     During the Slacker Raids of 1917 in which APL “detectives” were promised a reward of $50 for any draft dodger they “arrested,” overzealous, untrained members of Hoover’s civilian goon squad took over 50,000 innocent American citizens into custody. Those arrested were sometimes beaten into submission. All were jailed until they—or their families—could produce sufficient proof that they were not slackers. In all, less than 50 genuine draft dodgers were apprehended in the dragnet even though almost 5,000 draft age “suspects” were inducted based on their arrests during the roundup (A Congressional investigation proved that the inductions were done to make it appear to the media that the dragnet had netted 5,000 slackers.) The federal government paid less than $2,500 in bounty money to the APL detectives. Concealed within the Slacker Raids was a Justice Department raid on the International Workers of the World (the Wobblies, a communist-infiltrated labor union) [the IWW]. The Justice Department had been given instructions by the Executive Branch to break up the union which was causing America’s industrialists too many problems. Under the guise of the “Red Scare,” Hoover’s Bureau of Investigation raided the IWW in September, 1917, crushing the union. Those arrested were denied the right to an attorney. Hoover confided to one of his deputies that it was stupid to tell people they had a right to have an attorney present while they were being questioned since, if they got a lawyer, they wouldn’t confess.
     The outrage should have brought about the forced resignation of O’Brian, Attorney General Thomas W. Gregory and J. Edgar Hoover. However, the mainstream media, which had been controlled by the nation’s wealthiest families since 1908, argued that the existing “national emergency” demanded extreme measures and gave the government a “pass.” The outcry that should have occurred along main street America as a result of the Slacker Raids did not happen because those protesting would very likely have been arrested for sedition due to the “national crisis” that existed at the time.
     Broad-reaching federal excesses of power were temporarily curbed at the end of the Great War as the Roaring 20s kicked into high gear. Prohibition, the social experiment that would usher in the era of the gangsters, flappers and bathtub gin also brought a new national emergency—crime. Bootleggers, gang wars, and a national epidemic of bank robberies in the Midwest led to brand new federal abuses of power—this time by the Justice Department and J. Edgar Hoover’s brand new Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hoover, who was a stalwart of Constitutional rights in public, privately usurped them whenever he could in order to expedite justice. And, because rampant crime in America was pandemic during the Depression years, the end justified whatever means were needed to get mobsters like Al Capone and Frank Netti, and career bank robbers like Ma Barker, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Alvin Karpis and Machine Gun Kelly off the streets and into coffins.
     Hoover preferred ‘tommy gun” justice to the courts since the verdicts, and the sentence, was always swift—and final. There were no plea bargains, and no mob lawyers waited with bail money in hand to spring the mobster or bank robber after they were booked. During the Depression years the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms—originally a tax assessment division of the Treasury—added substantially to the slowly growing bureaucracy. During the same period, the newly-organized FBI grew from a force of about 100 accountants to over a thousand law enforcement officers as it became a wholly-independent entity within the Justice Department, doubling in size every two or three years as more crimes were federalized under the commerce clause of the Constitution.
     The father of the American bureaucracy was Franklin D. Roosevelt. The bureaucracy was born out of wedlock from a triangular illicit affair between the Wall Street investment bankers, the international banking houses that shared ownership of the Federal Reserve, and a very power-hungry Franklin D. Roosevelt manufactured a “national emergency” from the Stock Market collapse in October, 1929. The New York Federal Reserve used an engineered disaster to create a major currency crisis during the national election campaign season in 1932 because the Federal Reserve wanted to remove the American currency of the gold standard in order to create a truly elastic monetary system which they could completely control. Since the bankers knew that it is always the men who control the supply of currency, not the politicians who are pawns to it, that actually control the government, the invisible money barons were delighted when Roosevelt decided to expand the bureaucracy in order to better control the Congress since they knew that as FDR enlarged the size of government he would have to borrow the money for his grandiose societal experiment from them.
     Roosevelt, like Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (who wants to increase the size of the bureaucracy by 10% by creating another completely unnecessary department that will further abrogate the liberties of Americans under the guise of protecting them), believed government was the ultimate protector of mankind. By 1935, every New Deal piece of legislation that had heretofore been enacted into law came under the scrutiny of the Hughes Supreme Court and—until Roosevelt threatened to force the Justices into involuntary retirement—almost all of them were found to be unconstitutional because the laws, almost without exception, violated the Constitutional precepts of separation of power.
     Roosevelt was assuming for himself—and the Executive Branch departments he had illegally created by Executive Order—the power to legislate, the power to adjudicate guilt, the power to arrest those who violated his regulations—and FDR gave himself the power to assess fines or incarcerate the guilty. Roosevelt bequeathed himself the powers of a dictator. The Executive Branch of government constitutionally possesses none of these prerogatives. His Executive Orders and the New Deal laws notwithstanding, the President did not legally possess those powers in 1935, and he does not possess them today. Every New Deal law signed into law between March, 1933 and February, 1935 was ruled unconstitutional by the Hughes Court. Then fearing that Roosevelt had amassed enough power to force them to retire prematurely, the high court reversed itself and using the “commerce clause” of Article I, Section 8, decided that many of the laws they had found unconstitutional just might be constitutional after all.
     They weren’t—and the high court knew it.
     Nine old Tories wanted job security.
     And, they were willing to sacrifice the Constitution to keep their jobs.
     During the New Deal years, Congress legislated the slight-of-hand that illegally abrogated the superior status of the States over the federal government; and the fourth branch of government—the unelected bureaucracy—exploded like a well-encrypted computer virus that is allowed to run rampant inside the hard-drive of your computer, feeding on its components until the hard drive is consumed and the computer no longer functions properly.
     During the Roosevelt decade, the federal government multiplied itself ten times over. The District of Columbia was no longer able to contain it, and the bureaucracy blossomed out into Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria, Virginia and into Silver Spring, Chevy Chase and Rockville, Maryland. And with the multiplicity of people came a myriad of new federal rules and regulations that restricted not only the civil rights of the common people of America, but placed a restrictive lid on small corporations down to the mom and pop family businesses that employ half of the working class people in the United States.
     Big Brother had arrived, but due to one national emergency after another during the Cold War, few America’s noticed that the federal government had usurped the supra-authority of the States. Today, the United States Supreme Court upholds the notion that the federal government, due of its size, is superior to the States. The Founding Fathers, however, did not create that authoritarian hierarchy. The States were created as the superior authority. The central government was created subservient to the States.
     In 1935, the illegally-created unelected bureaucracy assumed the superior role of governance by simply assuming the authority to legislate and adjudicate the laws passed by Congress. The Roosevelt Administration used the Depression to promulgate the gold crisis of 1933 into a decade-long national emergency that did not really exist (that allowed him to enact unconstitutional laws that were deemed “necessary” due entirely to the nonexistent“national emergency.”
     Every president since Roosevelt kept alive FDR’s “national emergency,” adding new “emergencies” in order to keep the extraordinary powers granted to Presidents by the Constitution in times of national crisis. During the Administration of Lyndon B. Johnson, Congress used Article I, Section 8 to create a whole new generation of laws that blatantly assumed the superiority of the federal government over the States. These new laws granted the bureaucracy with the right to add new rules (legislate) whenever the need arose, determine guilt (adjudication) and, assess fines, including the seizure of property without due process (a violation of the 4th Amendment). To make certain that the federal courts, which ruled the New Deal unconstitutional, did not get a chance to dull the sharp teeth the bureaucracy gave itself, the bureaucracy was unconstitutionally allowed to establish administrative courts (whose judiciary was comprised of active members of that Executive branch department, to hear and rule on its own cases). Clearly, no citizen appearing before one of these administrative courts could never get a fair and impartial hearing. Victims of these kangaroo courts would be buried under so much expensive red tape and administrative procedures they had to go through before being allowed to appeal to the traditional federal court, that most would be bankrupt long before their day in a regular court was allowed.

Feeding the federal government
     Our federal government, like a leech, feeds—and grows—on adversity and tragedy. With every national emergency—from Vietnam and the Civil Rights Crisis of the mid-1960s to the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City to the 9-11 tragedy. The government used each tragedy to frighten the American people to expand its authority over the people of the United States by legislating new laws that violate the Constitution of the United States. The government argues that they have a compelling interest, under the 9th Amendment, to protect the American people. Thus, minor infringements of the Bill of Rights are in the best interests of the United States.
     From within each of these tragedies there exists strange anomalies that have given rise to the “conspiracy theories” of the far right which have been poophahed not only by the left but by the “conservative” Bush Administration as well (which has used the 9-11 Tragedy to almost completely abrogate the Bill of Rights—as the Clinton Administration tried to do when it sponsored the Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Act within days of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995).
     Several unexplained anomalies color the 9-11 tragedy and raise valid questions that have yet to be answered by the federal government. First, while we have an audio record of Solicitor General Ted Olson’s wife—conservative writer Barbara Olson—talking as Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. Yet, a few hours later when photographers took both stills and videos of the Arlington and Fairfax firefighters battling that blaze, there was no airplane fuselage protruding from the Pentagon. One hundred eighty-nine Americans died at the Pentagon—most of them were on Flight 77; yet Flight 77 appears to have vanished after the initial impact—giving rise to speculation that the Pentagon blast was caused by well-placed C-4 charges rather than an airline crash which was actually witnessed by hundreds of commuters on US Rte 50 who saw Flight 77 nosedive into the Pentagon.
     At the same time the passengers of Flight 93 (that had been hijacked and was on route back to Washington where it was to be crashed into either the White House or Congress) heroically decided that since they were going to die anyway, they had nothing to lose in attempting to recapture the plane. The plane went down in a field in western Pennsylvania near Shanksville. The American people were led to believe that heroic Americans fought with the hijackers over control of the plane, and the hijackers managed to crash it.
     The field of debris from the crash—extending eight miles behind the crash site—suggests that a completely different scenario may have played out in the skies over Pennsylvania as the eyes of every American in the nation was transfixed on their television sets as the first and then second towers of the World Trade Center came crashing to the Earth.
     In the minutes following the World Trade Center catastrophe it became clear to the public—and the government—that the crash into World Trade Center and the Pentagon was not an accident, President George W. Bush did two things. First, he grounded all flights—public and private, commercial and noncommercial—everywhere in the United States. This action aborted 16 other hijackings in the United States (confirmed by ground maintenance crews at one of the two airlines used in the initial attacks, who found box cutters in the “pouches” on the backs of the seats where the emergency instructions are found). Second, Bush scrambled jet fighters over all of America’s metropolitan areas. Air traffic controllers watched United Airlines Flight 93 turn around and head back to the Washington-Baltimore area as it dropped in altitude. There was no doubt, as it dropped off the air traffic controllers’ radar scopes and the radar screen at Andrews Air Force Base, that the plane had been hijacked. Because of the national emergency that now existed, the USAF and Air National Guard pilots were ordered to “shoot-down” any rogue flights. Based on cell phone conversations between a handful of the 49 passengers and crew members on Flight 93 and their families, it was clear that the 757 was headed back to the Washington Metro area where its likely target was going to be the White House or perhaps Congress.
     Had the passengers successfully wrested control of Flight 93 from the hijackers, or had their battle with the terrorists resulted in the plane crashing, the debris field would be spread out in front of, rather than behind, the plane since that debris would have been propelled in the same direction the plane was flying as it collided with the earth. Furthermore, the debris pattern would have been confined to a much smaller area. The debris pattern was a line eight miles long—but it stretched out behind the path of Flight 93. What that suggests is that the initial point of impact occurred in the air not on the ground. That clearly suggests something—like a missile—struck the plane while it was still in flight. It happened approximately eight or nine miles west of the impact zone at Shanksville. Whether or not Flight 93 was struck by a missile could easily be determined by examining the torn hull of the wreckage for traces of explosives, and by examining ruptures in the plane’s steel skin to determine if the damage to the hull was consistent with tears due to the body of the plane skidding along the ground, or if it is more consistent with an explosion caused by a conventional warhead on a missile.
     We will likely never know for certain since it is not in the “best interests” of the United States government to acknowledge that it shot down an American plane on a domestic flight which contained American passengers—if, in fact, it did. And, the debris field suggests they did. Clearly, if that is what happened, it was a tough call for the Administration to make since Flights 11, 175 and 77 took a terrible toll in lives. According to the latest tally, 2,834 Americans (after deleting all duplicated names) lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
     As far as “history” is concerned, Tom Burnett, Todd Beamers, and the other passengers on Flight 93 who decided to try to take back the plane, are truly heroes regardless of what brought Flight 93 to the ground since they made the decision to drive the plane into the ground before allowing Muslim terrorists to use their plane—and the passengers of Flight 93—as a guided missile to kill other Americans. And, that’s how it should be.

Using 9-11 to abrogate liberty in the name of providing more security
     Within four weeks of the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, the Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Act of 1995 was making its way through the committees of Congress. S.735 cleared the Senate with a 91-8 vote. H.R. 666 was churning through the House Judiciary Committee with the same speed. Swift passage, without any debate, was virtually assured. Suddenly the bill was derailed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Competitive Enterprises Institute, the Free Congress Foundation, Gun Owners of America, the National Black Police Association and the National Rifle Association.
     It turns out in their “zeal” to provide security for the American people, the United States Senate decided it was necessary to abrogate freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to petition, and under extraneous circumstances, freedom of the press under the tenets of the 1st Amendment. Congress also decided that no American needed to possess firearms so the Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Act outlawed the private ownership of guns in the United States—even though this right is guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment. Ignoring the 3rd Amendment, the Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Act provides for the military to assist local police officials. Then, to expedite arrests, the Anti-Terrorist Act conveniently sidestepped the privacy issue by allowing any form of search to be taken place without a warrant. Also violating the 4th Amendment, the Anti-Terrorist Act repealed habeas corpus, and also eliminated due process under the 5th Amendment. Adding insult to injury, the Act also denied the accused the right to face his or her accusers. These abrogations will allow the government to hold anyone indefinitely—much the way they are now holding Jose Padilla, the American Al Qaeda terrorist who is currently being held as an enemy military combatant.
     When the ACLU and their conservative allies revealed the abrogations of the Bill of Rights contained within the Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Act of 1995 there was an angry outcry heard all around the United States. The House version of the bill, H.R. 666 could not get out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. The House introduced four other watered-down versions of the same bill over the next six months with each ensuing bill a little more benign than the last: H.R. 896, 1635, 1710—and the bill that finally passed on March 7, 1996 and was signed into law—H.R. 2703.
     When Mohammed Atta and his flying circus of American-trained suicide pilots crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon exploded into flames, Congressmen and Senators scrambled to dust off the original versions of H.R. 666 and S.735, slapped a new name on it—The USA Patriot Act—and ran it up the flag pole to see how many conservatives would salute.
Enough apparently did.
     Almost before anyone (who could actually remember the words) could recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the flag, and without anyone realizing that Bush’s USA Patriot Act was the same unconstitutional legislation offered by Bill Clinton as the Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Act of 1995, the USA Patriot Act made its way through both Houses of Congress and was signed into law by George W. Bush will much patriotic fanfare. And Conservative America, which was ready to take up arms to prevent Bill Clinton from stealing their Constitutional rights, handed them to Bush on a silver platter.
     One would almost imagine that the passage of the USA Patriot Act was a victory for liberty when in fact a faint, muffled drum beat accompanied by an eerie strain of “Taps” could be heard in the distance as the Bill of Rights faded ever so slowly into political oblivion.

Adding 170 thousand new bureaucrats
     Facing the United States Congress today is a piece of legislation submitted by President George W. Bush calling for the creation of a new cabinet position—Secretary of Homeland Security. It is unlikely that position will be filled by Homeland Security Czar Tom Ridge who is personally convinced the Democratically controlled Senate would never approve him for the job.
     Nevertheless, Ridge presented the draft submitted by Bush, calling for a new bureaucracy that will add 170 thousand jobs to the federal payroll over the next five years—and consume at least $37 billion per year. Many of these “new” employees will be transferred from other departments—such as the Federal Emergency Management Administration [FEMA], the Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS], U.S. Border Patrol—and the United States Coast Guard. Even before the new department is approved by Congress, a battle is already raging between US Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and Ridge over control of the US Coast Guard, which is currently under the control of the Transportation Secretary—and Mineta has made it very clear that he will not surrender the Coast Guard without a fight.
     Under the proposed departmental structure, the Department of Homeland Security will control border and transportation security (an additional infringement of Mineta’s turf) and the Coast Guard and Border Patrols to monitor border activity to prevent illegals from entering the country (inside of merely patrolling the borders for smugglers and drug runners). The new department is also charged with the responsibility of protecting the infrastructure from sabotage by terrorists. Clearly, since this requires law enforcement or at least investigative teams, the need suggests that the Homeland Director—of the Secretary of Homeland Defense—would need to have senior level involvement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation [CIA], the National Security Agency [NSA], and the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] and very likely, the intelligence arm of the Department of Defense [DoD] and the Secret Service. To secure international cooperation, the Secretary of Homeland Security would also need to invade the turf owned by the State Department. Then, because the new Secretary would have to be concerned about bioterrorism, he would have to have access to the vast bureaucracy known as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Disease Control [CDC] and HRSHA which controls the vaccination programs in the United States.
     Clearly, what is envisioned by the Bush Administration is the creation of a supra-Secretary and a supra-department that must have the authority to transition all other cabinet departments. Bluntly speaking, it is an impossible task. The bureaucracy mindset that permeates the Washington culture will not allow that type of cooperation—even during a national crisis. One needs look no farther than the lack of information sharing that took place between the FBI, the NSA (which intercepts 2 million transmissions an hour via the Echelon satellite spy system), and the CIA, in the weeks and months before 9-11. Among the traffic intercepted by the NSA ion September 10 was a message from Muslim extremists noting that September 11 was “zero day.” A new message received by NSA states that terrorists will hit “...the city of gambling on freedom day...” suggesting that terrorists will hit either Atlantic City or Las Vegas on July 4.) (Due to the traffic the NSA was receiving, extremely overworked intelligence officers did not get to the message until September 12.) Furthermore, the sparks that flew between Mineta and Ridge when the Transportation Secretary learned that the proposed Department of Homeland Security would rob the Department of Transportation of its role as the head of the US Coast Guard. In the bureaucracy, the internal VIP pecking order is determined by who controls what—and how many bodies each Secretary “bosses”—and how important those “bodies” are in the general scheme of government.
     The immensity of what needs to be done to provide tighter security for the United States tells you that it cannot be achieved by either passing new laws that further infringe upon the liberty of Americans nor can it be accomplished by creating a new cabinet level position—particularly when that cabinet position will create a massive amount of private infighting between the various secretariats over not only turf, but the pecking order within that turf—and who has the most direct access to the President.

Congressional Fears
     Congress—particularly the Democratic Congress—would prefer not to give Bush what he wants, but they don’t know how to deny him and get re-elected. With an 80% overall popularity rating, the Democrats—even the socialist liberals—have been forced to jump on Bush’s bandwagon and pretend they are as patriotic as the rest of us. While Congress—on both sides of the aisle—have no objection to expanding the bureaucracy, there is solid Democratic opposition to the “accountability” portion of the Bush plan which must exist if the plan is to have any chance of accomplishing anything other than promulgating the bureaucracy.
     The Democrats—in particular Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle—don’t like the language in the bill since it will make government employees totally responsible for their actions (or lack of action). Those who don’t do their jobs, like the rest of us in the private sector, can and will be fired. Daschle argued that the plan, as proffered, could “...circumvent civil service law, weaken job security...threaten benefits and jeopardize workplace rights.” Daschle also argued that the new regulations would muzzle whistle blowers
     Daschle doesn’t seem to realize that the biggest problem that exists within the bureaucracy is that they can’t be fired for not working. If the Executive Branch cannot fire an employee for malfeasance, what incentive does that worker have for “busting” his or her butt? None. That is precisely why the private sector functions more cost effectively than the public sector. Those working in the private sector are fired when they fail to perform.
Democrats also argue that the plan submitted by the Bush Administration exempts the media or political advocacy groups from gaining information about terrorist groups or suspected terrorist organizations under the Freedom of Information Act, thereby weakening freedom of the press. It’s rather ironic that the Democrats would throw out that argument since the Democratically-controlled Senate passed the USA Patriot Act while the House was still debating it—and one of the key tenets of that legislation was the abridgment of the 1st Amendment in times of crisis or declared states of emergency.
     But even with the nitpicking on semantics, there is broad bipartisan support for the Bush proposal. Jumping on the GOP’s red, white and blue soapbox, former Gore running mate Senator Joe Lieberman [D-CT] declared that “...[s]lowly and surely won’t do it in this case. We must proceed swiftly but surely.” Senator Carl Levin [D-MI] argued in a Senate hearing on Thursday, June 20 that the new department might find that it is receiving “sanitized” reports that have been thoroughly “scrubbed” by the CIA, NSA or FBI—something that happens today as the spook agencies protect not only their turf but their covert operatives who could be exposed and killed if a name was carelessly dropped in a public hearing, or if a Congressman or Senator leaked information to “friends” in the media.
     Because, security aside, the “game” of politics is just that—a game in which the contest is held every two, four or six years when the contestants (the Congressmen or women, Senators or Presidents) are forced to run for reelection. And Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents “buy” media loyalty by feeding reporters with leads or “scoops” in exchange for quid pro quos during election years. Sometimes those “leaks” provide reporters with classified information that should never see the light of day. It is that fear that makes the spooks reluctant to feed too much information to politicians—you simply can’t trust them.

Making Homeland Security Work
     There are two problems with President Bush’s proposal. First, because the job description of this cabinet level job requires a supra-Secretary, it won’t happen. A cabinet level job will be created, and someone—not Tom Ridge—will be confirmed to head it, it will be equal, but not superior, to the other cabinet positions. That being the case, it will quickly become another executive branch “black hole.” It will suck in tons of data that will inundate the analysts and investigators assigned to assimilate it, and as a result, little of value will come out. This was Senator Fred Thompson’s [R-TN] fear: the lack of a sufficient “firewall” between the massive amounts of intelligence collected and the ability of the new department to assimilate it. Further will be the propensity of related departments feeding Homeland Security too much innocuous information that will merely muddy the water for two reasons: First, they will inundate Homeland Security with truckloads of meaningless data on the fear that something within that truckload might be key, and nobody wants to be caught holding data that would have circumvented another September 11. Second, since every cabinet department fights for funding, they want to make sure they get their fair share of the budget allocations. For that reason, there will be a propensity to bury the Homeland Security task forces under tons of worthless data, making them no more effective—or valuable—than any other cabinet level department.
     The simple reality is, the President does not need to create a new cabinet level position since that job description requires more authority than any current cabinet Secretary—including both Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense—currently possesses.
     The Vice President of the United States has always been the most worthless job in government. While he is theoretically the second most powerful man in the world because he is a “heartbeat” away from the presidency, in reality the Speaker of the House is the second most powerful man in America, and the Senate Majority leader is the third. In reality, the Vice President is the head of the United States Senate. He has more power than any cabinet member and, is you might say, the only supra-official in the United States government other than the President since he, like the President, is elected by all of the people—and all of the States.
     Technically, all cabinet officials theoretically report to the Vice President as they report to the President. As the elected “partner” of the President the Vice President is the logical choice to head the Homeland Security. Rather than attempting to rearrange the government and create a supra-Secretary who will generate more secret envy and/or animosity than cooperation from his or her “peers” in the Administration, the Vice President should be designated as the “head” of Homeland Security with legislation providing that specific authority to him. That legislation should authorize the creation of an Assistant Secretary for each of the existing cabinet positions, and an Assistant Director of the FBI, CIA, NSA, FEMA, ATF, INS, and a Deputy Chief of Staff for each military branch—including the Coast Guard—who are designated as “Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Homeland Security,” or “Assistant FBI Director for Homeland Security,” or in the military, “Deputy Chief of Staff for Homeland Security.”
     While these Assistant Directors, or Assistant Secretaries would have access to all significant data streams funneling into their respective departments, each of those individuals would report not to the Secretary or Director, but to the Vice President, and would be part of the permanent Homeland Security Task Force. Further, as a team, these sub-directors and sub-secretaries would report directly to the Vice President. Also under the Vice President would be a data analysis team headed by a Homeland Security Director (most likely Tom Ridge). Ridge’s staff should consist of criminologists, computer specialists, military strategists, and criminal investigators, linguists, and experts in terrorism. Their “job,” would be to sort through and analyze the tons of data provided by each of the Homeland Security heads for the various cabinet departments.
     Unlike the Bush plan which entails creating a new cabinet position that will require one or two years before it is up and running effectively, by assigning the task of Homeland Security to the Vice President, and adding a key Homeland Security specialist to each cabinet department immediately, the task force can be up-and-running within 90 days. As Senator Lieberman said, whatever we do, we need to do it “...swiftly but surely.”




Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
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