Homeland Security – Are we Safer?

I read an interesting op/ed piece by Anne Applebaum titled Homeland Security Hasn’t Made us Safer. In her article she makes the point that since Homeland Security was established following 9/11, it has operated without much fiscal scrutiny, and it continues to cost more and more each year, “presumably because Americans think they are being protected from terrorism by all that spending.”

That is so typical. The American response to so many problems is to throw money at them. The more money being spent, the better the program. Right?

Not necessarily.

The Department of Homeland Security has sent millions of dollars to remote areas of the country that would probably never be on any terrorist’s radar. Small towns with populations less than 3,000 have received hundreds of thousands of dollars for “emergency preparedness.” Even my small town volunteer fire department has benefited, and while it is nice that they have some updated equipment, I highly doubt there will ever be a terrorist attack here.

Until I read this article I did not know that  “Every U.S. Sstate, no matter how landlocked or underpopulated, receives by law, a fixed percentage of homeland security spending every year. ” So I guess if it is up for grabs, we ought to grab. Right?

The article concludes with “The events of 9/11 did not prove that the United States needs to spend more on local police forces and fire brigades; they proved that Americans need to learn how to make better use of the information they have and apply it with speed and efficiency.”

Applebaum urges that more money and more attention needs to be focused on identifying terrorists and sharing information on a global level. Nationally, security could focus on cities and buildings that are actually at risk.

What a novel concept.

Millions of dollars are spent annually for airport screenings, yet there is no proof that screeners have actually stopped a would-be bomber. And when airport safety procedures are tested, the screeners have missed fake bombs that the TSA has planted to test their skills.

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