Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More DHS Incompetence

I have written before about the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). What was in essence a good idea- to combine intelligence and security into one accountable department, has ballooned into yet another bloated government bureaucracy. The supposedly professional screeners of TSA miss over 60 percent of smuggled weapons, the former INS seems to care more about helping illegal aliens than legal residents and petitioners, and of course there is absolutely no accountability in any of these bureaucracies.

Now comes news that the DHS not only cannot seem to explain how someone gets on their terrorist watch list, they also cannot seem to utilize any common sense regarding people whose names are the same as suspected terrorists. According to USA Today, more than 15000 people have appealed to DHS to clear their names. Naturally enough, DHS can't even point them to online forms to help them clear their names. USA Today reports,
The complaints have created such a backlog that members of Congress are calling for a speedier appeal system that would help innocent people clear their names so they won't fall under future suspicion. Among those who have been flagged at checkpoints: toddlers and senior citizens with the same names as suspected terrorists on the watch list.

"To leave individuals in this purgatory is un-American," says Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., who says she'll introduce legislation to try to streamline the process.

The Homeland Security Department says it gets about 2,000 requests a month from people who want to have their names cleared. That number is so high that the department has been unable to meet its goal of resolving cases in 30 days, says Christopher White, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, which handles the appeals. He says the TSA takes about 44 days to process a complaint.

This is ridiculous. There is absolutely no excuse for the DHS to take over a month and a half to clear someone's name. This is yet another proof that government is inherently inefficient and that we should never trust government to do what we can ourselves probably do better. National security is one of the things that government is supposed to do well at, and though the Armed Forces are good examples of government's special talents, DHS is an example of all that is bad about government. As an example of just how blind and arrogant government bureaucracy can be, one of the inconvenienced is a 6-year old toddler, John Anderson. As USA Today reports,
Christine Anderson says she has tried repeatedly to get her child's name cleared, but she can't find the right forms on the TSA website and none have come in the mail after officials promised to send them. "No one can give any answers to why my son is on the list or really how to get him off," she says.

So not only can DHS not explain how a six-year old got onto the no-fly list in the first place, they cannot seem to offer any help to getting the poor child off said list! DHS, like most government bureaucracy, is unaccountable and needs to be brought up sharply. There is no question that we must do a better job of protecting our borders. But the DHS is an monstrosity and needs to have some accountability brought into its operations. One would wish that the Press would spend some time on forcing accountability from the massive government programs they try so hard to foist on us, ass opposed to exposing national secrets that even they admit are not illegal.

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