July 31, 2002

STILL MORE EVIDENCE that the bureaucracy isn’t up to its purported Homeland Security role. There’s not much to argue with here:

We talk about government “intelligence failure” as if it’s something to do with misreading satellite intercepts between Peshawar and Aden. But the “intelligence failure” of September 11th is more basic than that, a failure of intelligence in the moderately-competent grade-school sense. And nothing we’ve learned in the last 10 months — from Mohammed Atta’s posthumous flight-school visa to last week’s belated termination of the Saudi fast-track — suggests that Federal officialdom has changed or is even willing to change.

There is, sadly, no reason to think that the “Homeland Security” bill will do anything to make this better, and considerable reason to think it will make it worse.

UPDATE: Will Allen writes:

The fact that not a single bureaucrat has lost their job in the past 11 months is proof of the ineffectiveness of the govenment response, and the fact that the Democrats are having to be dragged kicking screaming to a bill that might result in a few people getting fired is yet more evidence that a large percentage of people just don’t get it. I guess the body count isn’t high enough yet. Compare the current actions by our political leadership to what George Marshall did in the early stages of WWII, in which he sacked scores of incompetents. This is another example of how Bush went wrong by not seeking a formal declaration of war. Such a declaration puts everyone on notice that business will not be done as usual, the normal rules of government employment are suspended, and that incompetence will no longer be tolerated. If this is a war, then the political leadership of the nation should damn well behave like it is one.

Yes, and as the interview with Jon David below demonstrates, the FBI still hasn’t gotten the point, either.