Tonight, President Bush will go on national TV and call for creating a Department of Homeland Security.
Good, bad, indifferent? Let’s look it over.
Admit first that Tom Ridge has a thankless job. He has responsibility, but no real power. That’s why he’s such a fine whipping boy. Well, that and his hair.
We don’t have have the details of Bush’s plan, but word is that it involves some major reorganization. Fox News reports that the Treasury Department will lose ownership of the Secret Service to the new DoHS. Could the FBI even lose its own counter-intelligence division? We’ll find out tonight. But we do know already that many, many burreaucrat’s toes will be stepped on, and fiefdoms will be threatened. Expect a big, ugly fight.
But is it worth the effort?
It certainly can’t hurt. Having one person with real budgetary authority, and real control over foreign and domestic intelligence analysis simply can’t be a bad thing. Furthermore, with cabinet rank comes Congressional oversite — and extra impetus to crack the whip on agents, analysts, and the burreaucracy, itself.
Sure, there’s the danger that the new department will mean nothing more than new red tape. And with the broader powers given for domestic spying, there’s a real threat of DoHS becoming as sinister as Hoover’s FBI. There’s also the fact that Tom Ridge will probably get the job, even though he’s already a laughingstock. We need someone with moral, as well as budgetary, authority.
Plus, DoHS sounds way too much like “D’oh!” for anyone’s comfort.