View Full Version : U.S. Department of Homeland Security to Open for Business Today (01/24/2003)

Jan 24, 2003, 10:13 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/01/24/attack.homeland.reut/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/01/24/attack.homeland.reut/index.html)

Ridge to take Cabinet post

Friday, January 24, 2003 Posted: 8:13 AM EST (1313 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Tom Ridge was scheduled to be sworn in Friday as the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the new Cabinet department created in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks.

As Homeland Security chief, Ridge will preside over the biggest government restructuring in 50 years, merging all or parts of 22 existing federal agencies into a mammoth operation charged with reducing America's vulnerability to terrorism.

Ridge, 57, said at his Senate confirmation hearing that the United States was "undoubtedly safer" than it was before the September 11 attacks.

But he also acknowledged an enormous challenge ahead, saying far more needed to be done to guard against "a hate-filled, remorseless enemy that takes many forms and has many places to hide."

The former Pennsylvania governor, former congressman and decorated Vietnam combat veteran, has served the past 15 months as an adviser to President Bush as head of the White House Office of Homeland Security.

A chief aim of the new department Ridge is launching will be to avoid breakdowns in communication between the FBI, CIA and other federal agencies exposed by the 2001 hijacked airliner attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington. About 3,000 people were killed in those attacks and a crash in a field in Pennsylvania.

The CIA and the FBI will not be part of the new department. The CIA will continue to gather overseas intelligence and the FBI will still be the lead law enforcement agency to prevent an attack, while Ridge's department will be in charge of analyzing homeland security intelligence and coordinating protection efforts.

Only 100 to 200 people were expected to be on staff as Ridge assumes the helm of the new department. Various agencies, including the Secret Service, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and the Transportation Security Agency, are not due to merge into Homeland Security until March.

The department, with 170,000 employees and an annual budget of $40 billion, was to be fully operational by September 30.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat who first proposed a Department of Homeland Security a month after the September 11 attacks, last week criticized White House efforts so far to secure the country.

"It is unacceptable that we have not come further faster," said Lieberman, who was expected to make the matter an issue in his bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

"Almost every independent assessment I have come across says that in almost every way, America is as vulnerable today as we were on September 11," Lieberman said at Ridge's confirmation hearing.

Ridge rejected such assessments, noting improvements in such areas as port, border and airport security.

"But do we have to do more?" he asked. "You bet we do."

So, will this new department really help to better protect the United States from terror attacks? Tell what you think.

Jan 24, 2003, 10:17 AM
It will certainly spend more money and possibly reduce civil liberties, but as for preventing terrorist attacks, I think a new foriegn policy would be cheaper, more efective, and have a less chiling effect on american rights.

Jan 24, 2003, 11:32 AM
Thanks to terrorism, GW has more power than any other president in history. Thanks to the lack of definition of 'terrorism', the government can pretty much do anything they please in the name of national security and the prevention of 'terrorism'---they didn't take very long to link drug users to terrorists. Freedom isn't free... Yes, we need a better foreign policy, yes we need to greatly reduce our dependence on oil....that's not going to happen in this administration.

You know, playing 'peek-a-boo' with a child can be considered a form of terrorism....

Farting in a crowded elevator is bio-terrorism....

Using MACE on an attacker is chemical warfare....

Jan 24, 2003, 11:46 AM
America is as vulnerable today at we were on September 11

We will ALWAYS be vulnerable. All it takes in one person to sneak into the US and drop some nasty chemical into a cow pasture/resevoir/lake that would do a lot of damage. You just can't PROTECT or PREVENT that kind of thing. Some nasty airborn disease could be released from far away and by some miracle of events and wind currents, make it all the way across the world. You can only prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If you want total security, dig a deep bunker and live in a plastic bubble! Many people don't realize that they risk their lives everyday by getting in their cars and driving....the chances of dying in a car accident are much greater than dying by the hands of terrorists.

The Bush administration has made terrorism successful in the fact that it is striking fear in the public. That's the premise of terrorism: create terror, fear, unrest. It does much more prolonged damage than an all out war.

Rant over...

Jan 24, 2003, 07:08 PM
Originally posted by Thanatoast
It will certainly spend more money and possibly reduce civil liberties, but as for preventing terrorist attacks, I think a new foriegn policy would be cheaper, more efective, and have a less chiling effect on american rights.

Bravo, and no kidding.:mad: