The Myth of Homeland Security

The Myth of Homeland Security

The Myth of Homeland Security

The Myth of Homeland Security


"As I write this, I'm sitting in a restaurant in a major U. S. airport, eating my breakfast with a plastic knife and fork. I worked up quite an appetite getting here two hours early and shuffling in the block-long lines until I got to the security checkpoint where I could take off my shoes, remove my belt, and put my carry-on luggage through the screening system.

"What's going on? It's homeland security. Welcome to the new age of knee-jerk security at any price. Well, I've paid, and you've paid, and we'll all keep paying-but is it going to help? Have we embarked on a massive multibillion-dollar boondoggle that's going to do nothing more than make us feel more secure? Are we paying nosebleed prices for "feel-good" measures?.

"This book was painful to write. By nature, I am a problem solver. Professionally I have made my career out of solving complex problems efficiently by trying to find the right place to push hard and make a difference. Researching the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, CIA, INS, the PATRIOT Act, and so forth, one falls into a rabbit's hole of interdependent lameness and dysfunction. I came face to face with the realization that there are gigantic bureaucracies that exist primarily for the sole purpose of prolonging their existence, that the very structure of bureaucracy rewards inefficiency and encourages territorialism and turf warfare."


A friend was listening to a baseball game on the radio a few weeks ago. As the fans
were going into the stadium, the announcers explained that “for security reasons”
they could no longer bring bottles and cans through the checkpoints. Was this an
attempt to prevent a terrorist disguised as a fan from hijacking a stadium with the
jagged end of a broken bottle, or was it an obvious and insultingly stupid attempt
to increase the revenues of in-stadium drink sellers?

Homeland security is not a game for amateurs or the impatient. This is a scenario that involves complex challenges, from finding ways to stop terrorists from hacking into secret databases, to developing new procedures for airline security, communicating with the public about threats, and tightening immigration policies.

In this chapter I take a look at how we got where we are today. Jump on board the scare and hype bandwagon and get a taste for where we might all be headed.


To understand how we got where we are today, take a step back in time. It's the early 1990s; the Cold War is ending and suddenly a lot of . . .

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