Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Intel Community Turmoil

Little attention has been paid to the impact of the turmoil in the intelligence community (typified by the Goss resignation last week, of course) on the already enfeebled DHS "Information Analysis" intelligence unit. When the CIA was primus inter pares within the community, DHS was relatively out of the loop on key homeland security related information, according to no less an authority than the Silberman-Robb commission. Now that the CIA has itself been downgraded into near irrelevance by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and power grabs by DOD, DHS' role is even further diminished. As things stand now, the next time there are indications of a terrorist attack on the homeland, Homeland Security will probably be the last "intelligence agency" to know about it, even though it is at least nominally in charge of preventing, responding to, and helping the nation to recover from such an attack.

Will Wonders Never Cease?

CNN and UPI have just reported that an alert and noisy Florida garbage collector happened upon a Secret Service log showing details of the President's security (schedule, route, location within the motorcade, etc.) during the course of Mr. Bush's visit yesterday. Fortunately, the finder was a well meaning citizen, and not a terrorist bent on striking the homeland and killing our leaders. But, what if the finder had been a terrorist? This is but the latest example of the laxity with which the Department of Homeland Security (yes, the Secret Service is part of the Department of Homeland Security now) treats highly sensitive information that would be immensely valuable to terrorists. If the department can't get easy things right like holding on to highly sensitive information, how can it be trusted with the far more difficult task of securing our borders, airports, seaports, mass transit systems, and critical infrastructure assets? As I've said many times before, it takes more to secure the homeland than a department called "Homeland Security."