Browsing: Homeland Security

The Washington Post's 'Top Secret America'

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The Washington Post this morning has a must-read story illustrating how massive, unwieldy and redundant the federal government’s post-9/11 security mission has become — and questioning whether it’s actually made us safer. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dana Priest and writer William Arkin’s three-part, two year investigation found that “after nine years of unprecedented spending and growth”: Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence at about 10,000 locations nationwide. About 854,000 people hold top secret security clearances. In the Washington area, 33 complexes for top secret intelligence work — the equivalent of three Pentagons…

DHS wants "disposable" direct hire authority

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The Office of Personnel Management tends to look askance at agencies’ requests for direct hire authority to fill critical needs. OPM asks for reams of information and has some quite specific guidelines for agencies that want to sidestep the normal federal hiring process. The Homeland Security Department, looking to hire federal employees to fill jobs currently done by contractors as part of the government “insourcing” initiative, is trying to tweak the system a bit in order to fill critical needs, DHS chief human capital officer Jeffrey Neal said yesterday at a congressional hearing. DHS is asking OPM for something it…

Kerik gets 4 years in prison; lied during DHS vetting

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Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was sentenced today to 48 months in prison. Kerik pleaded guilty to eight felonies, including lying to the White House as he was being considered to be secretary of the Homeland Security Department. According to the Associated Press: Kerik was Giuliani’s police commissioner when New York City was attacked, and he was praised worldwide for his leadership. At Giuliani’s urging, he was nominated to the top Homeland Security post in 2004. It was the peak of his fast-rising career — as corruption allegations began to mount. Kerik said in court that while being…

House Appropriations approves two bills

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The House Appropriations Committee approved the Homeland Security and Legislative Branch fiscal year 2010 appropriations draft bills at a markup Friday. The Homeland Security bill provides $42.63 billion for the agency, compared to President Barack Obama’s $42.83 billion request for fiscal year 2010. In 2009, the agency received $39.98 billion. The bill cuts $135 million requested for agency operations due to “staffing vacancies, redundant policy initiatives and poorly justified request to consolidate DHS headquarters for those agencies not moving to St. Elizabeths,” according to a committee news release. The bill includes: $10 billion for Customs and Border Protection, $82 million…

Critics: Thumbs down for "Homeland Security" TV show

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The reviews are in for ABC’s new reality show “Homeland Security USA,” and they are not kind. The “COPS”-like docudrama program, which follows real Border Patrol agents, Customs and Border Protection officers and transportation security officers at their jobs, is being called little more than a recruitment video for the Homeland Security Department. The New York Times said that the show doesn’t even touch on many issues challenging the department, such as mismanagement, privacy concerns, or corruption. Instead, “Homeland Security USA” shows Customs officers searching through a belly dancer’s skimpy outfits. Critics say the show’s substance-free exchanges, along with heart-tugging voice…