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Homeland Security Democrats Respond to the Department of Homeland Security's Proposed Reorganization

WASHINGTON — Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee released a report this morning that analyzes the proposed Department of Homeland Security reorganization Secretary Michael Chertoff announced yesterday.

The report titled “Protecting America against Terrorists: The Case for a Comprehensive Reorganization of the Department of Homeland Security, ”commends Secretary Chertoff for initiating a complete review of the Department, which Congress created in 2002, that confirms what Democrats have said for some time: the Department is broken.

“The Administration has not done enough over the past three years to ensure that the Department has the resources, personnel, and structure to succeed,” said the Committee’s Ranking Member Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS). “The Department’s proposal suggests some much needed repairs but it does not address some of the Department’s most serious defects.”
Some of the changes included in the reorganization plan have been proposed by Democrats during the past two years that a Congressional committee has existed to oversee the Department. For example, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has led both Democrats and Republicans in calling for the creation of an Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity. In addition, Rep. Norman D. Dicks (D-WA) has called for the agency to use ten fingerprints, rather than two prints, in its US-VISIT program since January 2004.

Unfortunately, some critical changes were omitted from the review. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was left untouched, despite its many woes. The bombings in London last week should be a wake up call to the Administration that transit security cannot be a second thought. TSA’s failure to spend even 7 percent of the funds allocated this year for rail security tells us that it is not doing enough to protect America’s trains.

“It is essential that the Department be correctly reorganized today so that the federal government can assure the public that it is doing everything it can to prevent, detect, and respond to terrorism here at home,” the report concludes.”

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For More Information Contact:
Dena Graziano or Todd Levett at 202-226-2616.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

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