The Airing of Grievances
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Business As Usual
The USA Today reports that recently retired inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, Clark Kent Ervin, who had written numerous reports detailing DHS shortcomings, was not reappointed in a move that one Republican Senate staffer called "a purely White House decision." Apparently Ervin did not fit the "yes man" and the "this administration is infallible" mold that the White House is looking for. Why face facts and at the very least hold out the appearance of a modicum of accountability when the nation essentially okayed this type of nonsense on November 2? In any event, here are some of the not so flattering findings that Ervin made while in office:
• Undercover investigators were able to sneak explosives and weapons past security screeners at 15 airports during tests in 2003.

• Federal air marshals, hired to provide a last line of defense against terrorists on airlines, slept on the job, tested positive for alcohol or drugs while on duty, lost their weapons and falsified information in 2002.

• Department leaders should have taken a more aggressive role in efforts to combine the government's myriad terrorist watch lists since the department was created in 2003.

• The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) gave executive bonuses of $16,477 to 88 of its 116 senior managers in 2003, an amount one-third higher than the bonuses given to executives at any other federal agency.

• The TSA spent nearly $500,000 on an awards banquet for employees in November 2003. The cost included $1,500 for three cheese displays.
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