Thursday, December 29, 2005

Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

Puhlease. The Department of Homeland Stupidity and Fraud has been one big frat party for "people in the know" and as with all parties, it had to end sometime. Those pesky whirling dervishes Katrina and Rita showed up during the main course and are preventing dessert from being served.

Homeland Security Is Faulted in Audit
In addition, the report found, "the circumstances created by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita provide an unprecedented opportunity for fraud, waste and abuse," primarily because FEMA's grant and contract programs are still not being managed properly.
Hey, the people who needed it the least, got the most. What's the problem?
"While DHS is taking several steps to manage and control spending under Katrina, the sheer size of the response and recovery efforts will create an unprecedented need for oversight," the report concludes.
Only if you had contact with a suspected terrorist or someone 17 times removed. And then it will be behind your back.
The audit is the latest in a series of tough assessments of the beleaguered department, which has been widely criticized since it was formed in March 2003 by combining 22 disparate agencies. In a final "report card" issued earlier this month, for example, the former members of the Sept. 11 commission gave the DHS low or failing grades in many key areas, including airline passenger screening and border control.

Earlier this week, a group of House Democrats issued a report alleging that the department had failed to follow through on 33 promised improvements to border security, infrastructure protection and other programs.

In an 11-page response to the inspector general's findings, homeland security officials acknowledged problems but disputed some of the criticisms and offered explanations for others. For example, the department said it has created a special procurement office to oversee hurricane contracts and is using consultants to monitor the process.
Department spokesman William R. "Russ" Knocke said that "retooling FEMA is one of our greatest and most urgent priorities."

"We continue to make programs more efficient, effective and results-oriented," Knocke said, adding that "the department is making substantial progress in implementing several core management initiatives," including improvements in personnel policies and financial accountability.
How Republican. Isn't that what they promised to do in the first place?
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who took over the department this year, is in the midst of implementing a broad reorganization of the 180,000-employee department and has announced initiatives in border security and other areas.
Ah yes, ye olde shell game.
But the department's bumbling after Katrina prompted widespread criticism -- along with the resignation of FEMA's director -- and many lawmakers have since questioned whether DHS is capable of handling recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast. White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend is reviewing the hurricane response by DHS and other agencies.
Research, review, renovate. Anything but relieve and restore.

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