Your Security Dollars at Work
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It's always reassuring to learn that top White House officials are operating today in the time-honored tradition of so many Washington public servants: They are resigning to become high-paid corporate lobbyists, cashing in on their government connections.
Take our brand new Homeland Security Department... please! Take it far away and bury the whole bureaucratic, autocratic monstrosity in a landfill, where it will eternally burp gas, but otherwise won't bother us.
Unfortunately, there it is, alive in Washington and gorging on some 40 billion of our tax dollars each year. The Homeland czar is former-Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge. Working out of the White House, Ridge had four top deputies to help him create the Homeland Security Department. Did his inner circle move with him into the new agency? No, no, Pollyanna -- all four are now lobbyists, helping corporate clients grab a chunk of the billions of dollars that HSD is now doling out in fat government contracts.
When asked by a reporter about the obvious conflict of interest involved here, one of Ridge's former aides said, "This conversation is over," and hung up. Another was more forthcoming, noting that not only did she have great access to Ridge and other top HSD decision-makers, but also that "all of us are very close friends with the governor and see him on many different occasions, not just professionally." Gosh... what a cozy world Washington is!
Homeland Security is a bloated bureaucracy that won't make you and me one bit more secure -- but it'll secure billions in federal boondoggles for connected corporations. It's been dubbed "a huge honey pot" for lobbyists -- and one enthusiastic lobbyist representing such fat cat military contractors as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon bragged: "We're trying to help our clients avoid the land mines and find the gold mines in homeland security. I'm very bullish on this."
There you have it -- your security dollars at work. Feel safer?