Chertoff Fears “Cannibalizing” Homeland Security Department


Nearing the fifth anniversary of the Homeland Security Department, Secretary Michael Chertoff says “we are going to leave for the next administration a pretty well-functioning department,” he tells the Christian Science Monitor. “The biggest [question] my successor will face is, ‘Does the public and does Congress have the will to stick to the program, or are we going to start seeing people cannibalize Homeland Security because we have not been attacked for six years?’ ”

The department includes a slew of disparate agencies – from the Coast Guard to Customs and Border Protection to the Secret Service. With 208,000 employees and a $50 billion budget, it began operation on March 1, 2003. On one issue now in the news, Chertoff said the U.S. will expand its experiment with a virtual fence on the U.S.-Mexico border using radar, infrared sensors, and airborne drones: “We will expand the virtual fence contrary to what some have incorrectly reported. There are some things in it that we want to improve, and there are some things probably it turns out we don’t really need. But I envision that we would use this design in other parts of the border but not in the entirety of the border.”


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