U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) portrayed the mammoth Department of Homeland Security created to make the nation safer after 9/11 as bloated and unable to prove its own effectiveness, The Oklahoman reports. Coburn said at a Senate hearing on the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that the department had turned into an “all-hazards agency” and a “grab-bag of political benefits.” He said, 15 of the top leadership posts at the agency are vacant, including the top position. Secretary Janet Napolitano departed last week. “Leadership matters,” he said.
The Homeland Security Department was created in 2002, at the request of President George W. Bush, combining 22 federal departments and agencies, including the ones overseeing border security and natural disaster relief. A new report from the department’s inspector general said the agency can’t even account for its own communications equipment. The department has 200,000 radio equipment parts but no consistent inventory system, the report says. Coburn is the top Republican on the committee that oversees the department. “Mission creep has expanded DHS from its original focus on counterterrorism to become an 'all-hazards’ preparedness agency,” Coburn said.