David Olive

Nov 20, 2009

Once again it is time to revisit the issue of Congressional meddling into the operations of DHS.

As has been well established by many commentators, myself included, the only item from the 9-11 Commission’s Report that has yet to be implemented is the consolidation of congressional oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.

Yesterday another former DHS official joined the one-sided debate. Greg Garcia, former assistant secretary of cybersecurity and telecommunications at DHS, said that Congress had treated DHS like a “whipping boy” in its “hyper oversight” activities – hindering the Department from fulfilling its mission. As reported by NextGov this morning, Garcia participated in a roundtable event where he “called out” Congress to practice what it preached to DHS officials. Apparently Garcia does not grasp the concept Congress has rarely taken its own advice – freely dispensed to others but rarely taken to heart in its own operations.

Sadly, it is no longer news that Congressional oversight is based upon a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. Hypocrisy does not find a monopoly on Capitol Hill, but it surely seems to be comfortable there. That is a very difficult reality for idealists.

Still, Garcia is right in pointing it out and I ,for one, am happy to have him join the debate. Now if only someone in Congress would respond in a manner other than scheduling another hearing or calling for another private briefing with DHS officials.

This piece was originally posted on Security Debrief.


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