Don’t Worry: It’s No Problem!

This is a sad example of how the Washington Bureaucracy really works:

72 DHS Employees on Terrorist Watch List

December 6, 2015 4:12 pm

At least 72 employees at the Department of Homeland Security are listed on the U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D., Mass.) disclosed that a congressional investigation recently found that at least 72 people working at DHS also “were on the terrorist watch list.”

This story, published by The Washington Free Beacon, was broadcast on most of the major TV and radio news networks on that same day and evening during their regular 6 o’clock news and  11 o’clock news wrap-up shows. 

And then, guess what–NOTHING HAPPENED.

No Congressmen ran to the microphones and demanded these employees be fired. The President didn’t run to a microphone and announce that these government employees would be suspended until an investigation was completed. And nobody in the Washington Press Corps–not an investigative journalist, not any reporter whose beat is the Department of Homeland Security–nobody announced they would begin an undercover investigation to find out how potential terrorists got jobs in what is supposed to be “The Defense Department” for threats inside the United States.

Everybody in power, including the News Media, ignored the story.

Now imagine if a newspaper had published a story reporting that 72 employees of Exxon were on the Terror Watch List? Or if 72 employees of Koch Industries were on the Terror Watch List? The news would explode on the front page of the Washington Post and New York Times. It would make the cover of Time magazine, and 60 Minutes would postpone their regularly scheduled show for the next Sunday and rush an hour-long-special into production to voice its alarm that Americans would dare employ 72 people on the Terror Watch  List.

But….

Since the 72 work for the Federal Government, the story is shrugged off–even by the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.

The sad part is that no one asked what these employees do all day. Do they work as TSA agents, groping children or old men in wheel chairs, while simultaneously ignoring others who might be smuggling an explosive past their $150,000 scanners?

Do they work in Port Security in Baltimore, or Los Angeles, or New York City, assuring that no dirty nuclear materials are being off-loaded onto one of our nation’s largest docks ?

Are they the ones who man the phones at the “If You See Something Say Something!” Hotline? What if someone calls in with a terror-plot tip, and one of those employees “accidentally” hangs up on  the caller, then blames the disconnect on Verizon?

Do these employees work in the DHS Cyber Center, where they can tip off other people on the Terror Watch List that they might be under surveillance?

Or do they work as Diversity &  Inclusion Specialists in the “Special Emphasis Programs” office in DHS’s Diversity Training Office inside the DHS Office for Civil Rights, assuring that other Terror-Watch-List-Members also have an equal opportunity to work at the Department of Homeland Security?

Of course, we’ll never know, because as with almost all things that happen in the Federal Bureaucracy which spark alarm, the news was shrugged off with a yawn, and the News Media shifted right back into important stories about the Kardashians,  and where the Obamas planned to dine during their upcoming Christmas vacation.

Amusingly, only one publication responded to this bombshell news story: Government Executive magazine, at GovExec.com. In a classic CYA article to protect the federal workforce, journalist Eric Katz explained it as an error reported by Congressman Lynch based on confusion during a congressional hearing. The 72 were not federal employees, but federal contractors who worked at Homeland Security.

So there.

Problem solved. Since the 72 people on the Terror Watch List weren’t actually working for the government, what’s the problem?

Of course,there was no follow up on whether those contractors were investigated, reassigned, suspended, or God forbid–fired.

This is another example of how no matter what the event, a federal agency is never accountable to anyone–not even to the President or to Congress.

The soon to be published book Bureaucratic Bombs explains these events and this mindset in entertaining detail.

But in the meantime, let us all pray that none of these 72 people who spend their work days with official government ID badges somewhere inside the labyrinth known as the Department of Homeland Security don’t end up on the evening news for a more deadly reason.

–The Beltway Bandit

 

 

 

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