A search for the origin of the term “homeland security,” which has emerged almost from nowhere since last September, leads to the little-known Institute for Homeland Security, formed in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., in October 1999.
News reports have credited the term to Defense Panel member Richard L. Armitage, former CIA officer and now deputy director of state, who has demurred. On a webpage no longer available, however, the institute’s homeland security analyst, John Wohlfarth, credited the term to a report entitled “Transforming Defense: National Security in the 21st Century,” submitted by the National Defense Panel in 1997. That report actually uses a slightly different phrasing: “security of the homeland.” But even if the NDP report is the original source, the phrase “homeland security” was little seen outside of the institute before September 11.
Just what is the Institute for Homeland Security? Its mission, according to www.homelandsecurity.org, is “To provide executive education and public awareness of the challenges to homeland security in the 21st century.” A “nonprofit public-service research organization examining a new set of national security challenges,” it produces workshops, programs for executive-level policymakers, a weekly homeland-security newsletter, a homeland-security opinion poll on its website, and the Journal of Homeland Security.
The longer name for this entity is “The ANSER Institute for Homeland Security,” part of ANSER, Incorporated (also known as Analytic Services, Inc.), which is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with “field offices and operating locations throughout the world,” according to its 1999 annual report.
Analytic Services, Inc., began as a research center for the Air Force in the 1950’s, closed as a federal entity in 1967, and has garnered federal contracts and patents ever since. In 1993, the Washington Times listed ANSER’s business areas as aerospace systems, civil systems, defense acquisition, information technology, military operations, and special operations. Agencies that have extended awards and agreements to ANSER include NASA, the Air Force Air Combat Command, the Russian Central Aero-Hydrodynamics Institute, the Russian Space Agency, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. ANSER also has cooperative agreements with the National Institute of Justice regarding “intelligent search agent” software in law enforcement. It received $1.7 million for “face recognition and intelligent software development,” from the COPS law-enforcement discretionary fund, under the Virginia Office of Justice programs.
ANSER also offers online programs in cooperation with the American Military University in Manassas, Virginia, leading to certificates in Homeland Defense, Forecasting Terrorism, Intelligence, and Homeland Security. A course called “Homeland Security,” conducted by the institute’s director, Col. Randall Larsen, was scheduled for fall 2001 at the National War College, with the first lecture coincidentally scheduled for September 11.
In Fiscal Year 1998, the Department of Defense ranked ANSER 58th on its “Alphabetical Listing of the Top 100 DOD Prime Contractors for Research, Test, Intelligence, and Evaluation Work.” ANSER’s federal awards for Fiscal Year 2000 are listed at over $74 million. The company’s annual report for 2000, the most recent available, records $73 million in revenues (preliminary unaudited) and $51 million in assets.
Since its inception, ANSER’s Institute for Homeland Security has had a close working relationship with media owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Before last fall, the Washington Times, Insight magazine, and UPI were the principal mainstream outlets for articles by and about the institute and were the only places where you would read its catchphrase with any frequency. Since September 11, there have been more articles in Moon-owned publications. Perhaps the scariest of these is the July 1, 2002, Insight cover story entitled “Security Blanket,” by senior writer J. Michael Waller, on the sudden unveiling of the proposed Department of Homeland Security (referred to as “DHS,” with some presumption of household familiarity).
If you have a citizen’s interest in where our national policy comes from, this article is illuminating. Waller begins by revealing the groundwork of this new edifice:
Close reading of what the president said in his June 18 announcement, study of the official papers and legal documents, and interviews with senior administration officials involved in the DHS conception reveal that the proposed homeland-security reorganization is based on years of think-tank research, legal opinions, and policy reviews.
Similarly, “[Tom] Ridge appears to have benefited from years of extensive homeland-security research and debate by a range of outside groups that offered an array of off-the-shelf proposals the administration seems to have borrowed.”
The “range of outside groups” turns out to have come from a rather narrow spectrum:
Bush’s plan also shows the fingerprints of a series of homeland-security and related reports prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), an independent think tank, under the general direction of veteran journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave with grants from Pittsburgh philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife. And it should: Bush’s special assistant for Homeland Security, Frank Cilluffo, was day-to-day manager of the CSIS studies and is regarded by professionals as one of the best-informed and most forward-looking thinkers on the issue.
“Veteran journalist” Borchgrave is, of course, the former editor-in-chief (currently editor-at-large) of the Washington Times, though Waller does not identify him as such. (Borchgrave also served as president and CEO of the Moon-owned UPI.) As for Mr. Cilluffo, among many other credentials, he was appointed, in June 2001, to the board of directors of Litronic, Inc., a firm that offers “professional Internet data security services.” (He later resigned to join Tom Ridge’s staff.) The company, now renamed SSP Solutions, Inc. (for “Secure Service Provider”), relies heavily on government contracts. Its website lists the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, Justice, State, and Treasury as clients, as well as the CIA, FBI, and NSA.
Inevitably, the proposed Department of Homeland Security will comprise parts of agencies doing business with SSP/Litronic. It is almost tiresomely obvious that having a former director of a company that enjoys massive government contracts serve in a government agency doing business with that very company is a conflict of interest.
You would think that the nexus of federal contracts, intelligence entities, and public-opinion manipulations by the controversially tax-exempt Moon businesses would have been investigated by journalists in the nation’s capital, in the shadow of unprecedented attacks on American soil that make profiteering inevitable. (A “Homeland Security Investment Forum” has already been held—March 14, 2002, in Washington D.C.—featuring Dr. Helena Wisniewski, former ANSER vice president for information technology and current chairman and CEO of Aurora Biometrics.)
Instead, the Washington Post Company engaged in a joint venture with ANSER in 1998. According to its 1998 annual report, “Legi-Slate, a subsidiary of the Washington Post Company . . . and ANSER . . . announced a partnership [on April 15] to provide ANSER’s summaries of congressional hearings on defense acquisition and readiness on Legi-Slate’s online service . . . ” The Post Company “disposed of substantially all” its Legi-Slate assets in 1999. But every article on ANSER in the Post has been favorable.
A recent Washington Post article on the conception of the new Department of Homeland Security omitted any mention of the Institute and ANSER. Just as Insight did, the Post relished the surprise element in President Bush’s June 6 announcement of the new Cabinet office; the article is titled “Bush Plan’s Underground Architects: In Silence and Stealth, Group Drafted Huge Security Overhaul” (June 9). The Post’s alternative history is worth quoting at length:
According to [Andrew] Card and other sources, the work of the PEOC group [named for their underground meeting space, the Presidential Emergency Operations Center] can be traced back to Bush’s presidential campaign, when he and his opponent, then-Vice President Al Gore, agreed on the need to bolster the country against terror. This subject intrigued Cheney, who “did a deep dive” into the available research and theories, Card said.
Aided by a small staff, Cheney examined security proposals from commissions headed by former Virginia governor James S. Gilmore III, by former senators Gary Hart (D-CO) and Warren B. Rudman (R-NH), “and others, going back a ways,” Card said . . .
When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, Cheney’s work became the basis for Bush’s announcement nine days after the attacks that he was creating the Office of Homeland Security, led by Pennsylvania Gov. Ridge . . .
It seems more likely that, long before the September 11 attacks, and probably long before Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney were elected, the institute and its boosters were engaged in a partly public, partly quiet campaign to assemble a “Department of Homeland Security,” “second Pearl Harbor” package.
Unfortunately, much of the nation’s press is heavily influenced by the papers in the nation’s capital; what Washington media outlets report is usually destined for reiteration across the country, and what they omit may pass unnoticed elsewhere.
Perhaps the strangest part of the press’s quiescence in the establishment of the new department is the acceptance of the term. Among other associations, it brings to mind the “homelands” established for blacks in South Africa under apartheid. (Conversely, all drafts of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 promised not a “homeland” but a “home” for the Jewish people, as did the British White Paper of 1922 and the League of Nations Palestine Mandate of 1922.) At best, “homelands,” in this country, have always been those lost places torn from people seeking asylum here—precisely because we did not have something called a “Department of Homeland Security,” or secret police, political prosecution, and indefinite detention. A more respectable term, such as “domestic security,” seems never to have occurred to anyone.
The phrase “shadow government” is too dignified to be fully appropriate, but, for the past three years, a shadow coalition of military, intelligence, and justice entities, and political candidates and their handlers, bolstered with support and assistance from think tanks and the press—and with too little scrutiny from the public—has worked to put into place an “antiterror” package that has done far more to transfer public money to private individuals and companies than to prevent attacks. Common sense would dictate that “coordinating” and “streamlining” would mean eliminating agencies, not adding another agency—much less combining its intelligence operations with the ceremonial functions of the White House.
What is going on here, among other things, is a dominance tactic. The “Department of Homeland Security” push may be as inane as President Gerald Ford’s WIN buttons, but its establishment is a move to smother thought as well as speech with a loyalty-oath atmosphere of intimidation, comparable in U.S. history to the weird, stupid, but grievous insistence on “naming names” during the heyday of the House Un-American Activities Committee.