The Federal Government is the only industry in which employees get more money—and raises and bonuses—for doing absolutely terrible jobs.

The American people have spent several hundreds of billions of dollars on our intelligence agencies over the last ten years, yet none of them ever hinted at, much less warned us, about the attacks of September 11.

We receive more accurate information from the television newscasts than we do from the CIA and other intelligence agencies.  In fact, intelligence expert and author James Bamford said that the National Security Agency “found out about the attack by watching CNN!”  (The NSA is the same agency for which we built a plush, $320-million state-of-the-art building a few years ago—at a cost of $320 per square foot.  Then, again, Congressional Quarterly recently reported that we are giving the CIA a multi-billion-dollar increase—somewhere between $35 and $40 billion—for the new fiscal year.)

Our intelligence agencies have too many “experts” who want to stay in their vice-offices and write reports that almost no one sees and that do no good whatsoever.  Late last year, Insight Magazine quoted one CIA veteran as saying that agents “don’t live in the grungy, smelly fly-infested environments of the locals; they don’t go to mosques and smoke-filled mud houses where the populations live; and almost no one in the CIA has language fluency, cultural experience and ethnic background allowing them to blend in.”

One morning, a national TV program reported that the CIA would be on the “hot seat” in front of the Intelligence Committee that day.  As a congressman, however, I know that no critics of the CIA are allowed by the leadership of either party to sit on that committee.

The cover of the June 10 Newsweek proclaimed, “Exclusive—The 9/11 Terrorists The CIA Should Have Caught,” and the accompanying article claimed that the FBI was guilty of “clear failure to connect various vague clues that might have put them on the trail of the terrorists.”

U.S. News & World Report highlighted “FBI Foul-Ups.”  Then the House passed a supplemental bill giving the Bureau $112 million more than the  $4.27 billion already budgeted for 2002.

Ronald Kessler, who recently published a book about the FBI, wrote a column for the Washington Post on June 15, arguing that we should double the size of the Bureau, which already has 27,000 employees.  Our Founding Fathers would be shocked by the magnitude of this federal police force—and even more so by the fact that, in addition to the FBI, almost every agency and department of the federal government now has its own police force.  Joseph Califano, a Cabinet member and top advisor to the last three Democratic presidents, wrote in the Post last December that, because of our concerns about terrorism, we “are missing an even more troubling danger: the extraordinary increase in federal police personnel and power.”  He was referring to the federalizing of screeners at airports, something that he said goes very much against our tradition of leaving most law enforcement to local authorities.

I am in my 14th year in Congress.  I have seen some pretty surprising things in that time, but even I could not believe the shocking rate of expansion of the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  There were fewer than 28,000 screeners at U.S. airports before September 11.  TSA officials told us before-the passage of the Aviation Security Bill that they would need 33,000.  Immediately after passage, they upped the figure to 40,000.  Then, only seven months later, the TSA decided that it would need 72,000 employees, including approximately 3,500 “shoe bin runners.”

Secretary John Magaw, according to one senior appropriator, has already hired 140 of his old buddies from the Secret Service for the TSA at salaries of up to $150,000—and they are allowed to continue drawing their full government pensions.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service recently sent visas to two of the dead September 11 hijackers.  To excuse this embarrassment, they claimed that the INS is underfunded and needs better computers.  (This is an agency to which Congress has given a 250-percent budget increase in the last eight years, about ten times the rate of inflation.)  I am a low-tech person living in a high-tech world, but I am told that, since the technology is moving so fast, new computers are obsolete the day they are taken out of the box.  I can tell you with certainty that, thanks to the deep pockets of the federal government, federal employees have better, more expensive technologies than almost any private businesses.  Still, it is impossible to satisfy the government’s appetite for money or land.  

Sadly, almost every department or agency of the federal government is attempting to profit from the tragedies of September 11 by increasing its size, its power, and, especially, its funding.