The Lady Speaks

These are the people protecting us?!

From the Associated Press: The private security guards at the Department of Homeland Security are telling Congress that the Dept is barely able to protect its own headquarters.

The guards have taken their concerns to Congress, describing inadequate training, failed security tests and slow or confused reactions to bomb and biological threats.

For instance, when an envelope with suspicious powder was opened last fall at Homeland Security Department headquarters, guards said they watched in amazement as superiors carried it by the office of Secretary Michael Chertoff, took it outside and then shook it outside Chertoff’s window without evacuating people nearby.

The scare, caused by white powder that proved to be harmless, “stands as one glaring example” of the agency’s security problems, said Derrick Daniels, one of the first guards to respond to the incident.

The agency responsible for protecting the DHS is Wackenhut Service, Inc., which has previously been criticized for its handling of protection “at nuclear facilities and transporting nuclear weapons.”

Homeland Security officials say they have little control over Wackenhut’s training of guards but plan to improve that with a new contract. The company defends its performance, saying the suspicious powder incident was overblown because the mail had already been irradiated.

Two senators who fielded complaints from several Wackenhut employees are asking Homeland’s internal watchdog, the inspector general, to investigate.

“If the allegations brought forward by the whistleblowers are correct, they represent both a security threat and a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote. “It would be ironic, to say the least, if DHS were unable to secure its own headquarters. (emphasis mine)

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March 6, 2006 - Posted by | Bush, Homeland Security, National Security, Politics, Uncategorized

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