Letters to the editor

The following are responses from an FCW.com poll question that asked (beginning April 13): Should the Office of Homeland Security be replaced by a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security?

It is obvious that the federal government is struggling with homeland security by its choice of appointees. Someone is totally missing the picture of what this effort takes. Fortunately for all of us, we are dealing with an inept but persistent adversary. Most of the agencies involved cannot effectively share data among themselves never mind with each other. Although Sept. 11 served as a tragic wake-up call, it's depressing to see it handled as business as usual in the federal sector.

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Why not place the responsibilities into an agency that we currently have — the FBI?

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At the highest levels of government, there is always a tug of war for power and authority. The Cabinet-level positions will get what they want before someone in a lesser position. The Office of Homeland Security steps on the turf of Defense, Justice, Treasury and other departments. If the head of Homeland Security cannot stand toe to toe with the other cabinet officers, he will be pushed aside when he appears to threaten their turf.

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Another agency to become bloated over time! Bloated with the death of our civil rights for spurious safety. Benjamin Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

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I believe the Office of Homeland Security should be a Cabinet-level position with direct control over all of the agencies that provide support for homeland defense and security within the boundaries of the United States. I heard Defense Department Secretary Donald Rumsfeld say in a news conference the other day that the military will be taking a more active role. That's a scary scenario for me. I say keep the federal military for national defense roles. I do agree we should be able to use the National Guard for homeland security and disasters, but not the federal military.

Names withheld by request

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