Letter to the editor
The following is a response to an FCW.com poll question that asked: Should the Office of Homeland Security be replaced by a Cabinet-level department of Homeland Security?
My take on the current climate is that there is a strong inclination for the administration to work in a clandestine manner. The Office of Homeland Security, whatever that turns out to be, would be most effective operating as an organization similar to the intelligence and investigative entities of the government with budgets and activities "under cover" than in the open, as it would be as a Cabinet-level entity.
I strongly believe that the Civil Rights Act and all other legal protections of the citizens of this country will not be preserved when push comes to shove as it did in 1942, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Gulf War, and now the situation in Afghanistan and the targeting of those who are identifiable minorities. The relocation of Latin Americans, Japanese, Germans and Italians during World War II also is indicative of what the government can do in times of "national emergency."
I do NOT agree nor accept the explanations of necessity expressed by the administration on the establishment of an entity headed by Tom Ridge. Mechanisms and institutions are already in place and can be used without additional bureaucratic expansion. A Republican proposal?
An adviser to the president is entirely appropriate, in my view. The candidate should be articulate and persuasive and with outstanding character and exposure. I do not see that from the interviews given.
Bottom line, NO, a Cabinet-level homeland security entity is not necessary, and the administration should reappoint a more articulate and credible adviser on the subject.
Name withheld by request