May 23, 2005 – In a two-part series published yesterday and today, the Washington Post revealed a pattern of ineffectiveness and limited oversight of contracts from within the Department of Homeland Security following its creation.
The Post's analysis of government documents, testimony and interviews with dozens of government and business officials showed cost overruns and untracked expenses totaling in the billions of dollars since September 2001.
At the same time, the report notes, expensive technologies -- such as airport bomb-detection machines, a computer network for screening foreign visitors, and devices for screening cargo for radiation at ports and border crossings -- have proven outdated or ineffective. Additionally, the Transportation Security Administration's airport passenger screeners are proving no better at detecting weapons than they were immediately after the attacks.
Officials blame the problems on the rush to initiate rapid changes, a lack of qualified personnel to monitor contracts with private companies, and flaws in financial management and procurement processes that opened the door to contractor abuse.
The situation has led to what one researcher called "an illusion of security that doesn't exist."