Was firing employees the issue?

Posted: Nov 27, 2002 12:00 AM
The Daschle Democrats (bowing to pressure from their union constituency) resisted passing the Homeland Security bill prior to the election because President George W. Bush demanded wide authority to fire or transfer employees in the new 22-agency bureaucracy. In the lame duck session, Congress is hastily passing the bill. But I'm confused. If Bush is so eager to have the right to fire government employees, why hasn't he fired anyone for the many pre-9/11 and post 9/11 mistakes? Mistakes is actually a euphemism for grievous lapses of duty or violations of the law, some of which were fatal to innocent people. Where is the outrage and why hasn't anybody been fired for granting U.S. citizenship to a Middle Eastern male who was a member of the Hezbollah terrorist group, was on terrorist watch lists, and was under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force? Just putting a couple of federal employees on administrative leave isn't enough; it sounds like the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) is just holding them on the payroll until the bad publicity blows over. Why hasn't anybody been fired for granting U.S. citizenship to African-embassy-bombing conspirator Khalid Abu al Dahab after his fraudulent marriages to Americans? Ditto for granting U.S. citizenship to 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspirator El Sayyid A. Nosair who also married to avoid deportation? Why hasn't anybody been fired for releasing sniper suspect John Lee Malvo into the U.S. population even though the law mandated his deportation as one who entered our country illegally as a stowaway? Why hasn't anybody been fired for changing Malvo's status from the accurate designation given him by the U.S. Border Patrol? Why hasn't INS Director James Ziglar been fired after his office admitted to writer Michelle Malkin that Malvo's release "followed standard procedure," and she cited numerous cases of criminal illegal aliens set free who then committed more crimes? Ziglar is scheduled to leave voluntarily at the end of the year, more than 15 months after 9/11, but he shouldn't be allowed to circle the wagons and cover up the fatal results of bad policies. Why is the government conducting an investigation of Border Patrol agent Keith Olson, the one who got Malvo's fingerprints, which were the key to identifying him as one of the snipers who traveled the country on a killing rampage? Why, instead of going after the INS bureaucrats responsible for the Malvo mistake, is the government criticizing Border Patrol agent Daryl Schermerhorn for appearing on Bill O'Reilly's television program and telling the truth that "it's nothing new for the INS to release criminals on the streets and for them to commit murder." Why wasn't anybody fired when INS mailed visas to two of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, on March 5, 2002, six months after they died in their attack on the World Trade Center? President Bush said he was "pretty hot" about that, but he wasn't hot enough to fire anybody. Why hasn't anybody been fired for granting visas, after 9/11, to 79 people whose names were on an FBI watch list? Why does the Bush Administration allow the State Department to maintain its ridiculous policy that a history of advocating terrorism is not sufficient to deny an alien a visa? Why is the President selecting to head the new Homeland Security agency a man (Tom Ridge) who said that "the last thing we want to do is militarize the borders"? The overwhelming majority of Americans, including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, want U.S. troops to guard our borders against illegal aliens and illegal drugs rather than foreign borders on the other side of the world. Why was the State Department official in charge of issuing visas, Mary Ryan, given a $15,000 "outstanding performance" award for the period that included 9/11? The General Accounting Office reported that 13 of the 19 hijackers were given visas without ever seeing a U.S. consular official, and independent experts said that at least 15 of the 19 highackers should have been denied visas based on existing law. The Homeland Security bill creates a vast new bureaucracy but does nothing to plug the gaping holes in our border security. It contains non-germane sections such as protecting the drug companies from lawsuits by autistic children based on mercury-containing vaccines, but doesn't even repeal the Ted Kennedy's Visa Lottery program which admits 50,000 mostly-non-Western aliens a year and puts them on the citizenship track. If it is true that INS is overwhelmed with massive numbers of immigrant applications, then homeland security demands that we put a moratorium on immigration until the INS catches up. Likewise for the numbers of visa applications at the State Department. The FBI warning that Al Qaeda terrorists might be planning "spectacular attacks" inside the United States is the result of our government closing its eyes and waving the bad guys in. It's hard to see that anyone in Washington is really serious about homeland security.