Democratic Underground

The Security Czar

August 5, 2004
By Mary Pitt

The much-lauded independent commission on terrorism has finally come to an end and, based upon their judgement of the information that they gathered, have come forth with ideas regarding ways to prevent future attacks.

First and foremost of these recommendations is that our nation is in desperate need of a "security czar," one person who will recieve all the reports from and be responsible for the efficiency and utility of every department of the government having to do with national security.

Based upon the discoveries and recommendations regarding these several departments, this "czar" is to recommend to the President and the Congress, when asked, what steps could and should be taken in order to safeguard the lives of our citizens and the security and treasure of the United States of America.

(In order to implement this grandiose plan it will, incidentally, be necessary to build a huge security complex to contain all these various departments. Gone will be the J. Edgar Hoover building, home of the FBI, and the impressive complex which is now the home of the CIA would become surplus propety to be sold to the highest bidder or used to house some of the many rapidly-expanding departments of government of which the Bush administration is so fond.)

President Bush has been quick to jump into the breach and announce his own plan for just such a czar but his plan would include only some of the recommendations. He wants the power to fire the czar in order to maintain total control over him/her; he wants the czar to have no budgetary control, preferring to keep this prerogative to himself, and he wants the reins of decision to remain in his own hands as the supreme commander of the actions and the behavior of all sections of the government.

Just what duties he does envision for the holder of this position is, as yet, unclear.

Does he plan to put him, initially, in charge of one department and then, gradually, absorb the other agencies under the umbrella or is it his task to merely re-assess all the information that has been gathered and assessed by the several departments?

Will he be responsible for the recently-disclosed misfeasance and malfeasance that has been alleged in the interpretations division of the FBI/CIA?

Will this person have the authority to hire and fire within the departments in order to maintain efficiency and accuracy?

Will he be able to end the nepotism and favoritism that has recently come to light?

Will he be able to say, "Shove it!" in response to an Office of Special Plans who may be sent by the office of the Vice-President or the Secretary of Defense?

Or will it just be another "honorarium" such as the Secretary of Homeland Security?

But, wait. This concept of having one person to whom all law enforcement and security departments of the government report in detail of the state of the security and needs of the nation does ring a distant bell. It seems that, at some point in our history, we had such a person.

This person received daily briefings from the head of the CIA and the FBI as well as periodic reports from the Departments of Interior, from Health and Environment, and even chatted now and then with the Surgeon General regarding such health issues as immunizations and poverty.

This man collected all the data, considered it in depth, and made decisions as to the best course to take in the interests of the American people. Based on this collection of information he set priorities and suggested to Congress the steps he suggested that we take to cope with problems.

While it may not be long in calendar years, with all the things that have happened in recent times, it seems forever. But if we strain our memories, we can remember such a person, who considered all this information in a studied manner and, with the welfare of the nation in mind, made serious, wise, and well-thought proposals for legislation to implement the safety and continuation of the Union.

Now I remember! We called him the President!

Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Having three generations of descendants, she feels obligated to leave them with the same rights and freedoms which she has so enjoyed.

 Print this article (printer-friendly version)
Tell a friend about this article  Tell a friend about this article
 Jump to Editorials and Other Articles forum