Many local residents probably saw last week's report criticizing the Homeland Security Department coming. What is interesting is that although our knowledge of waste in the department dates back a few years, it appears little was done in the interim to address concerns.
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, issued a 54-page report listing episodes of rampant waste of taxpayers' money by the department. Among outrageous spending listed in Coburn's report was $24,000 for a "latrine on wheels" in Fort Worth, Texas; and $285,933 for a "BearCat" armored vehicle in Keene, N.H., population 23,409.
One reason agency officials don't worry much about spending reforms is that they don't agree with Coburn's conclusions about waste. DHS spokesman Matt Chandler huffed to reporters that the department "fundamentally disagrees with the report's position on the value of homeland security grants ..."
But Coburn is right: Allowing the DHS to waste money doesn't make Americans more secure.