WMD commission criticizes Homeland Security oversight

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A progress report released today by a federal commission reiterates earlier warnings on the dangers inherent in Congress’s crazy-quilt oversight of homeland security.

“The refusal of the nation’s elected representatives to pull congressional authority together into one coherent oversight body is both self-serving and conspicuous, suggesting that individual concerns for ‘turf’ supersede the legislature’s willingness to assume responsibility to ensure our security,” says the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism in its progress report — essentially a report card on recommendations offered in the panel’s original work, World at Risk, issued in December 2008.

The Center had earlier reported that in 2007 and 2008, Department of Homeland Security officials attended more than 370 hearings and gave more than 5,000 briefings to staffers and members of Congress representing 108 committees.

The WMD Commission, a bipartisan group created by Congress, recommended in its original report that Congress should designate the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees as the sole authorizing committees for DHS.

In the new document, the Commission calls on congressional leaders to commit publicly to streamlining oversight for the next session of Congress.

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