CD040: History of the Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) did not exist before September 11, 2001. In this episode, we look back at the bills that created these new government agencies. 

Links to Information in This Episode

Intro and Exit Music: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

Music: Homeland Security Blues by Spartacus Jones (found on Music Alley by mevio)

The Department of Homeland Security was created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (signed into law on November 25, 2002).

Democracy Now episode from November 26, 2002: President Bush signs the Homeland Security Act into law.

  • Contains an interview with Joan Claybrook, former President of Public Citizen

The stated purpose was to consolidate all departments related to “homeland security” into one cabinet in response to the September 11 attacks. Twenty-two agencies were brought into the new department:

New $4.5 billion Department of Homeland Security headquarter complex only houses the Coast Guard; they just moved over the last few weeks.

The Homeland Security Act was passed after many members of a lame duck Congress had left for vacation; corporate friendly provisions were slipped into the bill.

Section 201, paragraph 14 orders the Department of Homeland Security to start data-mining:

“To establish and utilize, in conjunction with the chief information officer of the Department, a secure communications and information technology infrastructure, including data-mining and other advanced analytical tools, in order to access, receive, and analyze eta and information in furtherance of the responsibilities under this section, and to disseminate information acquired and analyzed by the Department, as appropriate.”

Democracy Now episode from November 21, 2002

  • Contains a Pentagon press conference by Pete Aldridge, then Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, during which he explains the plan for Total Information Awareness
  • Contains an interview with Gail Russell Chaddock, author of an Christian Science Monitor article about the creation of the Department of Homeland Security

Total Information Awareness programs were split up and transferred to private contractors hired by the NSA.

What are fusion centers?

“According to government documents, the fusion centers collect cell phone numbers, insurance claims, credit reports, financial records, and names of relatives and associates. The information is shared among law enforcement officials nationwide.” – Democracy Now, April 3, 2008

Fusions centers collect state and local information from license plate readers

Secure Communities collects the fingerprints of everyone who has been arrested

Private intelligence companies such as Stratfor do surveillance work for private corporations, the Department of Homeland Security, the military, and intelligence agencies.

Democracy Now episode from October 3, 2012

  • Contains details on a Senate report that concluded Department of Homeland Security fusion centers to be “useless”

    Border Patrol drones (Source: DHS.gov)

Democracy Now episode from May 4 2006 about immigration prisons

The Transportation Security Administration was created by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act signed into law on November 19, 2001. The act federalized airport security.

Democracy Now episode from October 15, 2001

  • Contains information about the Bush administrations resistance to federalizing airport security
  • Contains information on Argenbright Security, the private security company which failed to detect the 9/11 hijackers at Newark International Airport and Washington-Dulles International Airport.

Watch the September 11 hijackers walked by – not through- the metal detectors monitored by employees of Argenbright Security.

Huntleigh, the subsidiary of Israeli firm ICTS International, was the security firm at Boston Logan airport on September 11, 2001. Both of the planes that hit the World Trade Center in New York City originated from Boston Logan International Airport & all the hijackers went undetected through security managed by Huntleigh. After airport screening operations were federalized, Huntleigh sued the United States for it’s lost business, calling the federalization “unfair”.

The Screening Partnership Program allows airport security operations to be re-privatized. Sixteen airports currently have private security.

SPP participantsSection 147 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act limited liability for the owners and operators of the World Trade Center and New York City for the events of September 11:

(b) EXTENSION OF LIABILITY RELIEF TO AIRCRAFT MANUFACTURERS AND OTHERS- Section 408 of that Act is amended–

(1) by striking `air carrier’ in the section heading;

(2) by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following:

`(a) IN GENERAL-

`(1) LIABILITY LIMITED TO INSURANCE COVERAGE- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, liability for all claims, whether for compensatory or punitive damages or for contribution or indemnity, arising from the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, against an air carrier, aircraft manufacturer, airport sponsor, or person with a property interest in the World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001, whether fee simple, leasehold or easement, direct or indirect, or their directors, officers, employees, or agents, shall not be in an amount greater than the limits of liability insurance coverage maintained by that air carrier, aircraft manufacturer, airport sponsor, or person.

`(2) WILLFUL DEFAULTS ON REBUILDING OBLIGATION- Paragraph (1) does not apply to any such person with a property interest in the World Trade Center if the Attorney General determines, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing on the record, that the person has defaulted willfully on a contractual obligation to rebuild, or assist in the rebuilding of, the World Trade Center.

`(3) LIMITATIONS ON LIABILITY FOR NEW YORK CITY- Liability for all claims, whether for compensatory or punitive damages or for contribution or indemnity arising from the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, against the City of New York shall not exceed the greater of the city’s insurance coverage or $350,000,000. If a claimant who is eligible to seek compensation under section 405 of this Act, submits a claim under section 405, the claimant waives the right to file a civil action (or to be a party to an action) in any Federal or State court for damages sustained as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, including any such action against the City of New York. The preceding sentence does not apply to a civil action to recover collateral source obligations.’; and

(3) by adding at the end of subsection (c) the following: `Subsections (a) and (b) do not apply to civil actions to recover collateral source obligations. Nothing in this section shall in any way limit any liability of any person who is engaged in the business of providing air transportation security and who is not an airline or airport sponsor or director, officer, or employee of an airline or airport sponsor.’.

Domestic Security Bill Riles 9-11 Families, New York Times, November 26, 2002.

Information regarding the history of the World Trade Center construction, New York City building codes, and the death tolls from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 were from The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Keven Flynn.

Democracy Now episode from September 1, 2005: Hurricane Katrina exposed the dis-function of the Department of Homeland Security

Representatives Quoted in this Episode

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