The Department of Homeland Security has a new chief, Jeh Johnson. He takes over a department that includes 22 former agencies folded into it. The tasks of Homeland Security involve preventing terrorism through surveillance, disaster relief through FEMA, illegal immigration through ICE, and screening at airports through TSA.
The Department has been under fire for yearly deporting 400,000 non-criminal undocumented immigrants; before deportation keeping them in inhumane, abusive prisons; a terrible response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and screeners mistakenly allowing contraband, including explosive material, through airport checkpoints.
Videos of elderly persons and children apparently being manhandled by TSA workers have gone viral in recent years. Full body screeners that show naked bodies have been condemned as intrusive invasions of privacy.
In early 2011, DHS completely scrapped a five-year, $6.7 billion surveillance technology initiative or "virtual fence," to secure 6,000 miles of the American border involved. It is now building a new headquarters costing over $3.3 billion dollars.
"They spend all of our money and violate our civil liberties -- otherwise it's a great organization," said former presidential Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
Shortly after President Obama took office, DHS also was forced to retract a report that suggested veterans and right-wing activists could be candidates for homegrown extremist groups.
At today's news conference a reporter suggested to new DHS head Johnson, that if the term "Homeland" were replaced with "United States," some of the problems might disappear. The newswoman said that terms like "homeland," "fatherland," and "motherland" have historically been linked to the Romanov Dynasty, Joseph Stalin, and Adolph Hitler. Perhaps morale would rise and DHS employees would take more pride in their work if the name were changed she suggested.
Johnson responded that a name change wouldn't do any good because the DHS is a "bureaucratic monstrosity," with a history of "total incompetency" which had wasted billions of taxpayer money.
In a follow-up question the reporter wanted to know why Johnson would accept the job of heading an agency that is "obviously utterly stupid."
The new chief responded that, "The pay is quite good and no one expects me to really do anything to fix the unfixable. I actually expect to be quite laid back, relaxed, and untroubled at Das Homeland. I imagine I'll just sit around and drink coffee all day."