FBI Director Robert Mueller III and CIA Director George Tenet testified yesterday before Congress' Joint Intelligence Committee about the failures to prevent the atrocities of 9/ll. Pressed by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Tenet testified, "If anyone is going to take responsibility, I take responsibility."
But what does "taking responsibility" mean in today's Federal government? Apparently, it means that when you and your agency fail, you get to demand a bigger budget, more bureaucrats, and more intrusive power over the lives of American citizens. The more you fail, the more you get.
Instead of taking names and kicking ass in the failed agencies, the usual Federal government response is to do an end run around them and create whole new bureaucracies, in this case, the massive and largely redundant Department of Homeland Defense. If the existing agencies aimed at dealing with a problem don't work, just conjure up a new one—it's lot nicer and easier than firing people and reforming old ones.
Of course, Tenet's non-responsible way of "taking responsibility" has plenty of precedent. Consider how Janet Reno took responsibility for the monumental FBI and ATF screw up at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX. Did she resign? No. Did she fire anybody? No.
Similarly, Mueller and Tenet informed the Congressional panel yesterday that no one had been disciplined or fired for the FBI's and CIA's 9/ll failures. But our federal guardians have not been entirely idle; the National Counterintelligence Executive issued this attractive poster to inspire greater vigilance.
I feel safer, don't you?