Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn criticizes Department of Homeland Security

By Chris Casteel

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn on Wednesday portrayed the mammoth department created to make the nation safer after 9/11 as bloated and unable to prove its own effectiveness.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, said at a Senate hearing on the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that the Homeland Security Department had turned into an “all-hazards agency” and a “grab-bag of political benefits.”

Moreover, he said, 15 of the top leadership posts at the agency are vacant. “Leadership matters,” he said.

The Homeland Security Department was created in 2002, at the request of then-President George W. Bush, and consolidated 22 federal departments and agencies, including the ones overseeing border security and natural disaster relief.

It was part of a post-9/11 effort to ensure better communication among those with federal agencies with overlapping missions.

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