Government building ark after rains start

Posted: Monday, December 09, 2002

The Department of Homeland Security, for months a gargantuan concept, is now a gargantuan federal agency -- on paper, at least, where its skeleton now is drawn. What it will become in the flesh, and exactly when that form will take its final shape, remain anyone's guess. ...

This colossal melding of 22 federal agencies and their 170,000 employees into an effective shield against terrorist attacks on this nation, even while al-Qaida and its allied terrorist brotherhoods remain a daily threat, is unlike anything ever before attempted. As Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman, one of its earliest proponents, put it, ''It's like asking Noah to build the ark after the rain has started to fall.''

Reorganization of these agencies is, in the end, simply a redrawing of command chains, a rerouting of paperwork, a redesign of the only thing the federal government can be -- a bureaucracy that is no better or worse than the daily performance of its lowest-ranked employees.

-- The Plain Dealer, Cleveland - Dec. 1

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