Standard Operating Procedures

There are those who say that the Department of Homeland Security, which the Bush administration frankensteined into existence in 2002, is a dysfunctional government agency, but this morning's New York Times brings evidence that DHS is clearly following in the steps of such well established and widely admired entities as the Pentagon:

Flat-bottomed rescue boats at double the retail price, $68,500 worth of unused dog booties, hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of computers that somehow disappeared and a $227 beer brewing kit.

These are just a few of the questionable purchases that Congressional auditors have found by digging through half a year of credit card records from the Homeland Security Department, including records for the months immediately after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year.


“It seems no matter where we look at Homeland Security, we find a pattern of waste, fraud and abuse,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and the chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Sure, DHS may be rife with waste, fraud and abuse, but you can't knock its sense of hospitality. Consider that beer brewing kit. According to the Times, “A Coast Guard cardholder bought the beer brewing kit, which officials explained was 'a quality product for official parties attended by cadets, dignitaries and other guests'”. Perfectly reasonable, because nothing says there's no need to worry about whether our ports are secure like a mug of homebrew.

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