Tuesday, May 2

C&L: Homeland Inspector General says he was pressured to "tone down" criticism of Bush before election

A half million dollar party for airport screeners?

Last week I was stopped at the Kansas City airport on my return flight to Dallas/Fort Worth because it was discovered I had a miniature (approximately 1") Swiss Army knife in my oversized purse. I haven't used it in so long (usually for the tiny scissors or the fingernail file), I had completely forgotten it; it was buried at the bottom of my always-overstuffed bag, but the KC screener caught it.

The thing is, I've probably passed through airport security upwards of two dozen times with the knife in my bag -- I certainly passed easily through both D/FW and KC airport security on my outward bound flights. I had no objection whatsoever to the screener taking it away from me -- that's his job, and I was only embarrassed that I could be so careless.

But what are we spending $500,000 celebrating?

UPDATE: Saw this guy Clark Kent Ervin on CNN this morning being interviewed by Soledad O'Brien. He made it clear in no uncertain terms that although Tom Ridge never explicitly asked him not to forward his adverse reports to Congress, it was plain from his words that he was trying to intimidate the man into doing just that. Ervin said several times Ridge asked him, "Are you my Inspector General or not?" to which Ervin replied, "I'm the public's Inspector General."

Ervin is a conservative Republican and says he ordinarily doesn't advocate spending more of the government's money, but that if Hong Kong can inspect 100% of the containers coming through its ports, so can the U.S. He said the U.S. is vulnerable to terrorists at virtually every point. "The terrorists know everything that is in my book -- it's the American people who don't." Scary stuff, responded Soledad. There's more here.

Ridge "was trying to get me not to give things to Congress and also to try to spin reports in a way most favorable to the department, and I resisted both of those," former Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin said in an interview.
Ervin said that when he told Ridge that the inspector general served the public, the former Pennsylvania governor replied, "I had an IG in Pennsylvania and he didn't release things to the Legislature or to the press."

Ervin said he answered: "But I do here. I have a reporting obligation" to Congress.

Ervin said the meeting "was two hours of 'Why are you doing this? Why are you being negative to the department? Why are you releasing reports?' It was a long come-to-Jesus meeting, angry and confrontational. I just spent the whole time trying to educate him about the role of the inspector general."



Anonymous Joyful Alternative said...

And now we in Pennsylvania ought to dig up whatever he had his IG bury here, since Mr. Ridge seems to think concealment is proper procedure.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

Ha! Excellent thought!

4:34 PM  

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