RealNews

Homeland Security answers to everyone

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge slipped into a plush chair behind an enormous felt-covered table, clasped his hands together and fixed his gaze on a handful of senators before him — again.

For Ridge, a former member of the House of Representatives and governor of Pennsylvania, testifying before Congress has become like deja vu. His appearance last week before the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee was followed the next day by an appearance before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. One group was considering his agency’s 2004 budget; the other wanted to talk about emergency-preparedness grants to states and cities. Those hearings were among seven last week that required top officials from Ridge’s fledgling department, which was created in January, to testify. This week, at least nine more are scheduled before panels that deal with technology, scientific research, immigration and border security, and aviation. Full Story

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