A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Even the name of the department conjures up memories of
Look. DHS has the capacity to be to America's citizens what the Gestapo was to the people of Hitler's Germany and to the people of the countries occupied by the Nazis.
Yes, I do realize the majority of Americans today have little (if any) memory of that era. For those of us who DO remember it, all too well, we DO feel an obligation to warn the generations following us when we see OUR government drifting in the direction of that authoritarian, tyrannical, regime.
Consider this a warning!
Every time the government creates another "policing/intelligence agency" American citizens lose even more freedom and liberty.
Think about it a moment. That new department must justify its reason for existence and it must keep the money flowing from the treasury into its coffers. So, it feels an obligation to do something -- and then find new and bolder things to do to try and make itself indispensable to the US government.
Hey. It's the nature of the beast. It's the way government agencies live and continue to survive. They grow bigger and bigger taking up more space in our daily lives -- until we are darn near smothered with their omnipresence.
Sometimes they remind me of a line from one of Ray Stevens old songs about Santa Claus: "They're everywhere! They're everywhere!"
Stick you head out your door --- and "Smile! You're on candid Camera!" Our entire lives are being monitored, recorded, and filed away in some data dump warehouse owned by the federal government. So much data has been stored that the government is building newer and MUCH LARGER facilities to not only store more data on you (us), but to acquire even MORE info on the citizens of the US.
Look. I KNOW I am but a tiny voice "crying out here in the wilderness" with my opinion pieces. But -- you are wrong if you think I don't suspect the government already monitors my scribbling. One would have to be an utter fool to believe otherwise.
Heck, I've been on the government's radar at least since the Nixon Administration when my friends and neighbors were contacted by federal agents gathering info on me. See, I was a card carrying member of the press in those days. The press was highly suspect by the Nixon Administration and a lot, if not most, of us were investigated.
It bugs the hell out of me, quite frankly.
So, let's see how many intelligence agencies the US has -- that the government will admit to, anyway:
United States Intelligence Community
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
United States Department of Defense
Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AF ISR)
Air Force Office of Special Investigations
Army Criminal Investigation Command (Army CID)
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
Marine Corps Intelligence Activity 
Intelligence and Security Command (United States Army) 
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
National Security Agency (NSA)
Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
United States Department of Energy
Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Secret Service
Coast Guard Intelligence 
Office of Intelligence and Analysis
Coast Guard Investigative Service
United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Directorate of Intelligence
Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of National Security Intelligence (DEA)
United States Department of State
Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
United States Department of the Treasury
Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
If you'd like a list including the web sites of the various intelligence agencies then visit this site: http://spylopedia.tripod.com/ind-usgovt.htm
Now, this is just a partial list. As we said, we are only able to find those agencies the government is willing to disclose. My paranoia says there are many more, some operating, I suspect, in the "black" unknown to practically everyone, including most of the government.
Look. I can understand the FBI and the CIA -- and to a lesser degree -- the DIA. But, after that, it just seems to be one agency overlapping another creating a web of distortion and confusion and (and this is important) distrust of the government by its citizens.
In my estimation, DHS is just overkill. It's too much. Practically everything the DHS does can be done by the FBI, for instance.
I have often thought the DHS was only created just to give Americans "the feeling" that the government was actually DOING something to protect us from terrorists. As it turned out, in my opinion, the government created a Frankenstein monster.
Seems to me, a smaller intelligence community would be better, faster, smarter.
But what do I know?
Well, I'll TELL you what I know. I know, for instance, that I do not feel any safer. In fact, just the opposite. Now I have to be concerned -- not only about terrorism -- but about the government snooping about in the private affairs of all Americans.
You know, we really ought to change the lyrics of our national anthem. "Land of the free" does not apply any more. I'll leave it up to America's poets to figure out how to replace it with "land of the closely watched." Oh, and while we're at it, we might want to change those final words to "Home of the formerly brave," too.
For time immemorial governments have used threats to state security (real or imagined) to tighten the screws on their own citizens and gain more power for the government. Obviously, America's government is no different.
More security ALWAYS means less freedom. Don't believe me? Ask the ancient Athenians: “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.” -- Edward Gibbon
I only wish America saw the lesson within those few words.
J. D. Longstreet