Judiciary Subcommittee Meeting on Homeland Security Goes UnAttended

A peek into what a Senate committee hearing looks like comes to us today as the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security meets to hear testimony on “cybersecurity.” Here’s what the hearing room looks like.

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security: only two Senators in attendance

As you can see, the room is just packed… on the side of the room not containing U.S. Senators. The only senators in attendance today are Benjamin Cardin of Maryland and Jon Kyl of Arizona.

Absent from the hearing: Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Cornyn of Texas, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Ted Kaufman of Delaware, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Charles Schumer of New York, Jeff Sessions of Alabama

Keep this in mind the next time you hear someone on the subcommittee besides Ben Cardin or Jon Kyl crow about how important it is to keep vigilant about our national security. The last time I checked, in order for vigils to work people have to show up. But don’t worry; I’m sure that the missing senators will not read the transcripts of the hearing later.

One Comment

on “Judiciary Subcommittee Meeting on Homeland Security Goes UnAttended
One Comment on “Judiciary Subcommittee Meeting on Homeland Security Goes UnAttended
  1. A review of work by the retired military brass is badly needed

    There needs to be an extensive investigation of corruption, graft and nepotism within retired the Generals, Admirals and Colonels ranks working for the federal government as civilians and contractors/advisors

    The Pentagon should rewrite ethics rules for retired generals, admirals and colonels/captains who work as advisers for the military while representing defense contractors. It is very important that they avoid the appearance of conflict.

    The USA Today newspaper found that many retired senior military officers collect their annual pensions, work for defense firms and draw government consulting fees as “senior mentors” to the military services. Of the 158 retired generals and admirals identified as senior mentors, 80 percent had financial ties to defense contractors, including 29 who were full-time executives of defense companies.

    Hired as independent contractors, the retired officers working as mentors are not subject to the ethics rules that would apply if they were brought in as part-time federal employees. Nor do they have to disclose, to the military or the public, their ties to defense contractors.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Air Force, Army and Navy declined to comment on USA Today’s findings or the reaction from Congress.

    There needs to be a call for Pentagon and U.S. Strategic Command (the worst offender) officials to explain the mentor programs. Congress was not aware of this program, and you need to tell the Defense Department and U.S. Strategic Command to immediately provide you with the justification and criteria for this kind of work.

    All senior military officers should be prohibited from mentoring at war games and exercises that deal with weapons systems or other issues of interest to the defense companies that pay them. The senior officer mentors should also have to disclose their financial ties to defense contractors. There has to be comprehensive disclosure rules about potential conflict. .

    The interplay between high-level military leaders and the defense industry has threatened the integrity of the defense acquisition system, and is one of the main reasons the Pentagon has lost (and cannot account for) over $2.3 trillion since 2001.

    The most corrupt and nepotism-embedded offender is the U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Nebraska that has hired hundreds of retired flag and senior military officers as civilians and contractors. Numerous retired flag and senior officers have their spouses working for StratCom and Offutt AFB, too.

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