United States Department of Homeland Security

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Group.png United States Department of Homeland Security   History Commons Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-icon.png
US Department of Homeland Security Seal.svg
Formation November 25, 2002
Headquarters Nebraska Avenue Complex, Washington DC, USA
Leader United States Secretary of Homeland Security
Elaine Duke.jpg
Incumbent: Elaine Duke
Since 31 July 2017
Subgroups • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
• United States Customs and Border Protection
• Federal Emergency Management Agency
• United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
• Transportation Security Administration
• United States Coast Guard
• National Protection and Programs Directorate
• United States Secret Service
Staff 216,000
Planned by the same group who planned the 9/11 attacks, and carried out in their wake, the DoHS is a large department which replaced the existing domestic security, disaster planning and management functions of the US government.


In 1998, Bill Clinton tasked former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman to chair the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century. The commission panel has been described as "a cross-section of the military-industrial-media complex".[1] Its members included Leslie Gelb, editor of the New York Times, Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed-Martin and US Army General John Galvin. The panel's report in January 2001 declared that it was not a matter of “if” the U.S. would suffer a mass-casualty terrorist strike but “when.” The panel’s recommendations included the massive integration of all of the domestic security, disaster planning and recovery functions into a single behemoth. After the 9/11 false flag attacks, President George W. Bush announced the establishment of the The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to coordinate "homeland security" efforts.

The office was headed by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who assumed the title of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. The official announcement stated:

The mission of the Office will be to develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks. The Office will coordinate the executive branch's efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States.[2]
Ridge began his duties as OHS director on October 8, 2001.


In an August 5, 2002 speech, U.S. President George W. Bush stated: "We're fighting...to secure freedom in the homeland".[3] Prior to the creation of DHS, American presidents had referred to the United States as "the nation" or "the republic", and to its internal policies as "domestic".[4] Also unprecedented was the use, from 2002, of the phrase "the homeland" by White House spokespeople.[4] The choice of this phrase, echoing Nazi Germany as it does, has raised questions regarding the self-image of the United States.[5]


In 2002, the United States Secret Service was subordinated to the Department of Homeland Security, a decision criticised by many observers.[6]


DOHS drone.jpg
Full article: Drones

In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security was very active in warning other government agencies of the dangers of drones. CBS News reported the Department of Homeland Security had sent an intelligence assessment to police agencies across the country about drones being used as weapons in an attack.[7][8]

Recent Purchases

The DOHS has contributed significantly to the militarization of US law enforcement, to the extent that it has been referred to as a tool of the Military-industrial-congressional complex.

X-Ray Scanners

The DHS had paid contractors "millions of dollars on mobile body scanner technology that could be used at railways, stadiums, and elsewhere."[9]

Mine-Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles

The DHS has also been criticised for purchasing 2,717 Mine-Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles formerly used for counterinsurgency in Iraq.[10][11]

Hollow Point Bullets

The AP reports that the DOHS has already bought 360,000 rounds of hollow point bullets - which cost nearly twice as much as full metal jacket rounds. Hollow point bullets are categorically banned for use in international war by the Geneva Convention since they explode on impact for maximum damage to the individual hit. However, this property of exploding within the individual causes minimum damage to whatever is behind the individual, they are more suitable for use in an urban environment if minimal property damage were a priority. AP reported further that the DHS plans to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition (enough for a 24-year Iraq War) over the next four or five years, and bought 1.5 billion rounds in 2012. Many have found these purchases unsettling. DHS officials have denied stockpiling ammunition, but have issued no explanation to the Members of Congress who have repeatedly asked why the DHS would need such large amounts of ammo, noting only that buying ammo in bulk allowed them to save money. Many have drawn the obvious conclusion that the ammunition is part of contingency plans for mass civil unrest, others noting that such huge purchases may also be an effort to “strategically den[y] the American people access to ammunition.”

Mail interception

Full article: Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program

In 2006, MSNBC reported that Grant Goodman, "an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words “by Border Protection” and carrying the official Homeland Security seal."[12] The letter was sent by a woman with no known terrorist connections.[12] A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection "acknowledged that the agency can, will and does open mail coming to U.S. citizens that originates from a foreign country whenever it's deemed necessary":

"All mail originating outside the United States Customs territory that is to be delivered inside the U.S. Customs territory is subject to Customs examination," says the CBP Web site. That includes personal correspondence. "All mail means 'all mail,'" said John Mohan, a CBP spokesman, emphasizing the point.[12]

The Department declined to outline what criteria are used to determine when a piece of personal correspondence should be opened or to say how often or in what volume Customs might be opening mail.[12]

Goodman's story provoked outrage in the blogosphere,[13] as well as in the more established media. Reacting to the incident, Mother Jones magazine remarked that "[u]nlike other prying government agencies, Homeland Security wants you to know it is watching you".[14] CNN observed that "[o]n the heels of the NSA wiretapping controversy, Goodman's letter raises more concern over the balance between privacy and security".[15]


A Document by United States Department of Homeland Security

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
File:JAR 16-20296.pdfReport29 December 2016Russia
2016 United States presidential election
Joint analysis report on alleged efforts by the Russian state to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election by means of computer hacking.

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
File:The Politics of Fear and SCADs.pdfpaperFebruary 2010Kym Thorne
Alexander Kouzmin


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Start25 November 2002 +