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Wednesday, 20 November 2002

Minister for Homeland Security

It's taken a surprisingly long time for the Conservatives to push for this, but they've finally done it: Oliver Letwin was on the Today programme this morning outlining the case for a cabinet minister for Homeland Security [BBC News, Today on Radio 4, The Guardian, ], presumably after an amiable chat with Tom Ridge, head of the Department of Homeland Security in the US.

It's not entirely clear what Letwin--or the Conservatives--actually want. On the one hand, they're calling for greater deregulation, decentralisation and a generally laxer style of government intervention. On the other hand (and perhaps typically, when it comes to security), they're advocating creating a new cabinet post who, we assume, will have the power to go over the other cabinet ministers. Blunkett, on the other hand, pointed out that a lot of the US's Department of Homeland Security's bureacracy (spending well over 1billion, with over a thousand employees) went some way towards recreating what the UK already has--a domestic intelligence service.

Oh well. Things are looking up (a little) in the US, where s.880 of the Homeland Security Bill has prohibited the implementation of the Operation TIPS part of the Citizen Corps--with the result that the Operation TIPS website has vanished (via Boing Boing).

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