When Congress Checks Out
"Foreign policy has dominated the attention of Americans since 9/11, and especially since the Iraq war began. Major issues have included the formulation and execution of terrorism policy, the invasion of Afghanistan, prewar intelligence, the invasion of Iraq, the conduct of the Iraq war and its aftermath, the NSA's surveillance program, reform of the intelligence apparatus, homeland security, the treatment of detainees, and U.S. borders and immigration. And yet, Congress has failed to ask how policies in these areas have been carried out, how faithfully laws have been executed, how reasonably taxpayer dollars have been spent, how well the executive branch has stayed within its constitutional bounds, and how vigorously malfeasance or nonfeasance by public agencies and private contractors has been handled."
"Congress' failure to oversee the Department of Homeland Security has been crushing. Realistically, only Congress can prod such a massive department and determine whether when mad cow disease strikes or self-initiated Minutemen patrol the border, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or the Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service), both part of the DHS, are able to manage the problems. The same is true of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which lost its robust independent status when it was subsumed in the DHS; it has been roiling with confusion ever since."