SARANAC LAKE - Congressional candidate Chris Gibson - Republican challenger to Democratic U. S. Rep. Scott Murphy in New York's 20th Congressional District - says he'll make the tough decisions in order to get a handle on the nation's spiraling deficit.
Appearing on WNBZ radio's North Country Today program recently, Gibson said he would work to eliminate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an agency which is budgeted to spend $54.7 billion in 2011.
According to Gibson, the U.S. took the wrong route following the Sept. 11 attacks. Rather than adding another agency, the government should have concentrated on enhancing communications between existing agencies, he said. The various agencies had a substantial amount of intelligence information on the impending attacks that should have been vetted and shared to prevent them.
"What we should have done is consolidated - we should have streamlined our organizations," he said. "I believe we should have declared war on our enemy and gone after al Qaeda. What we did instead was typical, but not helpful. Our response after Sept. 11 was to grow the size of government."
He said creation of the Department of Homeland Security added a substantial number of six-figure salaries and more bureaucracy rather than addressing the core problem, which was streamlining intelligence gathering and enhancing inter-agency communication.
Gibson said those additional executives also received benefits and pensions the U.S. couldn't afford. Also, the Bush administration spent billions of dollars constructing facilities to house Homeland Security units - more money Gibson said shouldn't have been spent.
"We should have created a joint inter-agency task force among the agencies we had already - and gone after our enemy," he said. "We won World War II without the Department of Homeland Security. We're never going to have enough money to harden every port, every bridge, and every key building - although some of that needs to occur.