A job with teeth for Ridge?

| 4/25/2002

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will soon move a bill to create a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, with its director confirmed by the Senate, said Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

What's more, it's time to consider Tom Ridge for the job, Graham said.

The senator and Paul C. Light, vice president and director of governmental studies at the Brookings Institute, co-authored an editorial urging as much in The Washington Post.

The authors said Ridge now has no power to spend, obligate or audit money, nor does he have much say over operations and management of the homeland security establishment.

They add that while Ridge has access to the information needed to do his job, "that information is still muddy, its sources many, and its usefulness often mixed -- as evidenced by the color-coded system of vague threat warnings his office developed."