From Merryn Somerset Webb – Moneyweek Magazine (Great Britain) –
Leaders on the election trail often promise to cut excessive government interference. But once elected, they find power is simply too enjoyable to relinquish. This seems a particularly pertinent point in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. The position of US president has long been among the most powerful in the world. But since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001, US presidents have been given further, enormous covert powers, which have been little noticed. The question is, given his stated desire to crack down on illegal immigration and “make America safe again”, what might Trump do with them?
In 2002, the understandably panic-stricken US administration undertook the greatest re-organisation of federal government departments since 1947. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) combined 22 of the most important security agencies (of a total of 187), aiming to put an end to the errors and lack of coordination that had enabled the September 11th attackers to succeed.
The FBI, the coastguard, airport security (the cash-strapped airlines couldn’t afford to check passengers), railway stations and bus terminals, border control, immigration, cybercrime, and even natural disaster relief, all were put under the control of the new DHS mega-department. With more than 250,000 employees (more than the UK’s total armed forces) and a budget this year of $64bn, it is the third-largest US government department by size.