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UQ Wire: The Rise of the American Police State

Unanswered Questions: Thinking For Ourselves
Presented by…

Homeland Security Act: The Rise of the American Police State
(Part 1 of a Three Part Series)

By Jennifer Van Bergen
t r u t h o u t | Report

Monday, 2 December, 2002


Editors Note | This is the first part of a three-part series on the Homeland Security Act (HSA). The first part reviews the origins of the Act in the Hart-Rudman Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. Tomorrow, Part 2 will discuss Cheney's plan for global dominance and how that relates to homeland security. Wednesday, Part 3 will detail some of the HSA provisions themselves and briefly discuss what worries civil libertarians.


"It is far more dangerous and threatening to our few remaining civil liberties than he appears willing to suggest," writes Professor E. Nathaniel Gates of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law about William Safire's recent article on the Homeland Security Act. "I had the rather grim and unfortunate duty of reviewing the legislation to which Safire refers in some detail," says Gates.1

The Act, sponsored by Representative Dick Armey (R-TX) (whom the ACLU just astonishingly recruited as a consultant), and criticized by nearly every source on the internet, nonetheless passed the House 299-121. Why? Was it the continuing fear of terrorism?

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I do not think so.

Although Bush apparently did not seriously consider the Homeland Security Act (HSA) provisions until after the attacks, its provisions were, like those of the USA PATRIOT Act, in the works long before September 11.

The Act, furthermore, promotes the creation of what one senator once called "a global security system" controlled by the United States, not to mention a budding police state in America. This agenda falls neatly in line with the plan for American global dominance endorsed by Cheney, Wolfowitz, Powell, and Rumsfeld.

Finally, the Homeland Security Act was structured on the recommendations of a special commission that was closely connected to, if not derived from, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which one author notes "has had its hand in every major twentieth century conflict."


Homeland Security, the Hart-Rudman Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations 2

"[T]he proposal for a Homeland Security Department originated in 1998 with the launching of the so-called Hart-Rudman Commission," officially called the United States Commission on National Security/21st Century, according to William F. Jasper.3

The report issued by the Hart-Rudman Commission ("the Commission"), "Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change," is dated January 31, 2001.

The "Executive Summary"4 of the Commission Report ("the Summary") declares: "In the new era, sharp distinctions between 'foreign' and 'domestic' no longer apply." The Commission does "not equate security with 'defense.'" However, they "do believe in the centrality of strategy, and of seizing opportunities as well as confronting dangers."

"The risk," says the Summary, "is not only death and destruction but also a demoralization that could undermine U.S. global leadership." (Emphasis added.)

The Commission recommended "the creation of a new independent National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA) with responsibility for planning, coordinating, and integrating various U.S. government activities involved in homeland security. NHSA would be built upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the three organizations currently on the front line of border security - the Coast Guard, the Customs Service, and the Border Patrol - transferred to it. NHSA would not only protect American lives, but also assume responsibility for overseeing the protection of the nation's critical infrastructure, including information technology."

This is indeed the basic blueprint of the Homeland Security Act.

Of the "twelve" Hart-Rudman commissioners, Jasper writes, nine were members of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR or "the Council"), which Jasper calls "the semi-secret, private organization that serves as the most visible element of the Internationalist Power Elite."

According to the CFR, the bipartisan 14-member panel was put together in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga), to make strategic recommendations on how the United States could ensure its security in the 21st century.

The Council states that it is a "non-governmental, non-partisan organization" that "is dedicated to increasing America's understanding of the world and contributing ideas to U.S. foreign policy." Its stated goals are "to add value to the public debate on international affairs, energize foreign policy discussions nationwide by making the Council a truly national organization with membership across the country, identify and nurture the next generation of foreign policy leaders, and make the Council the source for ideas and clear and accurate information on key international issues for the interested public."

Membership to the Council is limited and based on recommendations by other members.

"[T]he 'conservatives' who populate the Bush administration - Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Robert Zoellick, George Tenet, Paul Wolfowitz, et al. - are drawn from the CFR stable," says Jasper. He also states that Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Representative Dick Gephardt are both CFR.

Bi-partisan? Lieberman sponsored S. 2452, an earlier version of the Homeland Security Act, which was absorbed into HR 5710, the final version that passed the House.

According to it's website, the Commission "was chartered to review in a comprehensive way U.S. national security requirements for the next century." The Addendum "provided a 'baseline' of the national security apparatus, and was completed in draft form by the summer of 2000 as the Commission's main Phase III effort began in earnest."

The Commission claims: "To our knowledge no product has been previously produced that describes the national security structures and processes of the U.S. government in such detail."

Those recommendations ultimately were followed closely by the Homeland Security Act, although Bush appears to have been reluctant to follow them before 9/11.5

Jasper's conclusion about the connection between the Hart-Rudman Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations seems sound. There is a significant amount of information about the Commission on the Council on Foreign Relations' website, including a report by a "Council-Sponsored Independent Task Force on Homeland Security Imperatives, Co-Chaired by Gary Hart and Warren B. Rudman, Directed by Stephen E. Flynn (2002)" which concludes that "America Is Still At Risk" and "Recommends Providing Federal Funds, Recalibrating Transportation Security Agenda; Strengthening Local, State, and Federal Public Health and Agricultural Agencies, Empowering Front Line Agents, and Supporting National Guard Units."

The Council states that the Independent Task Force "which makes recommendations for emergency action, included two former secretaries of state, three Nobel laureates, two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former director of the CIA and FBI, and some of the nation's most distinguished financial, legal, and medical experts. One of the country's leading authorities on homeland security, Council Senior Fellow Stephen Flynn, directed the Task Force."

The Task Force "does not seek to apportion blame about what has not been done or not done quickly enough. The report is aimed, rather, at closing the gap between our intelligence estimates and analysis-which acknowledge immediate danger on the one hand-and our capacity to prevent, mitigate and respond to these attacks on the other."

According to Jasper, Bush's homeland security proposal, announced nine days after September 11th, "follows the Hart-Rudman outline perfectly."

Jim Marrs wrote in his book, RULE BY SECRECY, that critics of the Council have noted "that the CFR has had its hand in every major twentieth century conflict." Marrs quotes one CFR insider, Admiral Chester Ward, retired judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy and a longtime CFR member, as saying that the one common objective of CFR members is "to bring about the surrender of sovereignty and the national independence of the United States ... Primarily, they want the world banking monopoly from whatever power ends up in the control of global government."6

According to Marrs: "Nearly every CIA director since Allen Dulles has been a CFR member, including Richard Helms, William Colby, George Bush, William Webster, James Woolsey, John Deutsch, and William Casey." Noting that Article II of the CFR's bylaws state that anyone revealing details of CFR meetings in contravention of the CFR's rules could be dropped from membership, Marrs concludes that the Council qualifies as "a secret society."

Sounds a little like the Bush administration.



1 Email to author, November 20, 2002 (quote used with permission). See Gates' bio at:

2 I have made liberal use of the websites of the Commission and the Council: and Quotes in this section come from their sites respectively, except Jasper quotes or where otherwise indicated.

3 William F. Jasper, "Rise of the Garrison State,"
This is the John Birch Society website, an unlikely source for such information. It is the only site this author found that expressly connects the Homeland Security Act to the prior work of the Hart-Rudman Commission and Council on Foreign Relations.

4 All quotes from the Executive Summary are from:


6 Jim Marrs, RULE BY SECRECY (Harper Collins, 2000). All cites on CFR from pages 31-8.


Jennifer Van Bergen is a regular contributor to TruthOut. She has a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, is a contributing editor of Criminal Defense Weekly, an adjunct faculty member of the New School Online University, a division of the New School for Social Research, and an active member of the ACLU.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER FROM UQ.ORG: does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the above article. We present this in the interests of research -for the relevant information we believe it contains. We hope that the reader finds in it inspiration to work with us further, in helping to build bridges between our various investigative communities, towards a greater, common understanding of the unanswered questions which now lie before us.

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