US Raises Alert Level at Military Bases

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 2:06 pm (UTC-5)
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Also Wednesday, top U.S. lawmakers said the Department of Homeland Security has made the nation safer.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said Wednesday the United States has been “spared another catastrophic terrorist attack” partly as a result of what the department has done. But independent Senator Joe Lieberman added the country has also been “just plain lucky.”

Lieberman and the committee's leading Republican, Senator Susan Collins, also expressed concerns about some of the agency's flaws, including problems with buying and using technology that did not work.

Lawmakers created DHS eight years ago to prevent a repeat of terrorist attacks. The new department combined 22 agencies and almost 200,000 employees under the leadership of a homeland security secretary.

A report released Wednesday but the U.S. Government Accountability Office praised the department for leading key initiatives to prevent terrorism. But it also said DHS needs to address ongoing management problems and spending issues.

DHS is the third largest U.S. government agency, with an annual budget of more than $50 billion.