Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How US Counterterrorism Funds Ended Up in the Orlando Terrorist’s Pocket

Before Omar Mateen took the lives of 49 people in Orlando on June 12, he was a licensed security guard with British-based G4S, a company that rode the post-9/11 wave of counterterrorism budgets. The Florida shooting has focused critical attention on the company, which has been the subject of a number of embarrassing reports. But G4S is just a symptom of a larger problem: counterterrorism spending in the United States is generally poorly managed and monitored.
In Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism, published in November, John Mueller and Mark Stewart argue that public anxiety about terrorism has resulted in the rapid expansion of counterterrorist programs and investments, very little of which justifies its cost. By their numbers, the United States spends roughly $115 billion per year on domestic homeland security, much of it on a variety of agencies, programs, technologies, and other efforts to disrupt or deter domestic terrorism. They write that the counterterrorism field includes at least 1,072 governmental organizations and agencies, plus some 2,000 private companies funded by U.S. tax dollars. That means lots of money for companies like G4S, which hired Mateen back in 2007.    more