Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Traveling - Homeland Security & Ebola

Should I say that is seemed obvious our DHS (Department of Homeland Security) should have been on top of the Ebola "US outbreak" all along? Well, I wish it was all so simple. I've spent the morning reading critical article after critical article and I don't think the reporters understand that the DHS doesn't have a magic wand. It can't snap its fingers and have trained and designated employees on the front line. Does this mean mistakes weren't already made? No, but I think the DHS does need to be cut some slack.... Here's why;

1. The one incident in the USA so far was because of a lie and the home country didn't catch it. This wasn't completely our fault. In fact, it was a Houston hospital who released the patient first, which was a security risk on its own.

2. The Homeland Security Department ordered agents at airports (and other ports of entry) as of TODAY so its staff can observe everyone coming into the United States for potential signs of Ebola infection. We had to coordinate people, training, procedures, etc. to ensure the DHS was meeting both the obligations of our security and its budget. Sending untrained staff to a location doesn't do anyone any good, in fact- this could have put more people in harm's way, so it did take some time to respond.

3. The Obama Administration has to make the final call. The DHS can't write unlimited checks, it needs approval and it needs a signature to perform certain actions. While it is easy to blame the DHS, it isn't as easy for the Department to get initiatives passed.

Going forward, I believe the DHS will do a great job of protecting our citizens from exposure to Ebola through airport and other entry point channels.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

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