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Written by Mark Nichols   

If you read American Police Beat, you already know that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell was forced to apologize after the state department of homeland security sent a bulletin to local law enforcement. The bulletin was intended to provide intelligence about potential security threats. The police agencies that received it said the information was re-hashed Internet garbage and useless as far as intelligence purposes. In addition to being worthless, the so-called intelligence report was also expensive.


The state paid one of the thousands of homeland security start-ups $100,000 for intel of such low quality that one law enforcement official described the contents as something one might find in the National Inquirer.

But now the controversial no-bid contract has been terminated and the state department of homeland security says they will do their own work from now on.

According to an article in the Post Gazette newspaper, Pennsylvania is hiring four analysts and a supervisor to work at the 28-member Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center.

The PCIC is part of the state police that already provides security alerts to government and law enforcement agencies, said Steve Crawford, chief of staff to Gov. Ed Rendell.

The new hires can't do any worse than the firm that used to produce intelligence. The Institute of Terrorism Research & Response, a private company based in Philadelphia and Israel, had been performing that work under a $103,000 annual contract.

A hundred grand seems kind of steep considering the fact that the company's "security bulletins" were compilations of news clips and Internet posts.

Pennsylvania Homeland Security Director James F. Powers, who had approved the contract, resigned because of the controversy.

In what many refer to as the "Post 9/11 gravy train," quality control and value for dollars spent are an afterthought at best.

The homeland security industrial complex is characterized largely by no-bid contracts and back room deals.

"What's wrong with the system will not be cured by the resignation of Mr. Powers," said committee Chairwoman Lisa Baker R-Luzerne, who presided over a hearing to learn the governor's plans to remedy the problem of a contract that she said "veered so far off track."

Looks like just ten years after the 9/11 attacks, people are starting to ask some questions about the wisdom of the ways we spend billions of tax dollars on the homeland security industrial complex.

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