Rush Beat Me to It
March 10, 2001
by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 12
This article appeared at Townhall.com on Tuesday, March 5, 2002.
Itís nice to know that once in a while my mind works like "the Great One!" When I first heard of the Shadow Government, what stood out for me was the magic number "100." When Rush Limbaugh made the point that the entire federal government could provide basic services with just 100 people in charge, I thought, "Yes!" At last, it appeared that somebody else understood just how grossly bloated and inefficient the three-million-person federal government had become.
But, having an "off-site" emergency location for the federal government is nothing new in spite of Senator Daschleís claims to the contrary. When the FBI hired me in 1964, I was told that there was a place within driving distance of Washington, D.C. where federal employees would go in the event of a nuclear attack.
We knew that in case of a national emergency somebody would be in touch with us, and we might be ordered to drive to the secret location so the business of government could go on. That call never came, and eventually my career took me away from "ground zero." But if a mere FBI clerk knew about this secret Shadow Government, I would suggest that a seasoned U.S. Senator knew a lot more.
Speaking of "more," the very size of the federal government may be one of the biggest threats to national security that we currently face. The size and diverse missions of our intelligence agencies, including the FBI, make them incredibly difficult to manage. The U.S. Congress and the White House have used the FBI as a catch-all law enforcement agency for every Tom, deadbeat-Dick and Harry legislative fix - from peaceful protests of right to lifers at abortion clinics, to piles of dirt investigated because of their threat to the environment, to deadbeat dads who run out on child support. Whatever politically correct agenda that could be turned into a federal case was made that much more important if you could turn it into an FBI case, and so they did.
FBI Agents who had been looking into the activities of real terrorists were improperly used to interview Christian churchgoers because they had shown up on some list of those who thought abortion was murder. Imagine two burly FBI agents showing up at your door because you simply exercised your constitutional rights. But Janet Reno thought this was just fine, as long as she could assist the White House in demonizing those citizens whose opinions differed from their radical-left political agenda.
The agencies and their leaders are not blameless. In Washington, the name of the game is not the real mission of the agency. No, the name of the game is how many budget enhancements you can get out of the present administration and the Congress.
Each Washington manager understands that to grow is to provide more management slots. The higher you go, the more you can get paid and the more power you can accumulate. Careerism is rampant in the federal government, and why is that? Because there are too many federal employees falling all over themselves trying to find something meaningful, important or satisfying to do. Since there is such incredible redundancy, they turn to the only mission that makes any sense to them anymore - getting ahead.
Somewhere lost in all of this is the real reason for the existence of these various federal agencies. On September 11, our federal government got a wake up call of the most extreme kind, but those of us who have been posting warnings were not surprised - except maybe at the size and scope of it. Consider though, in the case of real cynics, that there is significant surprise that it was not a nuclear device set off in the middle of mid-town Manhattan.
Some critics of America say we got what was coming to us. I say that just isnít true. We have the most wonderful form of government yet to be conceived on this planet. But what is true is that those who wanted to "give it to us" were given everything but a red carpet to bomb the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and they could have done a lot more to us because of the idiocy and waste of time of investigating "Big Tobacco" and peaceful abortion clinic protesters.
The Leftís obsession with Bill Gates and Microsoft brought us more than the fall of NASDAQ and an early entry into a mild recession. Misusing the assets of agencies like the FBI detracted from more important work. And, as we all know, itís very difficult to run a good foot race when your own obesity is weighing you down. The federal government has become fat and petulant.
Somewhere between the magic number of "100" and the three million federal employees we currently have on the roster is the correct and most efficient number we need to get us what we want. Maybe 9-11 will serve some good purpose if it causes us to reconsider the role and size of the federal government. After all, isnít the first job of government to protect its own citizens?