Skip to content

Judicial Watch • Amid Security Failures DHS Spends $20.3 Mil on Conferences

Amid Security Failures DHS Spends $20.3 Mil on Conferences

Amid Security Failures DHS Spends $20.3 Mil on Conferences

AUGUST 25, 2015

While it let Islamic terrorists enter the country, wasted huge sums on faulty equipment and failed miserably to remove criminal illegal aliens, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was busy blowing $20.3 million to host 1,883 conferences last year.

It’s the inconceivable tale of the colossal agency—with practically unlimited funds—created after 9/11 to prevent another terrorist attack. The agency’s various components include Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the scandal-plagued Secret Service and the famously inept Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to name a few. In 2015, DHS asked Congress for an astounding $38.2 billion to continue its “commitment to the security of our homeland and the American public,” according to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The agency must be agile and vigilant in continually adapting to evolving threats and hazards, Johnson writes in the budget request, adding that “we must stay one step ahead of the next attack, the next cyberattack, and the next natural disaster.” Preventing terrorism, securing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws are among the agency’s “basic missions,” Johnson states, even though we all know DHS has fallen short in all these areas. The failures involving the southern border have been especially well documented. In fact, just last month Judicial Watch reported that Mexican drug cartels are smuggling Islamic terrorists into the U.S. through the rural Texas border region.

While this is going on DHS and its various components polish up on a variety of skills at conferences that cost American taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, a federal audit reveals. This includes a dozen events that each exceeded $100,000. For those wondering what publicly-financed, extracurricular event could possibly merit such a large sum, here are a few examples: DHS paid $196,308 for a San Francisco forum aimed at preventing terrorism as well as “securing and managing our borders” and an additional $130,941 for a separate San Francisco shindig so 39 senior agency officials could engage with “key influencers and decision makers” in the cybersecurity industry.

The agency responsible for protecting the nation from terrorist threats also blew $179,053 on the International Oil Spill Conference in Savannah, Georgia, which focused on environmental impacts of oil spills and $125,348 on a Washington D.C. event aimed at “maximizing the benefits of gender diversity.” The idea behind that conference was to promote gender equity through a group known as Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE), a nonprofit created by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Treasury to address why women remain underrepresented in federal law enforcement.

A $110,993 “outreach” summit in Washington D.C. brought Customs and Border Patrol senior managers, transportation executives and foreign government partners together to discuss “securing and managing our borders” and a $108,617 Ft. Worth Texas conference provided a “platform for conveying information regarding relevant issues in immigration enforcement.” DHS also doled out $131,868 on the Afghanistan Pakistan Illicit Procurement Network Symposium in Tampa, Florida where discussions focused on preventing hostile nations and illicit procurement networks from illegally obtaining U.S. military products or sensitive technology that could be used against the U.S.

While all this costly nonsense is going on at taxpayer expense, the southern border remains dangerously porous, airport security is a huge joke and DHS gets exposed for spending $360 million on drones that have failed miserably after nearly a decade. The agency promised Congress that the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAC) would help effectively guard the Mexican border and, even after the experiment failed repeatedly, DHS asked Congress for another $443 million to keep it alive.


© 2010-2016 Judicial Watch, Inc. All Rights Reserved.