In the wake of 9/11 , the U.S. government radically rethought how it ensures the safety of its citizens. From 2003 to 2011, Congress poured money into the newly created Department of Homeland Security, which grew from a handful of employees to thousands upon thousands. The boost in homeland security spending was aimed at aggressively preventing every possible terrorist threat. Privacy advocates, however, questioned whether the emphasis on perpetual vigilance and expanded surveillance really made us safer. The traumatized nation also reshuffled nearly two-dozen government agencies, including once-independent bureaucracies charged with patrolling the border, responding to disasters and securing major transportation systems. The swiftly created Homeland Security Department suffered from disorganization, wastefulness and initiatives that struggled to prove they were genuinely making the country safer. The question now isn’t “Are we safer?” but “Is the investment we’ve made worth it?”

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