May 03, 2011

American Taxpayers Spend Billions In The Hunt For bin Laden

Ten years into the hunt against the world's most feared and hated terrorist, Osama bin Laden was finally killed in an encounter with U.S. forces at a mountain tourist town of Abbottabad, Pakistan. But the hunt for bin Laden has cost American taxpayer hundreds of billions of dollars, excluding the hundreds of billions more allocated to other parts of the budget used to strengthen domestic security.

The Bush administration quickly opened its purse after the Sept. 11 2001 attacks. The U.S. Congress immediately created a $40 billion fund to expand national defense and to hunt down international terrorist.

The Department of Homeland Security was given broad powers and at least 20 federal agencies were consolidated under it with one primary mission. And that is to prevent terrorist attacks in the U.S. Over the past 10 years, the department spent an estimated $240 billion for its mission and employs 216,000 people.

When the agency was first created, the Bush government allocated $37.7 billion for its budget which was raised to $50.6 billion in 2008. For 2012, the government is planning to spend some $71.6 billion on homeland security.

The amount is more than the gross domestic products of at least 132 countries in 2009, including Iraq, Croatia and Cuba.

But the spending did not stop there. The Defense Department also got their share of budget increases. Since 2001, the defense budget rose to at least $700 billion in 2010. That is more than half of the discretionary budget and about 20% of the entire federal budget.

Congress seems happy giving money to the Department of Homeland Security and all other agencies that involves protecting the nation.

Chris Hellman, senior political analyst at the National Priorities Project, a group that scrutinizes federal budget said, "Nobody wanted to be perceived as sitting on their hands after September 11.

Travis Sharp, a research associate at the Center for a New American Security, commented that "very rare" to see members of Congress question funding requests. "Lawmakers largely served as a rubber stamp for any budget that had to do with security," Sharp said.