Newly-elected Republicans coming to Washington this week to slash the federal budget might want to take note of a tiny federal agency in the rusting steel town of Johnstown, Pa.
The facility is called the National Drug Intelligence Center, and it was a pet project of one of the most prolific spenders of federal money, the late Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa).
Conceived in the early 1990's as a clearinghouse for all of the intelligence in the nation's war on drugs, the agency was installed on the fifth floor of a defunct department store on Washington street in the heart of Johnstown's decaying downtown.
For years, Murtha lavished federal dollars on the little agency, even as it struggled to find a mission and critics blasted it as unnecessary. After all, its function duplicated those of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI, both mature agencies with long track records of success.