On Wednesday, an alarming headline appeared on the website of USA Today atop an opinion column written by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "15 years after 9/11, a gaping security gap," it said.
The column was perfectly timed, coming just four days before the anniversary of the attack on the United States — a moment when the tragedy was certain to be on the minds of millions of Americans. And Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania, had a tough message for his readers: America is not safe. "There remains a gaping hole in our national security preparedness, coming from a largely ignored source," Ridge wrote.
The threat on Ridge's mind doesn't come from ISIS-inspired killers inside the United States, as in the recent attacks in Orlando and San Bernardino. Instead, the threat Ridge wrote about comes from the post office.
Parcels coming into the United States are not adequately screened for threats from overseas, Ridge argued, leaving a dangerous security gap that could be exploited by terrorists. In the column, Ridge said he was joining a new group called "Americans for Securing All Packages."
What exactly is "Americans for Securing All Packages?"
That's something of a mystery. But a little digging reveals a small example of the way money, power, and national security interact in Washington 15 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.