The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a lot of egg on its face.

DHS announced it would not pursue chemical testing at Chilocco after the tribes that own the former Indian school said they had not been consulted.

This was amazing news.

Apparently DHS was working with a lab based in Ponca City that had leased Chilocco, but DHS itself never talked with the tribes about the testing.

After several respected, local sources came out in favor of the testing, it appeared the experiment might proceed. Then the news from the tribes shifted local sentiment strongly against it.

All that was left for DHS was to beat a hasty retreat.

The CourierTraveler’s reporting played a part in bringing this controversy to the fore. So did that of the weekly Newkirk Herald Journal, the Ponca City News and the work of the office of Rep. Ron Estes.

The CourierTraveler eventually endorsed the testing.

But fears about it, scientifically unfounded, got out of hand before DHS effectively responded.

The department should have sent someone to this area to address those fears directly. 

It certainly should have consulted the tribes about the testing.

Even now DHS should acknowledge its failures in this matter to Estes and the House committee on which he serves that oversees the department.

The committee still has a lot to oversee in this matter, and also in regard to the competence of DHS generally.

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