Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 6, 2006

DHS and the Hollywood con job

Filed under: Humor — by Christian Beckner on January 6, 2006

Bloomberg has just put out a fascinating story about the Department of Homeland Security’s unwitting role in a case of multi-million dollar Hollywood fraud, reminiscent of The Producers:

Joseph Medawar’s television show about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was supposed to be a drama with a difference, telling authentic tales of the war on terrorism with cooperation from top national security authorities, including President George W. Bush.

A promotional video on the Web site for “DHS: The Series” follows the program’s supposed star, Alison Heruth-Waterbury, on a mid-2004 trip to consult with Washington terrorism experts. “We’re here talking to some very important people in the government so they can help us create and make this “DHS,” Heruth-Waterbury tells viewers.

Her first videotaped VIP: fellow Californian Christopher Cox, then Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee.

Over the past two years, Bush, Cox and other officials who had at most passing contact with Medawar’s program wound up lending unintended credibility to a television project that federal prosecutors now call a multimillion-dollar scam.

Trading on Hollywood glamour and Washington power, Medawar, a Los Angeles-based producer of a half-dozen low-budget feature films, collected $5.5 million since 2003 from investors in “DHS: The Series,” prosecutors say. Television viewers have never seen a single episode.

It’s really a shame that this show was never made. The episode on C-TPAT would have been gripping.

Definitely read the whole thing.

Update (1/6): For more background, read this interview with the producers of the series on NPR back in March 2004.

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