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Byline: Frank James
WASHINGTON _ The Homeland Security Department, marking its first anniversary Monday, is receiving two sets of first-year grades.
The Bush administration and congressional Republicans highly praise the department's accomplishments, while Democrats point to the areas where the new department has lagged in securing the nation's defenses against terrorists in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
While there is some election-year partisanship at play, both sides also lay legitimate claim to part of the truth. It's indisputable that the new department achieved much in its first year, bringing together 22 agencies and 180,000 federal workers in the largest government reorganization in more than 40 years.
The sheer size of the task, however, has meant that many goals haven't been completed, leaving the nation with significant vulnerabilities.
And the department got off to a less-than-optimal start shortly before it officially opened its doors last March 1, when efforts to get Americans to prepare for the …