President Obama campaigned on change, giving Border States hope with the appointment of Arizona’s Janet Napolitano to Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, however this is where the hope and change ended and business as usual persisted.
A recent press release titled “Secretary Napolitano and Mexican Finance Secretary Agustin Carstens Sign Enhanced Declaration of Principles to Strengthen Bilateral Economic and Security Cooperation” from Napolitano’s office, the release unequivocally proves this case; “Protecting the interconnected security and economic interests of the United States and Mexico depends on close collaboration between our two nations,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Secretary Carstens and I will continue to work together to coordinate efforts to crack down on violent drug cartels along the Southwest border while facilitating the flow of travel and trade.”
The release continues to highlight America’s intent to speed up the flow of human and cargo traffic into the U.S. notwithstanding exactly what and who is getting across the borders in the name of speed. “We are building upon a longstanding relationship and cooperation, which have derived extraordinary results, particularly in matters of trade facilitation to legitimate stakeholders and law enforcement,” said Secretary Carstens. “However, today’s world demands from us a more intelligent and coordinated way to protect our borders and facilitate trade.”
The new joint initiatives and long-term programs used by the U.S. and Mexico are said to augment information-sharing mechanisms and coordinate border management
policy framework for engagement on multiple fronts, “including emphasizing professionalism among law enforcement personnel through integrity-related training and the sharing of best practices and establishing improved mechanisms for information-sharing.”
These new tempered caveats only add to the already expanding relationship with Mexico. Since January the Obama Administration has signed three agreements building on unprecedented levels of collaboration between the two nations. The agreements are designed to combat transnational crime, increase law enforcement partnership and amplify the flow of travel and trade along the Southwest border.
However, the breakdowns at ports of entry have now been established in several stories, using numerous employee statements. Instead of strengthening the borders this administration has only broken them down further. DHS has even weakened the E-Verify method of exposing illegal aliens, and slowed its detention and deportation programs. In hearings on Capitol Hill today, Senator Jeff Sessions-R AL railed Napolitano’s stance on enforcement of these very issues.
Miami, More Porous than the Southwest Border, But the Party Continues
This leads us back to Miami Ports of Entry and statements made by employees that Customs officers were side-stepping enforcement and not using the secondary inspection areas as they were intended, of coarse this has been commonplace for years throughout U.S. customs service.
This is never more obvious than the non-checking of foreigners or green card holders in the U.S. Ports of Entry. A Miami Customs employee explains of such an instance that the source had personal knowledge of. “A Russian mob individual came through Customs and a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) flag appeared on the computer screen which prompted a series of questions accompanied by unacceptable answers. The officer then proceeded to escort this person to secondary where the supervisor told the officer to kick the person free. The officer was appalled and then called the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) who put out the BOLO. They responded immediately and said they had been looking for this person for a number of months in connection with several international crimes.”
These types of issues unfortunately are not uncommon at the Miami Port of Entry.
An additional issue seeing an increase within the United States is the anchor baby law. America has one of the most liberal anchor baby policies in the world. All one has to do is make into the country before they have their baby and- boom instant legal American status for both baby and parents.
Another point of contention that often gets glossed over is the fact individuals traveling in and out of the country continue to be allowed to enter using documentation that has expired or isn’t even theirs.
“This is fraud and illegal, yet it continues to be condoned at Customs,” said another employee. “This again goes back to the need to keep the lines moving quickly.”
There have been repeated orders from superiors who order agents to clear individuals even if they are tagged with a BOLO.
“I have come across people entering the country with drugs, illegal contraband and other stolen items. I am ordered to continue processing these people. Some of them have entered the country several different times without any consequence other than officers who query them to no avail,” said the officer.
Stories regarding high ranking CBP officials going to parties and accepting gifts from foreigners, which is illegal, who conduct business at Miami Ports of Entry continue to take place, even though these parties make the local newspapers and are subject to criticism from dedicated CBP officers.
These parties are similar to CBP sex-ring parties that have been fully documented in the Miami Herald and are not limited to Customs and Border Protection Ports of entry in Miami. They have also been reported at the Houston CBP office and they take place within the important cargo department, which has fell victim to serious security breeches in the past few months.
CBP Cargo Programs, A Bigger Waste Than The Secure Border Initiative
Remember that there has been a purge at DHS in CBP where Border Patrol Agents from all ranks including Chief Patrol Agent, Deputy Chief, Assistant Chief, and other top ranks, as well as Customs where senior officers, as well as supervisors, and mid-management officials were purged and forced to retire years ahead of the mandatory retirement of age fifty-seven.
While on the topic of security compromises, there are two examples that require reporting at this juncture. The first one involves a seizure that took place at a Houston, TX Port of Entry on May 13, 2004. Without getting into extensive details that may compromise operational policy and any officers that were on duty, the details will try to condense this matter.
According to a report authored in November 2008 by Friends of the Border Patrol founder Andy Ramirez titled ‘Unjustifiable and Impeachable,’ “A freight shipment was seized by officers and also placed on hold. A mid-management supervisory customs officer ordered an officer to report to the office and take care of the hold that this supervisory officer was sending over. The officer believed that the supervisor implied the officer was to release the shipment. The officer also felt that the supervisor did not have a valid reason to override the seizure and release it, which was based on the supervisor having looked it over and accordingly determining the shipment was okay with the exception of some minor errors. In fact, not only did the officer feel that releasing the freight did not meet proper agency guidelines, but that the officer was told there were possible terrorist connections to that particular shipment.”
A second incident identified in the FOBP report came from a copy of emails received, which have been redacted due to the operational policies that would be revealed. There were two recent incidents, one of which occurred on February 19, 2008 and involved imported shipments that entered the United States at the Champlain, NY Port of Entry. The shipments originated in England, passed through Montreal Canada, before entering the U.S., and involved Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls; Supporting documents that are required for temporary import and subsequent export of unclassified defense articles. In this case, both imports involved these types of licenses and the unclassified defense articles consisted of a Paveway 2 missile and missile system (in this particular matter) and live ordinance in the form of bombs (in the other).
The following is a redacted excerpt from an exhibit in the FOBP report: “We were also given information by the license holder, Ridgeway International that indicates the original license did not exist at the time this shipment entered the United States through the Port of Champlain. The same license was not presented to CBP in Houston a week later on a shipment of a Paveway Two missile and missile launching system, but they are claiming the shipment falls under this license.
The Customs Broker, A.N. Deringer, is not registered with the Department of State, Department of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) nor are they listed anywhere on the license. This is mandatory by law under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR 129. In Ramirez words, “the paperwork was completely fouled up by inexperienced, untrained personnel. Had these live munitions wound up in the wrong hands, we could have had a catastrophic matter on our hands. Let’s say a terrorist would have taken some form of radioactive material from something like a hospital X-ray machine, he could have detonated a dirty bomb. We were very fortunate that those officers who caught this matter in Houston were as well trained as they are.”
The incidents addressed by FOBP in their report clearly raise questions as to compromises in security similar to those taking place at the ports of entry. Some officers are placed with knowledge of their own area, such as entry or exit, and the corresponding programs of one, but not others. As a result, we are inviting some potential disasters. DHS needs to provide proper training for all employees who are likely to be called upon to handle various responsibilities, and not have supervisory managers place officers in situations where they are insufficiently trained.
Ramirez also states in the report that, “supervisors need to realize that if a freight shipment is on hold or seized, a once over glance type of inspection should never be enough to move shipments or traffic.
At the same time, we need to consider that given incidents raised elsewhere within this report, and given the lack of trust and culture of corruption so rampant within DHS that supervisors are in a position to take an officer that is lacking proper training, and place him/her in a situation where that officer is unqualified for that particular temporary role due to not having qualified, let alone be trained for that new responsibility.
The purpose, given the pattern we see in today DHS, is to set an officer up, where the shipments being processed through the ports of entry and place an officer in a position of responsibility for an incident. With the pattern of abuse that is so rampant inside CBP, an inquiry would not involve the supervisory officer beyond a few questions, as it will focus on the employee ordered to handle an area he/she is untrained for. The bogus investigation would clear management and lead to charges against the employee. It is no wonder employee morale has been destroyed since the merger into CBP from the Departments of Justice and Treasury,” concludes Ramirez.
The after effects of 9/11 culminated in the formation and dysfunction of DHS and as such have created a false sense of security for the U.S. “The combination of agencies has broken down our national security because it is impossible to be comfortable with required job duties with only a few years of experience. This is exactly what America has since the merge and purge of Customs Legacy,” a veteran inside source revealed about the Houston CBP office.
Employees within the Houston agency and throughout CBP target Container Security Initiative (CSI) as an ineffective tool that secures all the cargo entering our country. CSI was intended to help increase security for containerized cargo shipped to the U.S. from ports around the world.
CSI specifically addresses any threats to national security through the ports of entry posed by any potential terrorist that uses a maritime container to deliver weapons. This seems straight forward enough, yet as we now know, there have been several breeches in this specific agency and bombs /missiles have made their way into the U.S. despite being flagged by senior CSI officers.
CBP sources in Houston say the CSI program has lent itself to many national security breeches and many claim this program is ineffective and must be disbanded.
“The money that is wasted in this intra-agency program is not well spent. Many of the new personnel assigned to this agency lack the skills necessary to adequately protect the country from illegal weapons entering the U.S.,” a veteran agent explained. “The training many of our officers receive now comes in the form of virtual-based software. It offers no real world application. I know this because I’ve had extensive training.”
Another program failing to make the grade is the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) Enforcement. This program offers seminars for on-duty officers to sign up for and attend specialized training. “This type of training is very expensive and extremely hard to monitor. It also adds to the bloated government we all complain about, yet never do anything to solve the over-spending problem,” a senior CBP officer said. “Our government has been asked to fund all these types of ineffective programs to the tune of $20.9 billion. Trust me when I say this money is not well spent.”
Expediting human and foreign cargo remains a high priority within CBP; C-TCPAT is a perfect example of this. “Somebody has to be profiting from all this ‘family-owned’ business that is providing the agency with all the equipment and training required to implement many of these ineffective and expense new programs,” Officers claim. “However, the joke is on us as the country is less secure due to less experienced people holding these top jobs, who got their jobs without being qualified for them.”
CBP’s ACE Program, Inadequate Training But Someone’s Making Money
Sources also claim that many new agents being fast-tracked through online classes. The online classes offer a range of lessons regarding law enforcement without offering any practical experience. Many of these new recruits are given badges and weapons that haven’t been through formal weapons training.
The Ports of Entry are also expected to completely transition into the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), a cargo-processing program developed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to facilitate trade while strengthening border security.
The ACE Secure Data Portal, essentially a customized Web page, connects CBP, the trade community and participating government agencies by providing a single, centralized, online access point for communications and information related to cargo shipments, according to CBP website.
Highlights of the ACE cargo system include users to monitor daily operations and identify compliance issues, update account data, merge accounts, ensure accuracy of account information. There are approximately 17,000 ACE portal accounts including 3,000 importer broker accounts and 14,000 carrier accounts and the CBP is responsible for all of these daily cargo transactions.
So far CBP has collected more than $40 billion in duties and fees paid through ACE’ monthly statements since its partial inception of July 2004.
The rosy picture painted by CBP hardly explains the real problems that accompany the ACE program. According to senior officers the training offered by the company is insufficient and the lack of training is creating a national security issue.
“When I called ICE to work out some of the program glitches I was told to not worry about it. It’s no big deal,” a CBP officer said. “It’s this type of behavior by insulated managers that will be responsible for the next attack in this country.”
A question that must to be asked is if Congress has appropriated massive money to DHS for these programs that are ineffective and operated by grossly under-trained officers, what is the benefit to national security given the agency’s constant requests of increased funding? Alternately, it should be asked who is benefiting or profiting from the contracts being awarded?
National security breeches, an unwilling management team to address the serious issues within CBP, insulated throughout the agency by incompetent leaders who earned their positions by participating in a sex ring, and untrained personnel operating at our cargo ports of entry seem to be setting up America’s destiny – another 9/11-style attack.
For more stories;
Acting CBP Commissioner Ayhern retiring, leaves a stained legacy;
Corruption in Juarez connected to bridges;
House of Death part one-a dozen murders;
House of Death part two-the cover up;
House of Death part three-keys to amnesty;