Thursday, April 7, 2016

We need to understand that more money thrown at the Border may not be the answer, better management would be more effective

The head of the Border Patrol Labor Union as well as being an active Border Patrol Agent, sites two instances of lack of management in our defense of the border.  Both show lack of intel gathering as well as lack of sharing intel within the Agency.  This was the testimony before Homeland Security Committee, to read the whole hearing go to this web page.

Please allow me to give the Committee two examples of how this is impacting our operations. When Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske became aware of this hearing, he hastily put together an operation aimed at interdicting heroin coming from Mexico into the United States. This operation is now in the fourth week of four and has been a complete failure. I personally spoke to the Agents participating in this operation and asked the following: • Were you given any idea of how this operation could be a success? • Were you given any intelligence that would help you be successful? • Were you given any training on how to conduct the operation? • Were you given any intelligence specific to heroin smuggling? • As a Border Patrol Agent, are you familiar with or ever worked at a Port of Entry? • Were you trained on how to work at a Port of Entry? • Are you aware that this operation is not only to seize heroin but to also gather intelligence? • Do you know if any heroin was seized during this operation? • Do you feel this operation was properly planned and communicated to the Agents assigned? • As per its stated purpose, do you feel this operation was a success? Except for one K-9 handler who was formerly an Office of Field Operations (OFO) Officer, none of the Border Patrol Agents whom I interviewed were familiar with operations at the Ports of Entry. All other questions were answered in the negative. This poorly planned and hastily put together operation cost tax payers thousands of dollars and achieved nothing other than allowing CBP to tell this Committee they are doing something

Let me give you another example, on February 23, 2015, a Bisbee, Arizona Police Officer made a routine traffic stop on a U-Haul moving truck. During the stop and while speaking with the driver the officer developed enough suspicion to call a Border Patrol K-9 Handler to conduct a free air sniff around the truck. While walking around the truck, the K-9 alerted to the presence of a controlled substance or persons inside the locked storage unit of the truck. Several thousands of pounds of marijuana were discovered inside the truck and it was later determined that the truck came from a home in Naco, Arizona. A subsequent search warrant was obtained and in the early morning of February 24, 2015, a tunnel was found on the property of the home. It is estimated the tunnel was used for several years prior to discovery. This was great police work and all officers and agents involved should be commended. It is, however, a complete breakdown of the intelligence cycle. Prior to writing this testimony I spoke with three of my former colleagues at the Brian Terry Memorial station. This station is assigned 3 to the area where the tunnel was found and all three were absolutely amazed that a cartel was able to run contraband directly under the nose of several hundred Agents for so long. They chalked it up to the lack of intelligence gathering by the Intelligence Agents at the station. The intelligence was never gathered even though agents assigned to that area believed that there was a tunnel in operation in that area for years.

Now this is a big part of the problem, the Governments answer as well as the head of the Agencies answer is always the same, give us more money for more people and technology, but can we first see if we can do more with what we have.

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