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|Jim Kouri||July 18th 2012|
Following what President Barack Obama's critics call his "amnesty announcement," instead of hiring more Border Patrol agents to cover the U.S-Mexico border, several stations are being shut down, which Border Patrol agents, through their union, claim will make it easier for illegal aliens to enter and remain in the country. In addition, it is a reckless move that makes the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorists entering the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, say law enforcement officials.
According to a Fox News Channel story on Friday, "[T]he Obama administration is moving to shut down nine Border Patrol stations across four states, triggering a backlash from local law enforcement, members of Congress and Border Patrol agents themselves."
"Critics of the move warn the closures will undercut efforts to intercept drug and human traffickers in well-traveled corridors north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Though the affected stations are scattered throughout northern and central Texas, and three other states, the coverage areas still see plenty of illegal immigrant activity -- one soon-to-be-shuttered station in Amarillo, Texas, is right in the middle of the I-40 corridor; another in Riverside, Calif., is outside Los Angeles," said the Fox News report.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it's closing the stations in order to reassign agents to high-priority areas closer to the border, said the report. Many within the law enforcement and counterterrorism communities believe this move may be politically favorable in Obama's quest to hold on to the Oval Office in November, but it does hinder U.S. defenses against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction which may be smuggled into the United States.
In an example of incompetence by the federal government agency created to keep Americans safe, the Department of Homeland Security has wasted $4 billion on a failed program to install crucial radiation detectors at U.S. border crossings, according to a government report.
Launched years ago, the costly effort was supposed to create and install detecting machines to intercept nuclear terrorists attempting to enter the country. The agency’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office was charged with developing and acquiring the essential equipment that could sniff out nuclear and radiological materials before they made it into the U.S.
But $4 billion later the machines are still not in place, according to a report (Combating Nuclear Smuggling) issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of congress. Even more shameful is that machines were created but can’t be used because they’re too big for border inspection lanes. Additionally, the software installed in the devices doesn’t work properly.
The Homeland Security agency that’s supposed to use the equipment, Customs and Border Protection, had “made it clear” that it did not want the nuclear detecting machines because they would not fit in primary inspection lanes and would slow down the flow of commerce and cause significant delays.
On a positive note, top officials at Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security admit that they are “mindful of getting something delivered that has credible bases for the implementation plan that follows.” "Perhaps some high-ranking government official can translate that into plain English for taxpaying Americans stuck with financing the extravaganza," said Judicial Watch officials.
In the meantime, lack of nuclear terrorist interceptors aside, the border is “as secure as it has ever been,” according to Napolitano. She said this knowing that in the past, using counterfeit documents and "posing as employees of a company with a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license, [GAO] investigators successfully crossed the U.S. northern and southern borders with the type of radioactive materials that could be used to make a dirty bomb."
In previous GAO covert operations "Red Teams" were successful in sneaking radiological material across both the Mexican and Canadian borders into the U.S. totally undetected. In 100 percent of the attempts by Red Team members, they snuck across the Mexican border and in 80 percent of the attempts they succeeded in getting into the U.S. with radioactive material.
Jim Kouri is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, and writes for the Examiner. He has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officiers throughout the U.S.