Smuggling and Trafficking

Increase in C-TPAT Enforcement — and Enforcement Costs

As C-TPAT has matured, Customs and Border Protection’s emphasis on compliance is sensible, and CBP is to be commended for ensuring that the program is a real security program and not merely a “paper program.” But CBP also must be careful to ensure that suspension and revocation decisions are made consistently across C-TPAT membership and that decisions are made in a timely way and in accordance with transparent procedures. There is anecdotal information that consistency and transparency are not yet hallmarks of CBP’s compliance efforts.

Time to Measure Progress at the Border With Mexico

After two decades of pouring resources and technology into patrolling the U.S. border with Mexico, there are encouraging signs that Congress is about to start asking the right question: what exactly have we bought for all that money? But the administration is continuing to drag its heels. A May 8 hearing of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border and maritime security was intended to provide some answers to the critical question of how to assess progress along the border.

The Homeland Security Show with Janice Kephart

On Monday, I hosted the premiere of my new international internet radio show, “The Homeland Security Show with Janice Kephart.” My first guest was Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist William LaJeunesse, who has done the most extensive investigative journalism on the federal government’s arms trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious.

U.S. military concerned about drug trade opening routes for terror groups

CQ Homeland Security The top U.S. military officer overseeing South and Central America said Wednesday that his forces interdict only about 25 percent of all the observed illicit drug shipments transiting from his region to the United States, routes the military has reason to believe Iran might someday seek to exploit. Air Force Gen. Douglas […]

An Anti-Crime Strategy to Combat the PKK

This month, the U.S. Treasury Department designated three individuals as narcotics traffickers acting on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), or Kongra-Gel. That the PKK is deeply engaged in a wide array of criminal activities should not be surprising to those familiar with the group. U.S. authoraties have had success in targeting narco-terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah or the PKK, both of which should be of concern to law enforcement and intelligence services.

Former top-ranking DEA official links narcotics trade to terror groups

CQ Homeland Security If the United States wants to erode the power of Iran’s militant groups, Congress needs to pump more money into operations that combine efforts to stifle the international drug trade with countering terrorism, a former Drug Enforcement Administration official told lawmakers Thursday. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, militant Islamic group […]

The National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy: Closing a Window of Criminal Opportunity

Last week, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued the National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy. Unless you knew it was coming and happened to be keeping an eye peeled for it, the document may well have escaped notice—with its release on a Friday, in the heat of primary season, and in the immediate lead-up to the President’s State of the Union Address. This is something of a shame because the plan contains some welcome elements that, if well executed, could make a positive contribution to the field.

Customs and Border Commissioner Alan Bersin Resigns

By Nelson Balido
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin last Thursday announced his resignation effective December 30. For folks who monitor border trade and security issues, this wasn’t exactly a surprise. But it was still a disappointment. Nevertheless, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made the right choice in naming deputy commissioner David Aguilar as the new acting commissioner.

DHS Loses Court Case Against Union Pacific – Justice is Done

The decision of U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon – ordering CBP to halt the imposition of fines against the Union Pacific railroad in their long-running dispute over when the railroad becomes responsible for contraband found on their trains – comes as very welcome news. It was preposterous for CBP’s lawyers to seek multi-million dollar fines against the railroad for activities occurring in Mexico – activities over which they had no control. The ruling in favor of Union Pacific shows that justice can indeed prevail.

Money Laundering is Not Gun Running

It was recently reported that Congress is launching an investigation into the Drug Enforcement Administration, following claims that the agency helped drug cartels launder money – an operation some in Congress say bears striking resemblance to the failed “Fast and Furious” anti-gunrunning probe. While most of America is appalled at the “Fast and Furious” operation, myself included, money laundering investigations are a completely different, proven and accepted investigative technique when conducted properly.