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.
Smuggling and Trafficking
June 29th, 2012 - by Stephen Heifetz
May 9th, 2012 - by Edward Alden
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.
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.
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.
January 25th, 2012 - by Guest Contributor
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.
December 27th, 2011 - by Guest Contributor
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.
December 20th, 2011 - by David Olive
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.
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.
I just spent some time visiting the Homeland Security folks at the Laredo port of entry and ARNORTH in San Antonio. I walked away from both visits with the same conclusion – if we want to solve the problem of our broken borders and deeply flawed immigration enforcement, we have got to let go of the “security blanket” of arguing that we just have to get the border under control and everything will be fine. We are never going to secure the border by fixating on the border.
October 27th, 2011 -
During testimony on Capitol Hill, Chairman Issa gets into a tense exchange with Secretary Napolitano on what she knew and when she knew it regarding Operation Fast and Furious.
If you have been following the news reports concerning ATF’s Operation “Fast and Furious,” you are acutely aware that CBP agent Brian Terry was killed in the line of duty and some of the weapons found at the scene have been traced back to what is now known as “Operation Fast and Furious.” For various political reasons, including conspiracy theories, there has been and continues to be a feeding frenzy by reporters and commentators on both the left and the right. Everyone needs to take a step back, take a deep breath and look at the facts.
April 25th, 2011 - by David Olive
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has been making numerous public appearances throughout the country. I applaud Secretary Napolitano’s efforts communicating with the public, but what I do not understand is that among her many domestic travel destinations, Napolitano has never visited the one place Arizona where DHS has made a major investment – the area where the “SBInet” technology has been deployed and is currently being used with great success.
March 28th, 2011 - by Janice Kephart
New footage from March 2, 2011, shows seven drug mules likely carrying about $50,000 worth of marijuana each. The trail where the motion-sensor hidden cameras were placed is 80 miles north of the border, due north of the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, which has seen a marked increase in drug mule traffic since the creation of two “apprehension” zones on either side of the reservation’s boundaries.
March 17th, 2011 - by Chris Battle
The TSA is still engaged in a game of intellectual Twister, bending every which way to meet an impossible congressional mandate that it enforce the screening of 100 percent of all cargo — domestic as well as international. The new suggested deadline shoots for all inbound cargo to be screened by December. God bless the TSA for continuing in its creative efforts to meet the mandate without undermining security, provoking allies and clogging commerce.
December 2nd, 2010 - by Marty Ficke
I think we all need to take a deep breath and remember we live in a dangerous world. I worked as a Special Agent for the U.S. Customs Service and DHS/Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for over thirty years. In that capacity, I was assigned for a period of time to narcotics smuggling groups at Newark and JFK International Airports. While in this assignment, I was forever amazed at the various methods utilized by individuals to attempt to smuggle narcotics through the international port of entry. The bottom line – you could take nothing for granted. Should TSA be any less vigilant?
November 24th, 2010 - by Chris Battle
Let’s take a moment and view this patdown controversy through they eyes of the TSA. Nobody wants to be profiled. Nobody wants to go through scanners. Nobody wants patdowns. Frankly, nobody wants the TSA at the airports at all. And yet we all want the TSA to project us while we fly. The public is going to have to have a serious discussion about finding a balance between privacy and security. The obvious answer is profiling, despite the campaigns of professional privacy lobbyists against it.
A new and very interesting concept is growing among a community of dedicated national security professionals. Diplomats, soldiers, law enforcement officers, intelligence operatives, cyber warriors and development specialists are being aided by sociologists, psychologists, and policy academicians. Their unifying concept is that 21st century warfare in the post-9/11 world requires a different viewpoint than what we have applied in the past. This new integrated concept is called Fifth Generation Warfare.
September 14th, 2010 - by Chris Battle
If DOJ is going to sue the state of Arizona over its immigration law that is allegedly at odds with federal law, then why is the same standard not applied to California, which has legalized so-called medical marijuana and is pushing to fully legalize pot outright?
Elena Kagan’s nomination for the Supreme Court has once again reminded America that fairness and equal treatment are fundamental to the success of the rule of law. One of the most important criminal justice debates in recent history centers on the substantial difference in prison sentences for crack versus powdered cocaine possession, a disparity that has not only encouraged a misapplication of limited law enforcement resources, but more importantly, has been the source of unequal punishment for basically identical crimes.
July 21st, 2010 -
The hunt for someone to lead the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began in 2009, but it wasn’t until June this year that the Senate confirmed John Pistole as administrator. Security Debrief followed the confirmation process every step of the way and found the latest development in this week’s Air Cargo Week.