MAY 22, 2012
In a troubling admission to Congress, a high-ranking official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has revealed that the agency charged with protecting the nation’s borders is plagued with internal corruption that could put the U.S. at risk.
What sort of corruption? The federal agents who are supposed to safeguard America against terrorists and instruments of terror are teaming up with Mexican drug cartels and alien smugglers, according to Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Thomas Winkowski. The shocking acknowledgement was made by Winkowski at a recent hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security.
In the last eight years, 138 agents from CBP have been charged with corruption and more than 2,000 have been charged in other criminal cases, according to Winkowski’s testimony before the panel. The purpose of the hearing was to address ethical standards within the DHS and its various agencies. Winkowski was there to inform the panel about CPB’s efforts to address issues concerning corruption and misconduct among its employees.
As America’s frontline border agency, CBP has more than 60,000 law enforcement officers and support personnel along the U.S. borders, ports of entry and overseas. This includes 21,370 Border Patrol agents responsible for securing nearly 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international land borders and more than 2,000 miles of coastal waters surrounding Florida and Puerto Rico.
The overwhelming majority of CBP officers serve with honor and integrity, Winkowski said, but a small minority have “disgraced the agency and betrayed the trust of the American public” by engaging in illegal and unethical behavior. That “small minority” is never the less enough to compromise national security. In fact, CBP is starting to conduct lie detector tests on its new hires and current workforce.
Some apply to work at the agency in order to help drug trafficking organizations move huge amounts of narcotics into the U.S., Winkowski admitted. “In some cases I believe that their sole purpose in wanting to become a Customs and Border Protection officer or Border Patrol officer is to infiltrate us,” he told the congressional Homeland Security panel.
This frightening disclosure comes on the heels of a federal report that said DHS determined the Border Patrol achieved its “goal” by gaining “operational control” over a mere 13% of the nation’s borders. That means the feds have the ability to detect and interdict illegal activity in just a snippet—1,107-mile range—of the nation’s foreign borders. Yet this is considered mission accomplished for the U.S. government.
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