AUGUST 03, 2011
While the nation’s Homeland Security secretary repeatedly assures Americans that the southern border is more secure than ever, a separate U.S. government agency has quietly issued an alarming report warning of “recent violent attacks and persistent security concerns” in the area.It’s like the Abbot and Costello version of government, where one agency can’t even coordinate with another to provide the country with a consistent story. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claims the Mexican border region is “as secure as it has ever been.” In fact, she embarked on a publicity tour to the area, using sound-bite opportunities to specifically deny that it’s infested with drug-cartel violence that often spills into the U.S.It’s all a mistaken “perception” because the area is in fact a “secure and prosperous” region, according to Napolitano. During a trip to El Paso Texas a few months ago, she claimed that “misinformation about safety” is negatively impacting border communities by driving visitors away and hurting local business. She proceeded to say that “some of America’s safest communities are in the southwest border region.” The media was invited to tag along and Madame Secretary’s proclamations appeared in newscasts worldwide.No such promotion of what appears to be a more accurate assessment, issued this week by the State Department, of the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border. Unlike Napolitano’s rose-colored glasses version, it mentions a “dramatic increase in violence” and nearly 30,000 narcotics-related murders in the last few years. The State Department report bluntly says that “the security situation along the Texas border has changed markedly from a year ago.”The culprits are sophisticated and heavily armed drug cartels competing with each other for trafficking routes into the U.S. In fact, a war between two notorious cartels has led to a “dramatic increase in violence” in two northern border regions, according to the State Department report issued this week by the agency’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). Large-scale gun battles often occur in broad daylight on streets and other public venues and U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area, according to the OSAC assessment.Using the term “narcoterrorism,” it goes on to say that “continued concerns regarding road safety along the Mexican border have prompted the U.S. Mission in Mexico to impose certain restrictions on U.S. government employees transiting the area.” Local authorities aren’t helping because “police corruption and police involvement in criminal activity continue to be a problem in Mexico.”As a result the violence is increasingly flowing north, even as the nation’s top Homeland Security official denies it. Just last summer a myriad of bullets fired into El Paso, striking City Hall and a public university building. The local sheriff said the gun battles are breaking out everywhere but his hands are tied because he’s legally forbidden from intervening in another country’s war. The disturbing incident inspired Texas’s Attorney General to send President Obama a letter saying his state is under constant assault from illegal activity threatening a porous border.
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