Past Features

July 8, 2017

The Nation opens Pandora's Box
Spotlight shined on US Customs and Border Protection

From American Border Patrol Web page -- May 23, 2017
The Nation -- April 25, 2017
Why We Need a Whistle-Blower in US Customs and Border Protection
The agency, which oversees Border Patrol, is one of the most opaque and unaccountable in our government.
    What we do know about the US Customs and Border Protection --- the federal agency that oversees our country's international trade, immigration services, and the increasingly militarized Border Patrol ---is worrying. We know that CBP has a long history of racial profiling, excessive use of force, and mass surveillance. We know that the agency has a budget of nearly $13 billion and, if President Trump has his way, will soon be infused with 5,000 new agents charged with fulfilling his anti-immigrant agenda.
    But what we do not know about CBP is in many ways more frightening. We don't know how many people the Border Patrol stops each year; how, why, and where Border Patrol operates its 100-plus interior checkpoints across the country; when agents engage in excessive use of force and what happens to them if they are caught doing so; or who, how, and with what technology the agency surveils in our country.
    CBP's budget is larger than the combined budgets of the FBI, DEA, and ATF; all told, it employs more than 62,000 agents and operates an entire fleet of planes, helicopters, and drones. The federal government spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other federal law-enforcement agencies combined. In the last 10 years, for both immigration and border enforcement (CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the government has spent approximately $170 billion. According to its own statistics, the Border Patrol interacts with around 27 million people a year, most of whom are US citizens, and yet they are also one of the least transparent federal agencies. As ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall put it, “We don't know very much about the Border Patrol, except that they are the most lawless, abusive, and unaccountable law enforcement agency in the country --- we do know that.” [...]
Coming at You From the Sky
    CBP is creating a “technological fortress, a big brother state connected to a greater surveillance apparatus,” according to Todd Miller, who described the agency's lust for technology as playing with “ineffective war toys.” The agency was widely criticized for championing boondoggle technologies such as SBInet, a failed surveillance-tower project that sent a wasted $1 billion to Boeing, or the grossly expensive and statistically useless drone program (which came with a final price tag of hundreds of millions of dollars, which CBP had mendaciously lowballed.)

Glenn Spencer -- July 8, 2017
This "Whistle Blower" Agrees
    While technically not an insider whistleblower, I have been sounding the alarm about US Customs and Border Protection technology for at least eleven years, but the mainstream media have some sort of Bose-type noise-cancelling thing - no one could hear that alarm.
    President Trump is the new sheriff in town and, while he is serious about the border, he is faced with CBP top management --- and a mainstream media --- who still march to an open-borders drummer. He is going to turn the ship of state around, but it isn't going to be easy --- or quick. There is going to be a lot of pain --- and a lot of prosecutions --- before this is over.
    President Trump and DHS Secretary Kelly are going to need all the patience and understanding we can muster to give them time to clean up the mess, but clean it up they will.