San Diego the latest destination for a screw-up move-up border tour
Chris Maston began his colorful career more than twenty years ago in El Paso, Texas as a Border Patrol agent. In true ‘good ole boy’ fashion Maston moved up the ranks and with each questionable indiscretion, his infamous Customs and Border Protection’s career followed the tried and true rule of “screw up and move up.” This dark path to the top has led to Maston’s new post as Port Director of the Customs and Border Patrol’s busiest port of entry in the country, San Ysidro, located in San Diego.
A press release from CBP stated, “Maston brings to the key San Diego position in-depth experience in overseeing large scale passenger and cargo processing programs. He most recently served more than two years as port director at the Miami International Airport, managing more than 1,300 employees at the largest international operation in the U.S. for air cargo and the second largest for international traveler processing.”
“Maston’s recent responsibilities overseeing international traveler inspections, trade enforcement and tactical enforcement operations will provide the tools he needs to manage the busy 24-lane port of San Ysidro and nearby 13-lane Otay Mesa border station where, on average, 63,000 vehicles and 134,000 travelers enter the U.S. each day, CBP DFO Morris said. Maston served from 2004 to 2006 as the assistant director of border security at CBP’s Miami Field Office. In this position, he oversaw border security operations for the Miami, Port Everglades, Key West and West Palm Beach ports of entry.”
Repeated attempts (phone, email and finally showing up at CBP port offices) to interview Maston about his new post in San Diego were all declined. Even when presented with questions regarding new port duties, what challenges he could face and the implementing of his cargo inspection program Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), the new director chose to hide in his office. This begs the question what is he trying to hide?
While mindful of the agency’s important border security mission, Maston said in a press release he will continue to support operations that have proved successful for the field office while striking a working balance between facilitation of legitimate travelers and the need for strong enforcement.
Does this mean Maston will continue his behavior that landed him on the “dontdatehimgirl.com” tell-all web site? The website geared to serial cheaters depicts Maston as a player with multiple work-related affairs. The posting (click here http://www.friendsoftheborderpatrol.com/thereport/CMaston-DontDateHimGirl-Post.pdf) contains a number of postings regarding his time as a top official in Miami.
Can Maston maintain a San Diego CBP Field Office that manages more than 1,800 front-line federal officers at border stations in San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Tecate, Calexico, and Andrade as well as the San Diego seaport and international airports? These ports completed approximately 66 million inspections of people, seized more than 145 tons of illegal narcotics and apprehended more than 42,000 immigration violators during the last fiscal year. One assumes this is a fulltime job requiring an enormous amount of time and concentration.
President Ronald Reagan summed it up as, “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession, I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
CBP’s own Miami Vice includes, guns, badges, drugs and sex-rings
The Miami Herald has reported a number of stories going back over 10 years and instead of thoroughly investigating and firing the participants, then Commissioner of CBP, Ray Kelly’s idea of discipline was to transfer individuals named is wrong doings. Many of these managers from the Miami area now run the Office of Field Operations and serve in many key positions. One such individual, Jayson Ahern, acting Commissioner of CBP was forced into early retirement because there was no place to hide and he was looking to make a clean getaway.
The practice called “screw up move up” takes place inside CBP by exploiting sexual favors with coworkers to work up the chain of command. For example an employee can screw up, not be charged or fired, and move up the chain of command at a later time.
Responding to a surge in agency misbehavior Thomas Winkowski, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Field Operations (formerly U.S. Customs) wrote a memo (Nov. 16, 2007), which the The Miami Herald obtained and wrote about in March 2008.
“It is our responsibility to uphold the laws, not break the law,” the Winkowski’s memo cites. He explains in the memo that employee arrests involving domestic violence, DUI and drug possession are occurring, however, court records show Customs officers and other DHS employees from South Florida to the Mexican Border States have been charged with dozens of far more serious offenses.
Winkowski called the misconduct “unacceptable,” and told The Miami Herald that while he wrote the memo because of an up tick in employee arrests, he didn’t believe the problem was pervasive. “Are there examples where we fall short? Yes,” said Winkowski.
Of course this is a bit ironic given that numerous Customs sources around the nation have also implicated Winkowski as part of the sex-ring, and his name was included in an infamous CBP internal email, which had the subject of: “Chapter 7, Sex, Lies, and Videotapes”. He was a port director for Customs in Los Angeles, in 1998 when he was transferred to Miami, while Jayson Ahern was transferred to LA by then-Commissioner of Customs Ray Kelly (current NYPD Commissioner).
“It is no use saying ‘we are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary,” Winston Churchill said during his reign and these important words could serve the CBP well.
CBP rank and file are honorable public servants
CBP is a great law enforcement agency. There are many dedicated and good people who go the “extra mile” everyday for our Nation, and personally it’s an honor to meet and work with these men and women, says Charles Houser an active CBP agent. “It’s also a privilege for me to speak up for them, besides my own observations, I have reported things fellow officers wanted to report but don’t because they fear of retaliation by upper CBP management,” Houser explained. “I have already faced every hardship and form of retaliation Management could come up with, and I am still here. When I feel concerned about the position I am in by coming forward, I think about something President Harry Truman once said; ‘When even one American -who has done nothing wrong-is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril.’”
He continues to explain; “America needs the U.S. Congress to take an immediate interest in CBP matters ‘frontline’ CBP Officers has brought to their attention. When I was a NYPD Police Officer I remember at least one Police Commissioner who threw the towel in on ever bringing violent crime under control in NYC and because he gave up, the community suffered desperately, but then along comes another Commissioner who saw things differently and he decided to change things and the result was NYC was and still is one of the safest cities in the world and the community prospers.”
Like the NYPD is to NYC, CBP is to the nation; they enforce federal, state and local laws, as well as regulate trade, commerce and enforce immigration and customs laws. “We can do all of this, but an organization can only be as good as its leadership. Therefore, I call on Congress to investigate my ‘whistle blower’ allegations since CBP management has refused to and conversely has engaged in retaliation and I also ask Congress to investigate other pending allegations and those that may face retaliation as the result of a Congressional inquiry. Congress has the oversight jurisdiction and these actions are necessary to ensure CBP officers and the public we serve have only the best and most qualified people to lead CBP with intelligence and integrity to fulfill our Mission,” said Houser.
It is also worth pointing out that Agent Houser served in the New York Police Department and received several departmental awards for excellent and meritorious duty. He also garnered a written commendation for undercover narcotics duty, but his two most cherished commendations came from the Police Commissioner in which he was cited for acts displaying a high-degree of integrity and faithful service. “It’s unnatural for me to be any other way,” Houser finished.
National security and immigration go hand in hand
Two important issues, illegal immigration and national security, have propelled the Department of Homeland Security into the public eye as it tries to prevent another 9/11-style terrorist attack. The massive size of DHS has done little to protect the country and many believe it has created another layer of bureaucratic go betweens incapable of controlling the higher ups sexual indiscretions therefore causing national security breeches to slip past unnoticed.
Normally it is company policy to keep wrong doings of employees under wraps and present a united agency front. However, in the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport where Maston hails, controversy and legal challenges arose all the time.
For instance, Elizabeth Moran-Toala, allegedly accessed company electronic data bases (Treasury Enforcement Communications System) to pass along information to a Delta Airlines baggage handler. The indictment charged the CBP employee with conspiracy and assisting a well-known drug ring allowing the transport of cocaine and heroin to New York from the Dominican Republic.
Numerous other South Florida cases include, drug and human trafficking, bribery, embezzlement, witness tampering and most notably rape.
The rivalry and cavorting taking place within the ‘old’ Legacy Customs and the ‘new’ CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has fueled an ongoing battle once the agencies were merged forming the Department of Homeland Security. Company moral continues its nosedive and a government survey ranked CBP at the bottom (222) for an employee satisfaction in 2007.
Employees in Miami continue to complain, file lawsuits and yet the contentious work environment fostered within the CBP continues to be treated as “business as usual” practices. Female workers can expect to be molested while working especially if it is their first year of employment as the agency bosses can fire anyone during their first year of employment for no reason. “I was personally groped by Mr. Maston at work. This degrading behavior happens in the workplace daily and it is tolerated. Those who complain can expect to be retaliated against and if you are new you are treated like a piece of meat,” said one female CBP agent in Miami.
Other practices common with the ‘fast-lane’ Miami lifestyle is drinking on the job as a method to release the tension within the agency. Most rank and file officers are sick about the crude behavior displayed in management and believe a cleaning from the top down is in order.
“One of the individuals listed in the document is a real piece of work. The Service Port Director of Miami, Chris Maston, was involved in a workplace sex triangle, leaving work early to meet other employees (some married to other DHS employees) in hotels and public parks in the Davie, Florida area. And these encounters were while he was on official time. This guy is a class act,” says Sarah D, January 02, 2009. “Winkowski was aware of all this and promotes him to an SES position. Then Winkowski puts out a memo on the importance of integrity for CBP employees on and off duty. I guess the memo only applies to the CBP officers…not senior managers or his friends.”
The sexual practices condoned within CBP have a well-documented past and most feel the agency is doing little to change the practice of sexual harassment within the federal government.
In fact one high-ranking CBP Official, David Longoria of El Paso, TX, among others were locally engaging in similar practices as Miami’s and elsewhere. However, it is here where Longoria (who is married), who according to sources was involved with two employees, had the misfortune of impregnating a subordinate, Christina J. Daly, also of El Paso who gave birth to a son. Daly filed with the court seeking to terminate paternity rights between Longoria and their son, which was ordered by Judge Patricia Macias on January 24, 2008. The case was filed in El Paso Court Records as Cause No. 2007-CM-6255, and was published as Exhibit 30 in Andy Ramirez’ Unjustifiable and Impeachable, the FOBP Report on DHS, DOJ, and the Courts (Nov. 11, 2008) link here http://www.advocatescouncil.us/impeachable.htm.
“In a very similar situation to the Miami and Los Angeles transfers of the 90s that The Miami Herald series documented, and that we included in my report, I understand that Longoria’s punishment, if you can call it that, was to be transferred to the El Paso Intel Center (EPIC) where he is now the current Deputy Director. It’s typical of the ‘screw-up move-up’ environment fostered within CBP to ignore this sexual misconduct by the brass. What does DHS do? They reward these degenerates with top promotions, transfer people around and tell them to cool out for awhile, or they install giant glass doors, none of which slows the party and antics,” stated Ramirez.
“Sexual harassment in a workplace is deplorable and should not be tolerated. The Department of Homeland Security’s culture of allowing and covering up instances of sexual harassment endangers female law enforcement officers and poses a potential threat to national security. The agency entrusted with safeguarding our borders should protect its officers from terror within, thereby allowing them to fully concentrate on their important mission. DHS has to put an end to the unacceptable practice of transferring perpetrators to other positions with impunity, while actively retaliating against victims of discrimination and hiding adverse findings against the agency from Congress in a direct violation of the No FEAR Act,” said Julia Davis, former Customs and Border Protection officer and national security whistle blower.
Another brave agent Houser said it this way; in closing, whistle blowing at CBP is Patriotic it’s not comfortable, but it’s important for our Nation’s future, for the resent and for our children, Mark Twain said it this way; “In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a brave and scarce man, hated and scorned. When the cause succeeds, however, the timid join him…for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”
For more stories;
Screw up; move up in play again in Customs and Border Protection;
National security breeches include discovery of bombs and missiles;
Acting CBP Commissioner Ayhern retiring, leaves a stained legacy;
Corruption in Juarez connected to bridges;
House of Death part one-a dozen murders;
House of Death part two-the cover up;
House of Death part three-keys to amnesty;