Security lapses continue after Christmas day terror incident
In light of the seriousness of the successful, unsuccessful Christmas day terror attack aboard a U.S. airliner, President Obama promised to hold officials across the board accountable.
“It is my job to ensure that our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security systems and the people working in them are working effectively and held accountable. I intend to fulfill that responsibility and insist on accountability at every level.”
Sounds like some heads are going to roll- maybe.
Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, John Brennan spoke on the Fox Sunday show regarding the confidence the President has with his top three intelligence advisors. For now Janet Napolitano, DHS Secretary, Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence and Leon Panetta, CIA Director are on the good list according to Brennan.
In light of the heat Napolitano faced this week by saying the “system worked,” Brennan said he is honored to work with someone of her caliber. That being said it looks like the blame will fall to some low-level employee furthering the systemic failures that continue to exist within DHS. This is comparable to the infamous House of Death case where a low-level ICE handler, Raul Bencomo, was fired essentially for lack of candor, though his statements were good enough to use in the case. However once his use was finished so was his career and he was scalped for being at the bottom of the totem pole.
It has now been ascertained some detainees released from Gitmo have returned to the battlefield and intensified their efforts to kill Americans. Brennan suggests that he and others inside the White House have impressed upon the Yemeni government the importance of taking these former enemy combatants seriously. The White House has also stated they are more determined than ever to close Gitmo and approximately 40 detainees are scheduled to return to Yemen this year.
Looking to up the ante, the British announced along with the U.S. they will fund a new terrorism police force to track down terrorists wherever they hide.
The White House also stated due to elevated terror threats in the region, the U.S. Embassy would close in Yemen. “It concerns me that we are saying we will work with the Yemenis, but we are closing our embassy – we didn’t do that in Kabul or Baghdad. We need a platform to work from,” said Senator Kit Bond (R-MO). He went on to explain the U.S. should halt the release of Gitmo detainees.
“The Bush Administration needs to acknowledge they made a mistake in returning Gitmo guys to other countries and I hope Obama learns from their mistakes and leaves those guys in Gitmo,” Bond said.
Setting the tone for the Obama Administration war on terror was DHS Secretary Napolitano. She made it clear the word terror would be stricken from her vocabulary and let America know the new catch phrase would be a “man made disaster.” That didn’t turn out to be so “catchy.”
The key to all this is Yemen
Yemen has spelled trouble for the U.S. dating back to the USS Cole attack in October of 2000, which resulted in 17 deaths and no convictions have been made regarding the murders of U.S. sailors.
Yemen is also where American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is said to be a leader of an al-Qaeda cell responsible for mentoring Maj. Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood wacko that murdered 14 people, as well as the Nigerian terrorist aboard flight 253 to Detroit.
Unconfirmed reports stated that sometime in December al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone attack inside Yemen.
It has also been reported that the National Security Agency intercepted communications from al-Qaeda about a Nigerian attack months ago, but they never put two plus two together with the reports from the U.S. embassy located in Nigeria where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s father informed U.S. State Department officials his son had been radicalized.
There are many flights that make there way from around world to the U.S.; some cause customs officials to take notice. In particular, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) look at two weekly flights coming into JFK airport from Yemen, as the “Flying Jihad Flights.” CBP agents feel the Yemenis arriving in the U.S. who have possible terrorist ties are greater than any other flights entering the country. Many of these Yemenis possess a U.S. permanent resident cards or LPR cards even though they do not reside in the U.S. “With regard to terrorist cells here in the U.S., there is no doubt in my mind that they are here already and our liberal immigration standards have made it much easier for terrorists to travel into the U.S.,” said a CBP official who wished to remain unnamed for fear of work place retaliation.
“We have flights that arrive at JFK airport terminal one on Tuesdays and Saturdays with hundreds of Yemeni nationals carrying LPR cards, most of these people do not speak or understand English nor do they care to, furthermore most did not have jobs and are believed to live in Yemen, it is my opinion that they don’t seem to like us one bit, and myself and other CBP agents could see their contempt,” he said. CBP employees also contend they do very little background checking with Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) and most of these people are allowed inside the U.S.
Congress has a lot of work ahead of them if they are serious about protecting Americans from future terrorist attacks and their “knee jerk” reaction to the NWA 253 incident will not suffice in protecting the country from radical Islamic terrorists.
“Right now our leaders in Washington DC are searching for a scapegoat to relieve their own failure to address terrorism. The President and Congress will try to find a single CBP officer or TSA agent to blame for the Christmas day attempted bombing, but the reality is, Washington is to blame, CBP officers and TSA people are ‘handcuffed’ by ‘political correctness,’” a CBP agent said.
Currently the CBP is under the tutelage of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CBP can only enforce the laws on the books. Many rank and file agents believe if they are allowed to enforce the current immigration laws to the best of there ability America will be much safer. However, CBP agents express concern regarding airline Political Action Committee (PAC) lobbying groups who express the pressure to keep the lines moving in order to allow more flights into the country.
“At JFK airport many agents refer to themselves as ‘stamp monkeys’ because they need to stamp as many passports as possible in a short period of time in the name of expediency,” CBP agents complain. “What we need to do is provide the same immigration laws enforced at all ports of entry, and we need to end the airport or border shopping (this is where bad guys figure out which ports of entry are easiest to pass through immigration).
It has been previously reported in this series of articles that CBP Officers have been told to approve visitors through Customs Ports of Entry even when officers have noted invalid dates, documents in the possession of other than the proper individuals, and extremely hostile attitudes and feelings that are declared towards America.
One law consistently overlooked is the misuse of LPR or permanent resident cards. Many card holders aren’t living in the U.S. even though they are required to and enforcement is lax on confiscating offenders. By law CBP authorities have a right to confiscate the card the reality however is many CBP agents don’t do so because management doesn’t want to slow the lines down. “If we were to enforce this, it would send a signal to terrorists we are serious about enforcement and it would force them to change their entry tactics,” CBP agents across the board said.
“I have always said and I will continue to say, if officer’s in the field are allowed to do their jobs and enforce laws already on the books, and receive appropriate anti-terrorism training and then allowed to perform these duties, we can be ‘effective.’”
If Prime Minister Brown and President Obama want to find a reason for the terror farms growing around them they need look no further than their own noses and the thriving terrorist camps located inside many countries around the world including the U.S.
A thorough house cleaning is required within DHS starting with the top posts. Only then will the government have the necessary tools to make enforcing the law more effective at the nation’s ports of entry.
Currently at the helm of CBP are Acting Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar (Chief of the Border Patrol) and Customs head Tom Winkowski. Until there are changes at the top, most believe enforcement at the ports of entry will remain the same.
“As President Truman said, ‘the buck stops here.’ In this situation the buck stops with Napolitano. It’s time to clean house and stop compromising national security,” says Andy Ramirez border security expert and founder of Friends of the Border Patrol.
“It has been ten days since the Christmas day terrorist incident and the compromises continue. Many people are calling for Janet Napolitano’s head, as they should. Her statement ‘system worked’ was completely erroneous given the facts. Of course it would not surprise me if Aguilar and Winkowski reported something other than the facts given their previous testimony before Congress that also provided other than the truth. The fact remains the agencies are culpable for the continued and unforgivable comprises, as is Napolitano for her colossal gaffe. But the real question is when will Congress wake up, put a stop to the lack of candor from the Executive Branch, and use their oversight authority to clean house,” concluded Ramirez.
Currently at the helm of CBP are long-timers Tom Winkowski and David Aguilar, until there are changes at the top, most believe enforcement at the ports of entry will remain the same. “As President Truman said, ‘the buck stops here.’ In this situation the buck stops with Napolitano. It’s time to clean house and stop compromising national security,” says Andy Ramirez border expert and founder of Friends of the Border Patrol. “Eight days after the Christmas day incident and the compromises continue. Many people are calling for Janet Napolitano’s head as they should her statement ‘system worked’ which was completely erroneous given the info reported to her by agency heads, Winkowski and Aguilar. The fact remains the agencies are more culpable for the continued and unforgivable comprises when will Congress wake up and clean house?”
Another CBP agent concurs with the cleaning house within CBP and further explains that former CBP Commissioner Jayson Ayhern and Winkowski were never law enforcement officers. “They are leftovers from the snagging illegal contraband days when CBP was more concerned with nabbing importers of t-shirts with illegal use of Nike logos. Now the U.S. needs management who has a law enforcement background in order to fight the war on terror.”
It’s also important for Americans and for Congress to understand there is no such thing as tolerance of radical Islam; “It’s their way or the highway, if the British or U.S. took a hard line against Islamic extremists we wouldn’t be denying them freedom to practice their religious beliefs, we would be ensuring the rights of everyone in the free world to practice their chosen religious beliefs,” says concerned citizen Carol Simex.
Here’s something else to think about; “Our nation’s airports are really just interior border crossings, if we do not enforce immigration laws (JFK, LAX, Miami) it’s the same as illegals crossing our southern borders,” CBP agents say. “Make no mistake, our immigration laws are not being enforced at JFK, if they were, people entering the U.S. by Air wouldn’t go ‘airport shopping,’ but they are. People who enter and remain unlawfully within the U.S. are not immigrants, they are felons.”
According to the CBP website the mission of the Carrier Liaison Program is to enhance border security by increasing commercial carrier effectiveness in identifying improperly documented passengers destined to the United States. The FDAU also manages the CBP Fraud Prevention Program.
The goal of the Fraud Prevention Program is to increase fraudulent document interceptions through sharing of information within and outside of CBP. As the central repository and point of analysis for fraudulent documents seized by CBP, the FDAU provides training and training material regarding fraudulent document use. Information on fraudulent document use is shared within CBP and DHS and with other U.S. and foreign government agencies via monthly bulletins, according to the website.
Last year CBP agents processed 430 million travelers at our nation’s air, land and seaports; a vast majority 317 million of these crossings were made at one of the 102 northern border ports and 28 southern border ports.
During that time CBP officers intercepted more than 75,000 fraudulent documents and on an average day, CBP agents deny U.S. entry to 868 non-citizens. Approximately 45 criminal aliens attempting to enter the country are picked up leading to the denied entry of more than 334,000 aliens last year, according to the CBP website.
Heightened security measures
CBP alert level is currently yellow. The Homeland Security Advisory System provides guidance on the current threat conditions and appropriate response to those conditions.
It is the policy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to thwart the operations of terrorist organizations by detecting, disrupting, and preventing the cross-border travel of terrorists, terrorist funding, and terrorist implements.
There is a significant risk of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and the following rules may be applied as an outlined for protective measures; Increasing surveillance of critical locations; Coordinating emergency plans with nearby jurisdictions; assessing further refinement of Protective Measures within the context of the current threat information; and implementing, as appropriate, contingency and emergency response plans.
In another national security incident at Newark Liberty International, Homeland Security Department spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said a man was seen walking down an exit lane at Terminal C about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Screening was halted in the terminal while authorities looked at surveillance tapes to identify the man. This is not welcome news to travelers or DHS employees who are struggling to fix continued security breakdowns at the nation’s ports of entry.
What entrants can expect during a CBP examination
The CBP officer may request specific, detailed information about travelers and may inspect baggage or conduct personal searches.
It is expected CBP agents should treat travelers in a courteous, dignified and professional manner. CBP officers may not answer specific questions about an examination that is underway. Travelers may be subjected to inspections for a variety of reasons including; Travel documents that are incomplete; the traveler has previously violated one of the laws CBP enforces; a name matches a person of interest in one of the government’s enforcement databases or watch lists; or a traveler has been selected for a random search.
The Gitmo Dilemma
Now that terrorist ties have been established inside Yemen many Americans are questioning those in Washington D.C. decision to release detainees to a country with terrorist obvious ties.
The Obama Administration has renewed its commitment to closing Gitmo, despite a string of terror activities tracing back to Yemen.
“The last administration, President Bush made a huge mistake by sending the Yemenis back,” DeMint said on CNN. “The core leadership of al-Qaeda now is made up of those folks who were at the Gitmo prison. We can’t make that mistake again.” DeMint also suggested Obama’s continued plans to release 40 Yemenis back to a country where “numerous plans are hatched was irresponsible.”
President Obama’s lead counterterrorism adviser said Sunday; “clearly the system didn’t work” to prevent Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a plane, but he stopped short of saying that there was “no smoking gun piece of intelligence out there that said this guy was a terrorist,” even though the suspect’s father told American authorities of his son’s radicalization.
If this is any indication how the White House plans to handle the growing terror threats against the U.S. the failure to connect the dots will turn to business as usual.
One CBP agent summed the terror issue this way; “If we don’t tend our own gardens, its over. We can’t follow Europe’s lead on this issue.”
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
DHS gaffe nearly results in Christmas air disaster