Tags Posts tagged with "Department of Homeland Security"

Department of Homeland Security

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Border Sentry
Vigilance and an honest day's labor - No wonder Democrats hate our Border Patrol agents!

National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for reporting corruption and misconduct in agency management, including a disturbing order issued to officers directing them not to patrol a vulnerable stretch of the northern border with Canada. Judicial Watch has obtained government documents and interviewed numerous sources with direct knowledge of the situation, which appears retaliatory.

The ordeal began in mid-April when Judd, who heads the union that represents some 16,000 Border Patrol agents nationwide, denounced a directive to agents to purposely leave a 40-mile section of the Havre Sector in Montana unsecured. The Havre station covers approximately 108 miles of international border with Canada and much of it is sparsely populated.

A conservative news outlet obtained a document from a Havre Sector Border Patrol manager ordering agents to leave 40 miles of Montana border open and unpatrolled. In an article, various Border Patrol agents blamed Obama-era policies and widespread corruption in the Havre Sector’s upper management. One agent said criminal cartels exploit border weaknesses daily so they’re certain to exploit such a large area of open and unpatrolled border.

The federal officers spoke on the condition that their identity be kept anonymous, clearly because they feared retaliation. However, Judd, a veteran Border Patrol agent, went on the record and now DHS is going after him. In the news story Judd revealed that in recent years the Havre sector has seen more complaints than any other sector.

The union chief also criticized DHS Secretary John Kelly for endorsing Obama-era open border policies and condoning his predecessors’ (Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson) failures. Judd also said this in the article: “President Trump is the president of the common citizen and the choice of the rank-and-file Border Patrol Agents; unfortunately there are those highly paid career managers who want to believe they’re above everyone else — up to and including the President of the United States.”

Secretary Kelly’s DHS management team responded by launching an investigation into Judd, accusing him of “unauthorized disclosure of law enforcement information” in the news story referenced above. In a letter to the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Border Patrol Council’s legal division writes that nothing in the article qualified as law enforcement sensitive information, though such disclosures are protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) as well as the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA).

The article did not specify the exact location of the 40 miles, whether the 40 miles was contiguous or even the Border Patrol station within the Havre Sector where the order was given, the letter states. “Based upon the law, DHS/OIG cannot legally sustain any allegation that Mr. Judd improperly disclosed law enforcement information,” the letter says. “Also, we understand that DHS/OIG is only the investigatory body responsible for gathering the facts and that any threatened or actual personnel action would be taken by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As a result, we are forwarding this memorandum to CBP as well as the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to ensure that no threatened or actual personnel action be taken against Mr. Judd.”

Originally, the agency watchdog launched a probe into allegations of corruption divulged by Judd in an electronic mail to Border Patrol Chief Ronald Vitiello and Associate Chief Rodolfo Karisch. In the email, titled “Allegation of Corruption,” Judd cited evidence he believed showed that an operations change at the Havre Sector was “due to either corruption, retaliation, or for political purposes.” Judd expressed concern for the safety of agents as well as the public and the DHS OIG launched a criminal investigation into Havre Sector management officials.

At some point in the corruption probe of Havre Sector management, the watchdog initiated an administrative investigation into Judd for reasons that aren’t clear. Judicial Watch reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the 60,000-employee agency that encompasses the Border Patrol, but calls went unanswered. The administration’s official reason for going after Judd is the “unauthorized disclosure of law enforcement information.” In a document obtained by Judicial Watch, the DHS OIG warns Judd that he may be subject to disciplinary action that includes termination.

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Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has called for a probe into “potentially fraudulent statements and misrepresentations” made by a Chinese company, that is openly promoting investments in property which are partly managed and operated by the family company of White House adviser Jared Kushner.

Reuters has highlighted that Grassley cited one of its news reports in a letter on May 25, to the Department of Homeland Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission calling for the investigation.

The Republican senator is asking the two agencies to review claims made by Qiaowai, the Chinese firm involved, in the marketing and promotion of the One Journal Square project in Jersey City, New Jersey, to potential investors from the Chinese market.

“Given all of these concerns, a closer look at Qiaowai Group and the U.S. Immigration Fund are clearly warranted, as reports suggest both companies have long employed questionable practices,” Grassley wrote.

Kushner Companies and Qiaowai are seeking investors to finance a couple of luxury apartment buildings for what appears to be a part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program. Through this program, immigrants can get US visas in return for a $500,000 investment in a business in the US.

According to a recent report in the New York Times, the Chinese company bragged about its connections to President Donald Trump and promised investors that Trump would make sure their visas will be approved.

Earlier this month, Nicole Meyer, Jared Kushner’s wife came under fire for allegedly using her brother’s position in the White House to attract potential investors.

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It appears that Islamic extremists are infiltrating the United States in growing numbers yet government figures show that foreigners are hardly ever removed from the country on terrorism grounds. This is not surprising considering the Obama administration regularly shields criminal illegal immigrants with extensive rap sheets from deportation. Why not extend the privilege to terrorists?

In fiscal year 2015 only two of the 176,397 removal orders requested by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were based on terrorism concerns, according the government figures released this month by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonprofit university group dedicated to researching the U.S. government. That amounts to about one thousandth of one percent, TRAC points out, disclosing that in fiscal year 2014 DHS sought only three such orders based on terrorism concerns. During the first two months of fiscal year 2016, no removals have been sought by the administration on the bases of terrorism-related activities, TRAC states citing the government figures.

This unsettling information comes amid a recent wave of Somalis charged with terrorism in Minnesota, not to mention the savage attacks in San Bernardino, California by Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) sympathizers, one of them a Pakistani who entered the U.S. with a “fiancé visa.” It’s difficult to believe that the tally of noncitizens that could or should be removed by the feds for terrorism related activities isn’t much higher than the government figures show.

Earlier this year Muhammad Abdulaziz , a Kuwaiti born man of Jordanian descent, shot and killed four Marines and a Navy sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee after spending time in the Middle East. Remember that the Boston Marathon bombers were Chechen terrorists who could have been deported years before they attacked, especially the older brother (Tamerlan Tsarnaev) who had been arrested and/or convicted of domestic violence.

This week a 10th Minnesotan, yet another young Muslim Somali man, was charged with conspiracy to help ISIS. His name is Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, he’s 20 years old and lives in Eagan, which is located south of St. Paul with a population of around 65,000. Warsame was among a group of 10 men from the Twin Cities’ large Somali community who planned to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS, according to the federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Warsame and his fellow Somali terrorist pals gathered at a local mosque to watch videos glorifying religious violence and Warsame paid $200 to have a third party get him an expedited passport to travel abroad to join fellow jihadists, the feds state in their complaint. Three of the accused have already pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, one is in Syria and five are scheduled to be tried next year.

In a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) affidavit included in the court documents, the agency reveals that Warsame and his buddies planned to travel to Syria by driving to Mexico and flying from there. Here’s another lovely tidbit from a local newspaper report; Minnesota is believed to have produced more would-be foreign fighters than any other state. There’s an upside, though. The area has a Muslim community that’s “exceptionally engaged with efforts to counter extremism.”

For those wondering why ISIS and ISIL are sometimes used interchangeably in the media and elsewhere, here’s an explanation straight out of Warsame’s complaint: “In an audio recording publicly released on June 29, 2014 ISIL announced a formal change of ISIL’s name to Islamic State. This terrorist organization will be referred to as ‘ISIL’ for the balance of this affidavit.” The U.S. government also uses the following aliases when referring to ISIS or ISIL, the complaint states: Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi al-‘Iraq wa ash-Sham, Daesh, Dawla al Islamiya and Al-Furqan Establishment for Media Production.

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homeland security

At least 72 employees from the Department of Homeland Security are listed on a U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a top Democratic.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) explained during an interview with Boston Public Radio that Congress investigated DHS—and found that a shocking number of their employees were also being investigated for terrorism.

“Back in August, we did an investigation—the inspector general did—of the Department of Homeland Security,” Lynch said in his interview, “and they had 72 individuals that were on the terrorist watch list that were actually working at the Department of Homeland Security.”

He added that, while “the [former DHS] director had to resign because of that,” DHS has taken almost no action to fix their systemic problems.

For Lynch’s part, he has “very low confidence” in DHS’s ability to keep Americans safe—and he blames the federal government for poor oversight, and letting DHS get away with their laundry list of problems.

“I have very low confidence based on empirical data that we’ve got on the Department of Homeland Security,” he explained.

“I think we desperately need another set of eyeballs looking at the vetting process. That’s vetting that’s being done at major airports where we have a stationary person coming through a facility, and we’re failing 95 percent of the time.”

But in addition to failing at airport security, which itself is largely a reactionary response to attacks that happened more than fifteen years ago-9/11—he fears that DHS might be even more inept at planning for future attacks. Namely, its inability to figure out who’s coming into our country, and how to keep them from committing attacks on the American people, like the terrorist attacks last week in San Bernardino, California that left 12 dead at a company holiday party.

“I have even lower confidence that they can conduct the vetting process in places like Jordan, or Belize or on the Syrian border, or in Cairo, or Beirut in any better fashion, especially given the huge volume of applicants we’ve had seeking refugee status,” Lynch said.

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After squandering a billion dollars—87 million in the last year alone—on a useless system to detect biological attacks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) insists on wasting more money on the flawed program because the government has no back up plan to deal with bioterrorism.

It’s only taken 12 years and an enormous waste of public funds to figure out that the faulty system, known as BioWatch, can’t get the job done. Nevertheless, DHS apparently believes that it may eventually work properly if taxpayers keep throwing cash at it.

One senior DHS official, Jim H. Crumpacker, tries to justify further investing in BioWatch by stressing that bioterrorism “remains a continuing threat to the security of our nation” and BioWatch is the government’s only “biosurveillance system designed to detect the intentional release of select aerosolized biological agents.”

The unbelievable revelation came in a scathing federal audit, released this week by the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), of the failed biosurveillance system. Congressional investigators are recommending that the government “not pursue upgrades or enhancements” for BioWatch “until it reliably establishes the system’s current capabilities,” which it has failed to do in a dozen years. Furthermore, the GAO report says that DHS “lacks reliable information about the system’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack.” In other words, it’s a proven failure.

That hasn’t stopped DHS from continually touting it as a life-saving technology that can detect pathogens that cause anthrax, tularemia, smallpox, plague and other deadly diseases. The early detection of a biological attack is an essential part of an effective biodefense posture, DHS asserts. The reality is that BioWatch is best known for false alarms and other glitches.

The system is such a joke that state and local authorities don’t bother ordering evacuations when its alarm triggers. In fact, federal agencies documented 56 false alarms in just a few years yet DHS keeps spending large sums to keep BioWatch alive and the agency plans to continue investing billions more if Congress doesn’t stop it.

The scary part is that this defective program is the nation’s best bet to defend against a biological terrorist attack, a very realistic threat considering the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). BioWatch was introduced with tremendous grandeur by President George W. Bush in 2003.

The system includes hundreds of units that collect air from public places in dozens of urban areas. Samples are sent to a lab that tests for dangerous pathogens that terrorists may use in an attack against civilians. But the costly air samplers are not reliable when it comes to detecting an attack, the GAO found.

Incredibly, DHS shamelessly continues defending this outrageous boondoggle by claiming that it provides public health officials with a warning of potentially hazardous biological agent release before exposed individuals develop symptoms. Crumpacker, the senior DHS official assigned to defend the GAO’s blasting, writes in the agency’s response to the report that “it is important to recognize levels of uncertainty and limitations are inherent in any complex technical system.”

He also informs congressional investigators that the “intersection of homeland security and public health” is “sometimes complex.” Not to mention very expensive. Seriously, though, Crumpacker verifies that “BioWatch is a key part of the nation’s layered approach for protection against a catastrophic biological terror attack.” This is chilling considering it’s repeatedly proven over a dozen years that it does not work.

BioWatch and its colossal price tag have been on Judicial Watch’s radar for years. Back in 2012 JW reported that DHS refused to provide congressional leaders with records of the controversial system, outraging both Democrats and Republicans demanding accountability from then DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The lawmakers, who at the time chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, said in a letter to Napolitano that her agency’s inadequate response to their request for BioWatch records raised serious questions about the department’s “willingness to cooperate with efforts to ensure the success of the BioWatch program and transparency about its potential failures.”

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During an interview earlier this week with Kevin Cirilli and Bog Cusack writing for The Hill newspaper, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wondered out loud why he is not under Secret Service protection – and questioned whether partisan politics was playing any role in the decision.

After all, Trump, who has been the front-runner in the race for Republican party’s presidential nomination since he entered the race this past June, said that then Illinois Senator Barack Obama had been given Secret Service protection much earlier in the 2008 presidential campaign when Obama was running for president and didn’t lead in the polls.

Despite this history, the Secret Service is not protecting Trump and he wants to know why.

“I want to put them on notice because they should have a liability.” “Personally, I think if Obama were doing as well as me he would’ve had Secret Service [earlier]. I have by far the biggest crowds,” Trump said.

A quick review of Secret Service records by Cirilli and Cusack showed that Obama began receiving Secret Service protection on May 3, 2007 – more than a year and half before the 2008 presidential election. To clarify his concerns:

“Trump asked one of his private security officers to describe the discussions the Secret Service has had with his campaign. The talks were described as preliminary, and the Trump camp says the Secret Service had not provided a definitive answer on when — or if — the billionaire businessman will receive government protection.

“They’re in no rush because I’m a Republican. They don’t give a shit,” Trump said jokingly.

Trump later clarified his statement by adding:

“Of course I don’t think they’d want anything to happen. But I would think they should be very proactive and want protection for somebody like me that has 20,000 people at any time,” Trump said. “You would think that they would want to be very proactive, but we have not heard from them.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the Secret Service, said it had not received an official request for protection from the Trump campaign. Quoting The Hill:

“If a request is received [by DHS], the spokeswoman said, a determination of Secret Service protection would be made after a consultation with an advisory committee including House and Senate leaders from both parties.”

Trump increased private security in July after the candidate was threaten by Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who escaped from prison earlier this year.
Guzman made his threat by posting a tweet from his Twitter account leading Trump to contact the FBI.

Despite pundit predictions that he was a less than serious candidate looking for headlines, the 69-year-old candidate has seen his support grow from the high teens in July to the mid- twenties and low thirties in some polls conducted in earlier this month.

Trumps’s rise in the polls is attributed to his ability to attract attention from the news media and his off the cuff speeches he has given to record crowds – some that exceed 30,000 depending on the venue – without a teleprompter.

He also garners support by the way he treats the mainstream news media in press conferences where he often taunts the reporters asking him questions.

As a controversial candidate who might attract the attention of a lone wolf gunman looking for fame by attacking the candidate, Trump informs his position, in part, on the policies and mission of the Secret Service which reads:

“The Secret Services provides “Temporary protectees, such as presidential and vice presidential candidates/nominees and foreign heads of state, are staffed with special agents on temporary assignment from U.S. Secret Service field offices.”

It is clear that the presidential race would change dramatically if Trump were to suddenly be taken out by an assassin’s bullet and now the Secret Service is on notice that they will bear the blame if a successful attack happens, one can only hope that the Secret Service will put politics aside and protect Donald Trump.

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