It is often said that when an agency or department is failing, it’s because there is a failure at the top, that there is something wrong with the leadership. Nowhere is that more evident than at the beleaguered Department of Homeland Security where, under the tutelage of former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, an agency with an already dubious resume has gone from bad to worse to despicable.
A new federal audit of the monstrous agency, created in the heat and passion of the moment in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks, 2,527 DHS employees and co-conspirators have been convicted of either being corrupt or engaging in outright criminality since 2004, CNSNews.com reported, citing written testimony submitted to Congress recently by the department’s inspector general, Charles Edwards.
During his Aug. 1 testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform’s subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency, and Financial Management, Edwards told lawmakers that, as of July 15, his office was dealing with 1,591 open criminal cases involving DHS employees and some of their accomplices.
Range of crimes, and lots of it
While he testified that some cases dated back to fiscal year 2004, the majority of investigations were opened within the past three fiscal years – in other words, on Napolitano’s watch. The agency began operations in March 2003. (For the record, it should be noted here that in February 2010, a number of U.S. senators were stunned to learn that DHS employed more contractors than full-time employees; then, DHS employed 200,000 contractors compared to 188,000 regular employees, the latter figure excluding members of the U.S. Coast Guard. A Wired.com story dated Aug. 22 described DHS as a “massive agency” employing “more than 225,000 employees.”)
Per CNSNews.com: Among the 2,527 criminal convictions as of July 15, 1,644 (about 65 percent) stem from Federal Emergency Management Agency-related investigations; 358 (about 14 percent) from those linked to the Customs and Border Protection agency, 166 (seven percent) from Immigration and Customs Enforcement-related investigations, and 133 (five percent) from investigations linked to the Transportation Security Administration. The remaining 226 (about nine percent) convictions are categorized as “other.”
The range of crimes is astounding.
Border Patrol agents have been convicted of smuggling marijuana and cocaine. Immigration agents have forged documents and robbed drug dealers. Transportation Security Administration employees have been busted with child pornography. And those are just a few of the crimes the IG has been tasked with investigating in the past year alone.
“Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security nearly a decade ago, the agency’s inspector general has been tasked with uncovering corruption, waste and criminality within its own ranks. The IG has had his hands full,” Wired.com said.
In 2011, according to the department’s IG office, 318 DHS employees and contractors – men and women tasked with keeping the country safe – were arrested. That’s about one per working day.
The corruption seems worse along the southwest border
According to IG documentation, there is a great deal of corruption among immigration and border agents.
“Border corruption may take the form of cash bribes, sexual favors, and other gratuities in return for allowing contraband or undocumented aliens through primary inspection lanes or even protecting and escorting border crossings; leaking sensitive law enforcement information to persons under investigation and selling law enforcement intelligence to smugglers; and providing needed documents such as immigration papers,” Edwards told lawmakers earlier this month.
Some of the criminal activity is downright scary.
Consider the case of a Border Patrol agent from Tucson named Yamilkar Fierros. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 months in prison for providing “sensor location maps, trail maps, and communications technology” to drug cartels in exchange for $5,000 in bribe money.
How bad is the criminality?
On the day of Edwards’ testimony, two Border Patrol agents were found guilty of smuggling illegal aliens in their vehicles for cash. They could face 50 years in prison.