The Border Patrol’s New National Strategy: Measuring What?

Just two weeks ago the Border Patrol launched its new national strategy in hearings before Congress.  Surprisingly the national media seem less than interested in the BP’s newest national strategy since 2004 which will, according to the Border Patrol, cover years 2012-2016.

Setting aside the national strategy itself for a moment, there is another equally crucial issue here: how does the Border Patrol intend to measure its performance along the border? In other words, how does the Border Patrol plan in its new national strategy to judge its own efficiency in reaching its stated objectives and goals?  And how will the public be able to judge the Border Patrol regardless of who is running it and which political party is in control?

Prior to 9/11 the Border Patrol was a hole-in-the-wall agency of less than 4,000 agents who went about their difficult work with no one looking over their shoulders.  After 9/11 Customs and Border Protection was thrust into the media limelight as the first line of defense against international terrorists along with its previous job of capturing illegal immigrants and illegal drugs. Measurements of Border Patrol performance  were annual rates of apprehension of illegal immigrants and amounts of drugs interdicted.

These measurements were deeply flawed.  Even though the Border Patrol’s baseline data-data against which agency effectiveness and performance can be objectively measured-was at best highly questionable, before 9/11 no one much cared.  After 9/11 these same data were closely examined because national security was determined to be at stake. There were myriad problems not only in the collection of these data, but in the ways in which categories of data were defined and reported.  In short, apprehension rates, agency “outputs”, were a totally inadequate measure of the status of security along our national borders.

In 2004 the Border Patrol declared in its “new” national plan that it would henceforth measure its progress in border security not just in terms of apprehension rates, but by the vaguely defined “operational control” of our borders.

Unfortunately by 2010 the Border Patrol could only claim 13% “operational control” of all our borders.  So what did the Border Patrol do when faced with such a low performance score?  It simply declared that “operational control” was not an adequate measurement and returned to apprehension rates as its “interim” method of measuring both its institutional efficacy and the status of our nation’s borders.

Then on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, the Border Patrol officially revealed to Congress that it was working on a “new” measurement of border security.  This measurement would be the product of a brand new methodology, still in the development stages, that is “quantified”.

Following the Border Patrol’s projected time line, it is a reasonable question to ask why, after more than a decade since 9/11, the Border Patrol has not been able to develop an accurate measurement of its efficiency and progress in border security given its huge increase in budget.

So it is not surprising, given these circumstances, that institutional memory completely failed Border Patrol Chief Agent Michael Fisher at the Tuesday Congressional hearing:  Mr. Fisher forgot to mention his agencies ICAD, ICAD II, ICAD III, ISIS, the American Shield Initiative, The Secure Border Initiative, SBI TI, the SBI Systems Integrator, and Boeing’s contract for a virtual wall, all failed projects in establishing border security. And let’s not forget the most recent boondoggle extravagancy, as did the Border Patrol’s Mr. Fisher, Raytheon’s Advanced Spectroscopic Portal Program.

It is reasonable for the public to demand an accurate measurement of the progress the Border Patrol is making in national security along our borders. Changing measurements from apprehension rates to operational control, then back again to “interim” apprehension rates in lieu of the arrival of a promised new metric smacks of the same historical promises of a Systems Integrator, a virtual border fence, or a phantasmagoric machine that for than $500 million can discover a dirty bomb in an eighteen wheeler.

Yet history reminds us, even if the Border Patrol won’t, that this agency is not in dire need of another new technological fix that has not yet been developed, whether it’s the latest surveillance gidget or now a trendy management strategy accompanied by a theoretical enumeration.  What the Border Patrol vitally needs, along with all our members of Congress, is an adequate measurement of Border Patrol performance which, placed within an historical context, allows anyone to fairly and consistently judge the progress of this vital law enforcement agency regardless of which party holds power.

Posted in Customs and Border Protection

The Border Patrol’s New National Strategy: Lipstick on a Javelina

There’s a lot in CBP’s “2012-2016 Border Patrol National Strategy” to digest.  For starters there are two major goals, the first with five objectives, the second with three.  All this is sandwiched between numerous color photographs reminiscent of university textbooks used in courses on Introductory Policing.

But this report seems most adamant in its attempt to reframe the Border Patrol’s own history since 9/11.  The reader is informed that from 2004 to the present, the time period covered by the last Border Patrol “national strategy”, the emphasis has been on “organization and resources”.  In contrast, the new Border Patrol strategy is “a risk-based Border Patrol national strategy” in which the border will be secured by, “…using Information, Integration, and Rapid Response in a risk-based manner”.

Further, “new tools and approaches” will help the Border Patrol “…grow, mature and strengthen.”  Well, I guess we can all agree on that objective.

We also are told that the change from the most recent “national strategy” to the newest “national strategy” “…represents a natural evolution.”  Once this “new national strategy” is in place, “…unprecedented levels of border security are within reach…”.

That’s good to know, too, but totally misleading.  Here’s the major problem with this Border Patrol report: history.

Is the public supposed to forget about the history of the Border Patrol’s various “strategies” along the border, from the bizarre frontal deployment of more than 95% of its resources as initiated by now Congressperson Silvestre Reyes, but then Border Patrol Sector Chief Reyes, to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff’s “one-sized fits all” border fence?  And what about the billions wasted along the way by Boeing, Inc., L-3 Communications, and Raytheon, among others?

Not to mention most recently the tragic case of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas?  Then of course there are the tremendous amounts of illegal drugs smuggled into our country every day, plus guns going south.  In fact, it’s a long list that is verified by that mean old skeptic by the name of history.

Now the report tells us that the public is supposed to trust something called a “risk-based approach”.  Where was this porcine approach after 9/11 and why didn’t we use it?

Here we go again with another silver bullet, this time a shift away from technology (remember the “virtual fence”?) to a trendy management strategy favored by our military.

There is no doubt that the Border Patrol is moving towards becoming a law enforcement agency we can trust and be proud of-and for this it should be commended-but declaring that a “risk management approach” is the new answer to what was once referred to as “gaining operational control” of the border, is a big step in the wrong direction.

What is the right direction and how objectively can we measure the Border Patrols accomplishments including these newest goals and objectives?  Oddly in this Border Patrol report on its “new national strategy” the answers to these vital questions are nowhere to be found.

Posted in Customs and Border Protection

The Border Patrol’s “New” National Strategy as of Tuesday

First the good news.  At least I think it’s good, but it’s hard to say.  The Border Patrol has, at least sort of, announced a “new” National Strategy, it’s first since 2004.  That may mean it is discarding some of its disproven concepts, tactics, and policies along our borders for better, field-tested ways to perform its vital and difficult job. Or not.

But since it’s the Border Patrol, they did not really announce or unveil their new strategy so much as transmit it, sort of, to Homeland Security Today.

The Border Patrol also published a document targeted at their own employees which was released to the public, sort of, last Fall. Then two months ago in a report that the media mostly ignored the Border Patrol published “A New Strategy on the Border”.   Filled with beltway jargon, wannabe military terminology, and stilted, rhetorical language that my High School English teacher Ms. Margret Tuck would have blistered with her red pencil, “A New Strategy on the Border” is virtually incomprehensible to most Americans.

It’s not just that the Border Patrol seems reluctant to reveal their “new” National Strategy, it’s also that their own reports appear at best manufactured by a committee of illiterate tax accountants enthralled by cursory readings in a required high school ROTC program.  So along with the Washington circumlocutions, there is an ever increasing military jargon mired in bad grammar and intentional obfuscation.

On Tuesday Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security that one of the primary concerns of the Border Patrol’s new national strategy is, “Increasing and sustaining the certainty of apprehension for illegal crossings between the POEs by expanding Border Patrol’s situational awareness and employing a comprehensive and integrated whole-of-government approach”.

Well, that certainly makes it clear what the Border Patrol has in mind for the next five years, doesn’t it?

What in fact does the Border Patrol’s “new” National Strategy for 2012 to 2017 really say and mean?  That will take some time, given an apparent reluctance by the Border Patrol to say what it means and mean what it says, to figure out.

Posted in Customs and Border Protection

El 2012 no puede fallar pared virtual de la frontera: dale como lo mismo cuando DHS pedió propuestas para su tercer pared virtual de la frontera

(Translated by Jessie Hollingsworth. Originally posted on April 18th.)

DHS le prometió que no lo hacía otro vez, pero lo hizo.  La semana pasada, Martes, DHS reveló ofertas por so tercer pared virtual de la frontera entre el EEUU y México.

DHS lo hizo después de hacer gran prometas que no tomaría riesgo en nuevas tecnologías en desarrollo para crear una barrera electrónico “virtual” de cámaras, sensores, y computadores integrado en un paquete para proveer agentes imágenes reales mientras están de patrulla de la frontera.

Pero al final DHS minimizó riesgos por permitir contratistas de defensa a firmar contratos de DHS que les permite la opción de usar tecnologías no demostrados a proveer seguridad nacional por la frontera.  Al final DHS cedió.  Por el tercer vez.

El primer vez fue ISIS en 1998, un fracaso triste al costo de varios ciento millones de dólares de contribuyentes a L-3 Communications.  Luego en 2006 llegó el Segundo pared de la frontera virtual al costo de más de un billón dólares.  Por fin el DHS Secretario Napolitano canceló el locura de Boeing en Enero 2012.  Este es cuando DHS dijo, en tantas palabras, que ha aprendió la lección y no apoyaría nuevas tecnologías no desarrolladas para la seguridad nacional.  Como el portal espectroscópico de Raytheon, un fracaso completo desde el principio hasta el final que DHS canceló después más de $200 millones.

Y dale como lo mismo.  Pero recuerda dos cosas: primero, no es el Segundo intento a crear una pared virtual, es el TERCER intento.  Y la otra cosa? Este pared virtual también no pasaré.  La pregunta verdadero es- dando que está el mismo contrato de DHS con la industria de defensa- cuanto dinero de los contribuyentes ganaré el ganador?

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, En Espanol (Spanish Translations)

The First Victim at the New Border Wall was not Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, It Was the Professional Training of Customs and Border Protection Agents

The media images of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas being beaten on March 30, 2010, by a group of CBP agents are very, very disturbing.  As I suggested previously, at the very least I certainly hope that the Internal Affair’s unit of Customs and Border Protection is investigating this event which took place at the border wall in San Diego.  At the same time the Department of Justice should open up an investigation and Congress should begin to collect findings prior to holding public hearings.

The individuals involved in the death of Anastasio Herandez-Rojas, however, deserve the full assumption of innocence under our laws until all the evidence has been accumulated.  At the same time, however, this tragedy shines a very bright light on several shadowy areas which investigators must be willing to examine.  Two areas among many which should be considered in an examination of this tragedy are the professional recruitment training that CBP agents currently receive and the nature of the work that these same agents must perform on a daily basis.

CBP agents, as a result of a Congressional mandate to increase the size of the Border Patrol, no longer benefit from the academy training they once received.  This training provided agents expertise in the Spanish language, physical fitness and weapons, and immigration law; this rigorous training and testing-not without flaws- lasted almost six months.  At the end of this training agents were then posted to their first assignments where they were put initially placed on probationary status for more than one year until they passed further testing and proved themselves on the line.

All that has changed since 2006.  Now agents, who qualify for the CBP academy with only a high school degree, can get less than 56 days of training at the academy before they are assigned to a “mentor” at their first posting.  Their formal learning after the academy relies heavily on the abilities of this “mentor” to teach additional necessary skills and abilities to the academy newbies with less than 8 weeks of law enforcement training.

The standards for new agents have been blatantly lowered at the academy to provide higher graduation rates.  Only a small percentage of agents were ever given psychological tests to measure their competency and readiness to face the stressful work of patrolling the line.  The Border Patrol, in short, grew from about 3,500 agents before 9/11 to more than 24,400; the first victim of this rapid growth was their professional recruitment and training.

Working the borderline is a very tough, stressful, and dangerous job.  The border is becoming more and more violent to those whose job it is to patrol it 24 hours a day. Statistics measuring violence directed towards agents have risen dramatically in recent years.  The work of agent can place the men and women who have passed through the academy in dangerous, high risk situations.

We all must wait and see what the investigations of the beating and death of  Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas uncover.  But at the very least, this tragedy calls for a close evaluation of the professional recruitment and training of our agents and, at the same time, an appreciation for the difficult and dangerous work in which they are engaged.  Anything less is a cover-up.


Patrolling Chaos, Robert Lee Maril, Texas Tech University Press, 2006.

The Fence, Robert Lee Maril, Texas Tech University Press, 2011.

Posted in Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas

The 2012 Can’t Fail New Virtual Border Wall: Here We Go Again as DHS Requests Proposals for Its THIRD Virtual Border Wall Failure

DHS promised that it would not to it again, but it did.  Last week, Tuesday, DHS let out bids on its THIRD virtual border wall along the Mexican border.

DHS did this after making repeated big promises that it would not take a risk on new, developing technologies to create a “virtual” electronic barrier of cameras, sensors, and computers integrated into a package providing agents real time images as they patrolled the border line.

But in the end DHS hedged its bet by allowing defense contractors to sign DHS contracts allowing them the option of using unproven technologies to provide national security along the border.  In the end DHS caved in.  For the THIRD time.

The first time was ISIS in 1998, a miserable failure at the cost of several hundred million taxpayer dollars to L-3 Communications.  Then in 2006 came the second virtual border wall at the cost of more than a billion dollars. DHS Secretary Napolitano finally pulled the plug on Boeing’s folly in January, 2012.  That’s when DHS said, in so many words, that it had learned its lesson and would not support new, undeveloped technologies in protecting our national security.  Like Raytheon’s spectroscopic portal, a complete failure from start to finish which DHS cancelled after more than $200 million.

So here we go again.  But remember two things: first, it’s not the second try at a virtual wall, it’s the THIRD attempt.  And the other thing to remember? This virtual border wall will also fail.  The real question is- given this same old DHS contract with the defense industry-how much taxpayer money will the winning bidder stuff into his pockets?

Posted in Boeing and Raytheon, The Border Fence

NYT se pasó por el punto otra vez: el crimen de la frontera tiene impacto en ambos lados

(translated by Jessie Hollingsworth)

Posted on March 20 NYT Misses the Point Again: Border Crime Impacts Both Sides

Cuando yo iniciaba a pensar que el articulo este domingo en el New York Times sobre el crimen de la frontera lo tenía correcto, algo falló.  El cuento por Damien Cave titulado “En México, Secuestro Ignorado”, empezó fuerte, pero cojea en las ultimas palabras porque la verdad de la frontera casi nunca es tan simple como los extranjeros piensan.

Los residentes de Matamoros, México, son victimas de un aumento de violencia de pistolas de los carteles.  Cuando los dos organizaciones criminales mayores pelean en las calles de la cuidad, directamente a través de Brownsville, Texas, ciudadanos mexicanos que quedaron atrapados por el fuego cruzado son matado y dolido con impunidad.

Al mismo tiempo- y esto es el parte de el cuento que el reportero del NYT echo a perder- el militar mexicano designado a proteger los residentes son, lejos de ser violentes, cada vez más culposo.

Pero el cuento no termina aquí.  Aunque Sr. Cave pinta un dibujo con gran cuidado sobre la familia Cazares que ha sido victimizado en Matamoros, falta la visión general más grande.  Ciertamente es la verdad que hay un aumento de crímenes indirectos al pensar de los narco-trafficantes y sus esbirros oportunitos, y ciertamente muchos de estos crímenes, como lo contra la familia Cazares es trágico.  Pero algún residente de la frontera sabe lo que Sr. Cave aparentemente no sabe: no es tan solo los autoridades y oficiales al lado sur del Río Grande quien están incapaces y corruptos.

Mientras el reportero fielmente detalla los secuestros masivos de la familia Cazares, sus intentos a pagar los secuestradores, y la familia recurando a los autoridades mexicanos corruptos cuando no tenían otro remedio, suene como solo necesitan muchísimos Texas Rangers o agentes del FBI.  Cuando llegan, dicho agentes o policía van a, uno por uno, encontrar los criminales, salvar las victimas, y todavía tener tiempo para hacerle adiós por la camera cuando termina el episodio de la televisión.

Desafortunadamente injerto, corrupción, y ineptitud en la policía no detengan en el Río Grande que separa Matamoros de Brownsville.  El sur de Texas tiene muchísimo corrupción en la policía.  Es evidente que el Sr. Cave no sepa la historia regional.

El mismo reportero no cayó una lección mayor, que puede aprender de las tribulaciones de una familia de la frontera: ya que los crimines pasó en Matamoros, los crímenes nunca van a aparecer en el “FBI Uniform Crime Reports”.  De hecho, de la punta de vista de la policía Americana y el diálogo político nacional de crimen en la frontera, estos secuestros múltiples de la familia Cazares nunca pasaron.

Por qué? Porque aunque algunos de los victimas tenían doble ciudadanía, los crímenes ocurrió en las casas y en las calles de Matamoros.  Otra vez podemos concluir – mira las estadísticas reunidos por el FBI- que la frontera del EEUU y México está una lugar seguro para vivir.

Desafortunadamente la realidad de la frontera esta mucho más complejo que los políticos de ambos partidos van a admitir.  También están las soluciones siempre y cuando el New York Times estropea el cuento.

Posted in En Espanol (Spanish Translations)

NYT Misses the Point Again: Border Crime Impacts Both Sides

Just when I thought Sunday’s The New York Times front page article on border crime was going to finally get it right, it went deadly wrong.  The story by Damien Cave, “In Mexico, A Kidnapping Ignored”, starts out strong, but limps home in the final stretch because border truth is rarely so simple as outsiders would have it.

The residents of Matamoros, Mexico, are indeed the victims of increasing gun violence from the drug cartels.  As two major criminal organizations fight it out on the streets of this border city, directly across from Brownsville, Texas, Mexican citizens who get in the cross-fire are killed and wounded with impunity.  At the same time-and this is the first part of the story the NYT’s reporter completely bungles- the Mexican military assigned to protect the residents are, although far from as violent, increasingly culpable.  Poorly paid and undertrained, Mexico’s own military is at times a blight on its own people.

But this is not where the real story ends.  Although Mr. Cave with great care paints a picture of the Cazares family who have been terriblely victimized in Matamoros, he again lacks a broader overview.  Certainly it is true that increasingly numbers of spin-off crimes have occurred because of the narco-trafficantes and their opportunistic henchmen, and certainly many of these crimes, like the one against the affluent Cazares clan is truly tragic. But any border resident knows what Mr. Cave apparently does not: it is not just the authorities and officials on the south side of the Rio Grande who are inept and corrupt.

While the reporter faithfully runs down the details of the mass kidnappings of the Cazares family, their attempts at paying off the kidnappers, and the family members turning to the corrupt Mexican authorities when they have no other choices left, he makes it sound as if all that is really needed is a boat load of Texas Rangers or FBI agents.  Then said law enforcers, or county sheriff’s deputies, or Texas state police will, one Texas Ranger at a time, find the criminals, save the victims, and still have time to wave at the camera as the television episode concludes.

Unfortunately graft, corruption, and ineptitude in law enforcement do not stop at the Rio Grande River separating Matamoros from Brownsville.  South Texas has more than its fair share of corruption in municipal law enforcement, county Sheriff’s departments, the state police, and the Texas Rangers.  Mr. Cave clearly does not know his regional history.

This same reporter misses a major lesson which could be learned from the tribulations of a cross-border family: since the crimes occurred in Matamoros, the crimes will never be reported in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.  In fact, from the point of view of American law enforcement and the national political dialogue on border crime, these multiple kidnappings of the Cazares family never happened.

Why? Because even though some of the victims had dual citizenship, the crimes occurred in the houses and on the streets of Matamoros.  So once again we can conclude-just look at the statistics collected by the FBI-that the U.S.-Mexico border is a very safe place in which to reside.

Unfortunately the border reality is much more complex than our sound-bite politicians of both parties are ever likely to admit.  So too are the solutions as long as The New York Times botches the story.

Posted in Uncategorized

Que hace Boeing a Wichita, Kansas y no quiere que sepas

(translation of post from 2/15/12)

Recién terminó de crear su propio ley en la Cámara de Representantes (post 9/19/11) precedido por una sugerencia que la Junta de Relaciones de Labor no tenía el derecho a decir a Boeing que no podía construir una fabrica no sindicado en Carolina del Sur como represalia por un sindicato no seguir a las pedidas de Boeing, esa corporación lo hizo otro vez (post 7/31/11).

Recuerda que Boeing es la misma corporación que el 4 de Julio 2011 dijo “Estamos juntos con toda la gente de America en celebrando los principales perdurables en que la nación fue fundaba.”

Y recuerda Boeing es la misma corporación que recibió más que $1 billón en contratas gubernamentales como el SBI-net “Systems Integrator”.  Contribuyentes por los cinco años de trabajo de Boeing obtuvieron exactamente 25 torres de comunicación proveyendo seguridad, mas o menos, para aproximadamente 50 millas de frontera de Arizona.

Ahora la corporación que apoya “principales perdurables en que la nación fue fundaba” se va una porción de sus fabricas de largo tiempo para pobres climas después de recibir un contrata gubernamental gigante.  Porque paga trabajadores calificados $71.000 o más cada año cuando puedes pagarles mucho menos en otro lugar?  Especialmente cuando tantos americanos no tienen trabajo y están dispuestos a trabajar por los que les ofrecen.  O posiblemente Boeing va a México o más.

Boeing está saliendo de Wichita, donde los acres de hangares que cubren un mano de obra dedicado y hábil han trabajando hasta 1929.  Boeing prometió en un comunicado de prensa que su contrato nuevo de $35 billón a tanques repostajes aéreos beneficiaría directamente los trabajadores de Wichita, un contrato que originalmente fue a una empresa europea que ofreció un precio menor.  Ahora Boeing se esta llevando casi 2.200 trabajos Buenos de Wichita.  Eso después de un anuncio que “ Gano de Tanque Llevaría 7.500 Trabajos, $388 millón a Kansas”.  Solo un año después Boeing dejó las malas noticias, y en el mismo tiempo, defendió su posición cuando dijo que el año pasado gastó $3.2 billón en partes comprado de proveedores de Kansas.

Por supuesto Boeing no está infringiendo la ley.  Hace lo que siempre haben haciendo los corporaciones americanos, a General Motors a empresas muchas más pequeñas. (Y por supuesto Boeing tiene el talento de escribir leyes que le beneficia.)  Sin embargo, distinto de otras corporaciones, en una mano viviendo de contratos gubernamentales pagado directamente de los impuestos, y al mismo tiempo, acerca de pagar trabajadores aviaciones con habilidades especiales mucho menos que en Wichita.

Es un ejemplo del mercado libre de hoy.  Los federales, después de un esfuerzo cabildeo de Boeing, dan Boeing un contrato de millones de dólares.  Después, Boeing alega que se mueva para aprovecharse del sistema del mercado libre.  No tiene razón.  De hecho, tiene el olor de capital de riesgo.

Además, Boeing recién anuncio que vendió Lion Air de Indonesia 230 aviones por $22.4 billón.  Me pregunto si los trabajadores de Wichita van a recibir más que un símbolo de esa cosita.

Los residentes do los comunidades donde Boeing se va a mover, si está adentro de las fronteras de los Estados Unidos, deben tener cuidado de la historia de Boeing y los prometidos falsos.  Y los contribuyentes deben darse nota que aunque Boeing dice que está regulado injustamente por la Junta de Relaciones de Labor, tiene una historia de tirar los recursos financieros y dejar trabajadores leales sin sueldo.

Boeing so sabe nada sobre “los principales perdurables en que la nación fue fundaba”.  Que vergüenza de la autoridad de Boeing y las accionistas.

Posted in En Espanol (Spanish Translations), Uncategorized

Fast and Furious: The AFT Scandal Waltzes towards the November Elections

(Now Posting Every Wednesday!)

The AFT Operation “Fast and Furious” continues to whirl around the floor faster and faster.  But to date this political scandal still retains the stately pace of a controlled waltz rather than slam dancing.  This will not last.

In a recent report by the Democratic Party one side of the aisle lobs a few mortar rounds at their Republican opposition on the other.  The scandal all started several months ago when Republican Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Charles Grassley revealed that AFT agents had been ordered by AFT supervisors in Arizona not to arrest known gun smugglers caught in the act.  In short the gun smugglers were buying large amounts of weapons from local retailers in large quantities, then reselling them to third parties who disappeared with the weapons in tow. AFT agents were ordered, in the name of building a stronger case against criminal higher ups, to let them walk away with the weapons.

Two of these same weapons were found at the scene where CBP agent Brian Terry was killed.  While the numbers seems to range depending on who tells the tale, thousands of automatic weapons are now believed to be in the hands of Mexican narco-trafficantes  and American-based criminals.   So far there have been very limited resignations or firings, but the landings of these ranking officials have been soft; one reassigned while the other quickly found lucrative employment elsewhere.

The Democrats argue that the scandal was limited to the AFT, the Republicans that the culprits are the highest officials in Obama’s Department of Justice.

In this newest report the Democrats provide a glimpse of further problems along with information as yet not revealed.  The Dems now report this same operational tactic of letting the criminals at the lowest rung of the ladder go free to build a tough case against the criminals at the top of the heap goes all the back to 2006.  They cite several cases which mimic the tactics of Operation Fast and Furious: designed to catch the drug smugglers at the top of the criminal food chain, AFT agents fail to maintain control over weapons purchased in the U.S.

The Dems suggest, in other words, that the Bush Administration is as equally culpable, if not more so, as the Obama Administration.

There will be rebuttal from the Republicans.  The party of the elephant will respond in an unhurried way, the same way as the party of the mule.   Both parties are in fact dancing to the tune of the primaries and the general election: this is a politicized dance which has already lost sight of some of the more important implications of Operation Fast and Furious.

At this rate we can expect the Fast and Furious waltz to turn into a bloody mosh in the weeks just before voters decide who will be our next President.

Posted in ATF Scandal