Mexican drug cartels are infiltrating federal law enforcement agencies along the southwest border and those charged with weeding them out say they don't have the money to catch all the corrupt agents, homeland security officials told a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.This should come as no great surprise. Indeed, in 2006 when the feds launched a massive wave of hiring for new customs agents, Grits predicted exactly this development:
James Tomsheck, assistant commissioner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Internal Affairs, told a Senate homeland security subcommittee in Washington that only about one in 10 of the new hires for agency jobs are given polygraph tests, and of those, 60 percent are deemed unsuitable for employment.
That means that many who joined the agency during the recent hiring boom and did not take polygraphs could have joined with corruption already in mind, Tomsheck said.
"That 60 percent number is alarming to me," said U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who chaired the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs' Subcommittee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration.
The Associated Press reported last year that four applicants for border protection jobs were not hired when polygraph tests and background checks confirmed they were infiltrators from drug trafficking operations.
If you were a drug cartel leader with connections in US law enforcement and criminal networks inside and outside the United States willing to distribute your product, wouldn't you consider the current hiring wave by the US Customs Service the greatest single opportunity of your life? ... Seriously - if you were a cartel leader, wouldn't you be manufacturing phony ID papers and sending in your lieutenants to apply for these slots as quick as you could? And do you think the Bush Homeland Security department will handle vetting 10,000 new agents any more competently than, say, the response to Hurrcane Katrina?If I saw this coming, why didn't the feds?
Maybe I'm just being cyncial, or maybe I've just seen it happen too many times, but I predict we'll see increased corruption problems among border officials in coming years as a result of this illogically rapid, politically motivated border security buildup.