Tuesday, January 15, 2013

US Customs and Border Protection Corruption?

I have a friend, now retired, who worked for the US Customs Service and handled internal affairs for both US Customs and occasionally was called in to assist internal affairs/OPR at the Border Patrol before they were all folded into the Department of Homeland Security. He told me that one in three US Customs Officers at the US/Mexico ports of entry were on the take from drug cartels. That was about a decade ago and I would be shocked if things changed since then.

There is a general sense among the great unwashed and unenlightened (which would include yours truly) that CBP has more corruption on the US/Mexico Border than they do on Canadian ports of entry. However people are transferred (the corrupt and the honest) and the lack of scrutiny on CBP on the Canadian Border may account in some measure for vast sea of narcotics entering the US from Canada these days.

Polygraph Failure

On Thursday, 11 March 2010, in testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, it was disclosed that the failure rate associated with theCBP pre-employment polygraph screening program stands at 60 percent. New York Times correspondent Randal C. Archibold reports.

Over half of all US Customs Officers who took the polygraph failed. Were they terminated from employment? NO, They just went back to work.
(FOX News) A government watchdog report has identified a dramatic increase in documented corruption cases among U.S. border and immigration agents, finding nearly 150 have been arrested or indicted since 2005.  
In a trend one top lawmaker said puts national security "in jeopardy," the Government Accountability Office tracked the rise in corruption cases among Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The report, issued last month, found spotty standards in screening new applicants and keeping tabs on agents after they're hired. 
"In fiscal year 2011 alone, the DHS Inspector General received almost 900 allegations of corruption from within CBP and ICE," McCaul said.  
McCaul has long asserted the presence of Islamic extremists groups such as Hezbollah -- which has been found to be working in collaboration with Mexican cartels -- coupled with the prospect of a corrupt officer intentionally allowing these individuals into the U.S. could be catastrophic. 
"There is speculation that some applicants may have applied to work for CBP with pre-existing ties to drug cartels facilitating drug trafficking." YOU THINK SO?

With an estimated $40 billion in drugs crossing the U.S.-Mexico border annually, the battle against temptation is daunting. 

PAY for Customs and Border Patrol Agents
New agents are hired at the GL-5, GL-7 or GL-9 level depending on education and experience and are paid at a special salary rate for Federal law enforcement personnel. The base starting salary is GL-5 ($38,619), GL-7 ($43,964), and GL-9 ($49,029) grade levels, with excellent opportunity for overtime pay. (CBP.GOV)
At the princely sum of $3,200 per month, a newly minted Border Patrol Agent can wave one small load of drugs through the port of entry and make more than he makes all YEAR on the job. Corruption? WHY NOT?

Some uninformed people feel that raising the pay and required vetting (now in the works) may improve the situation at CBP. Others feel that the opportunities for corruption are just too vast.

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