Corruption is Rampant Within the Department of Homeland Security
Stealing…drug smuggling…falsifying records…human trafficking—what in the world is going on within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, under the “leadership” of Secretary Janet Napolitano?
During an August 1st hearing held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency and Financial Management, acting Inspector General (IG) of DHS, Charles Edwards, admitted that his office is overwhelmed by all the criminal allegations against DHS employees, and he has asked the Obama administration for 50 additional investigators just so he can work on the complaints within his own organization!
Right now, the IG’s office is dealing with 1,591 OPEN criminal cases and convictions have steadily increased since FY 2004.
According to information released at the hearing:
Since 2004, around the time the Department of Homeland Security began, 2,527 DHS employees have been convicted of corruption and criminal misconduct:
- 138 Customs & Border Protection (CBP) employees have been charged for crimes such as collaborating with drug smugglers;
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been charged with embezzlement and filing fraudulent travel claims;
- Terrence J. “TJ” Bonner, retired president of the National Border Patrol Council (the union representing U.S. Border Patrol Agents), was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego late last week for diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in union funds for personal use, conspiring to commit fraud, wire fraud, and he has been charged with various pornography offenses;
- New York ICE Special Agent in Charge James T. Hayes has brought a sexual harassment suit against Secretary Janet Napolitano;
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers in various cities have been charged with smuggling drugs through airports, taking bribes in order to allow drug couriers safe passage, and have been caught stealing from passengers’ bags.
Why are there such holes in the agency that is tasked with protecting the American people?
If you break down the 2,527 criminal convictions, they are as follows:
- 65 percent from FEMA
- 14 percent from CBP
- 7 percent from ICE
- 5 percent from TSA
- 9 percent from “Other”
It is alarming that ICE workers would be helping drug cartels, or that TSA employees would humiliate airplane passengers and then steal their luggage; but what is very disturbing is the fact that employees who work for DHS organizations have access to sensitive law enforcement and intelligence information, and if they are corrupt and wish to supplement their income by selling U.S. secrets, they can. And, they may already be helping terrorists enter the country by trading sexual favors or cash for a free pass across our border.
“A corrupt DHS employee may accept a bribe for allowing what appear to be simply undocumented aliens into the U.S. while unwittingly helping terrorists enter the country,” Edwards said. “Likewise, what seems to be drug contraband could be weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical or biological weapons or bomb-making materials.”
Because the IG is so buried with investigations, they have transferred hundreds of cases to the ICE and CBP, allowing them to investigate their own misconduct.
Subcommittee Chairman Todd Platts (R-PA) rightly pointed out the conflict of interest in that approach. But, agencies within DHS don’t seem to be too concerned about the corruption. While the CBP sent its lead administrator to represent his agency at the hearing, both TSA and ICE sent lower-level officials.
Keating said this “says something about how seriously they are taking this issue, or how not seriously they’re taking this issue.”
As Edwards warned in his testimony, “while those who turn away from their sworn duties are few, even one corrupt agent or officer who allows harmful goods or people to enter the country puts the nation at risk.”
Rep. McCaul expressed his “extreme disappointment.”
The Department of Homeland Security needs to get their organization straight, and American taxpayers should not have to suffer for it. Fax Congress now and demand a thorough investigation of DHS agencies and all necessary leadership changes, all the way to the top—in order to get that house in order.
Our security depends on it. As Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) noted, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”