The Washington Times
ran a brief news report on January 30, 2012 that was entitled,
“Napolitano Links Homeland Security, Economy.” The report focused on
the Janet Napolitano’s second “State of Homeland Security Address.”
According to the news report she makes the following statement a part of her address:
“Security measures should, to the greatest extent
possible, be designed to facilitate the safe and efficient movement of
people and goods while securing our critical infrastructure.”
For the first time in a long time, I find myself to be in agreement
with this statement as well is with her quote that ended the news
“Think of it this way: If we have to look for a needle in a haystack,
it makes sense to use all of the information we have about the pieces
of hay to make the haystack smaller,” Miss Napolitano said.
The problem I have with what she said is not what she said but with
the fact that since she became the Secretary of Homeland Security, she
has acted in a manner that contradicts her statements! Consequently I
wonder if she has ever listened to the words that she, herself, speaks!
The haystack that she claims she wants to make smaller is a haystack
comprised of aliens as well as merchandise. Today that haystack
includes unknown millions of illegal aliens with more arriving daily.
Because they evade the inspections process, there is no record of their
entry into our country. Because they are “undocumented” there is no way
of knowing their true identities including their countries of
citizenship. As a consequence, there is no way of knowing their
possible criminal backgrounds or possible affiliation with criminal or
terrorist organizations. There is certainly no way of knowing their
Bad as the problem posed by aliens who run our borders may be, there
are millions of illegal aliens who did not enter our country by running
our nation’s borders, but by easily gaming the visa process by
committing visa fraud.
Still more aliens easily enter our country through the inspections process, that is supposed
to protect our nation and our citizens from aliens whose presence is
problematic without applying for a visa that is supposed to provide as a
significant layer of security by screening aliens who seek to enter the
United States. These aliens are not violating any laws or regulations
in entering our country without first applying for and receiving visas,
they are citizens of some 35 countries that participate in the Visa
Waiver Program and currently, the President, under extreme pressure from
the Discover America Partnership, is proposing to add still more
countries to the list of countries whose citizens don’t need visas in
order to enter the United States.
It is officially estimated that there are currently some 5 million
illegal aliens in our country today who violated the terms of their
admission into the United States. Meanwhile, according to government
statistics, there are fewer than 300 special agents of ICE (Immigration
and Customs Enforcement) assigned to attempt to locate and apprehend
these millions of illegal aliens and seek their removal from the United
Altogether there are an estimated 7,000 special agents employed by
ICE to enforce not only immigration laws from within the interior of the
United States but customs laws as well. Most of the managers including
those at ICE headquarters came from Legacy Customs and thus are more
oriented to enforcing customs laws rather than immigration laws. To put
the number of enforcement personnel at ICE in proper perspective, the
TSA has more than 60,000 employees!
Further hampering this process is the current policy of the Obama
administration to not arrest nor seek the removal of any illegal aliens
who do not have convictions for felonies!
To put things in perspective, nearly every terrorist who attacked our
nation or attempted to attack our nation had no criminal convictions.
Under the current policies of not seeking to arrest illegal aliens who
have no criminal convictions even if the next Mohamed Atta (A major
player in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) was encountered
by ICE agents today, they would not be permitted to seek to arrest him
unless they had specific knowledge about his involvement in terrorist
I can tell you from my 30 years of experience with the INS that my
colleagues and I often stumbled upon fugitives and individuals involved
in terrorism or serious crimes by chance and, as events unfolded, it
became apparent that the individual we had encountered posed a threat.
This is how, in 1976, I fortuitously stumbled upon a terrorist attack by
terrorists to blow up an Israeli oil refinery. Playing a hunch, we
managed to assist the Israeli National Police in averting what could
have been a true catastrophe!
The parlance of law enforcement and intelligence, this idea of
happenstance or serendipitously stumbling upon a potential threat is
known as randomness. In December 2007 Michael Chertoff, Janet
Napolitano’s predecessor at the helm of the DHS issued a truly massive
news release titled Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on 2007 Achievements and 2008 Priorities.
What you should consider is this excerpt from that news release the reported on Mr. Chertoff’s statement:
But TSA, again, is another agency that is using this
philosophy of layered defenses as a way of making sure that we don’t
compromise our security simply because human error means that any single
defense is not perfect.
We not only have watch lists, we not only have the
TSA screening function, but we are now deploying behavioral screening
officers to more than 40 of our nation’s airports in order to identify
potentially threatening passengers based on their behavior. We’ve
learned lessons, for example, from the Israelis and the Europeans in how
to train our screeners to look for certain kinds of behavior that
denotes a possible threat or an uneasiness that warrants a closer
inspection. This is a proven tool. It enhances yet another layer of
security, and it helps us build an element of randomness in the process,
which is very important in terms of deterring terrorists.
Both of these programs reflect our determination to
move beyond the static, inflexible model of checkpoint screening, with
which we began TSA, to a more dynamic and multi-layered security
environment that includes, apart from behavioral detection, such tools
as whole body imaging, and a focus on improvised explosive devices.
We’ll be expanding this concept next year because it’s not enough to
simply say we’ve avoided another hijacking on our aircraft since
September 11th. We have to make sure we keep ahead of the enemy so we
can continue to avoid those kinds of hijackings.
Mr. Chertoff also addressed the concept of “multiple layers of
protection.” He drew the analogy of how an airplane landing on the deck
of an aircraft carrier uses a tail hook that is supposed to grab a
cable to enable it to stop. Rather than provide a single cable, there
are multiple cables so that the successful landing of that aircraft does
not depend on a single cable. This is a good analogy and an important
Here is how he described this:
Now as I said, our mandate is not only to protect
against dangerous people entering the country, but also dangerous goods,
including, in particular, goods that might be radioactive, or other
weapons of mass destruction.
Our approach here is not to rely on any single layer
of protection, but multiple layers of protection. This reflects the
common-sense observation that while human failure is inevitable in any
system, the more systems you build with different kinds of capabilities,
the less likely that that failure will persist throughout all of the
individual gates that something or someone has to pass.
It’s a little bit like if you’ve ever landed on an
aircraft carrier, the tail hook has a number of different bands across
the carrier deck that it can catch — not just one, but several. And the
idea is recognition that the pilot will sometimes miss the first tail
hook, and the tail hook will miss the first band, but it will hit the
second one or the third one or the fourth one or the fifth one. And that
principle of multiple layers, which works on aircraft carriers, also
works in securing our borders with respect to dangerous things and
Clearly our leaders understand what is needed, what is lacking is
integrity and the political will. They certainly talk a good game,
making it clear that they know what is needed, but then never provide
what they know is absolutely essential. As one of INS’ top officials
once told me a long time ago, “We get all wind up and no pitch!”
If, God forbid there is another terrorist attack, would it not be an
outrage that their tombstones could be inscribed, “Here lies an innocent
victim, who lost his (her) life to the lack of political will and the
lack of integrity of the United States Government?”