CQ has a story tonight on an interview that Sec. Chertoff did with Bill O’Reilly back in December, in which Chertoff vehemently disagrees with the idea of deploying the National Guard at the border. Below is transcript of the relevant exchange (emphasis added):
O’Reilly: Why don’t you put the National Guard on the border to back up the border patrol and stop the bleeding, and then start to increase the border patrol, the high tech and all of that? If you do the guard on the border it stops it dead. But you won’t do it. Why not?
Chertoff: Well, the National Guard is really, first of all, not trained for that mission. I mean, the fact of the matter is the border is a special place. There are special challenges that are faced there.
O’Reilly: The Minutemen can do it.
Chertoff: Well, you know, the Minutemen go out — the Minutemen go out on the border, and they may move people from one point to another point.
But to really deploy across the border, you’d have to deploy an enormous number of people. You’d have to supply them at the border, and you’d have to give them the kind of training to deal with people who are crossing the border. You don’t necessarily want to put…
O’Reilly: You don’t think you can do that? I think the Guard could do that.
Chertoff: I think it would be a horribly over-expensive and very difficult way to manage this problem.
O’Reilly: But it’s something.
Chertoff: I think there’s a smarter way to do it. Well, it — unless you would be prepared to leave those people in the National Guard day and night for month after month after month, you would eventually have to come to grips with the challenge in a more comprehensive way.
Exactly. Chertoff was right five months ago, and what he said then is still right today.