Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 11, 2009

Mexican Violence

Filed under: Border Security,Budgets and Spending — by Philip J. Palin on March 11, 2009

Yesterday’s House Appropriations Homeland Security subcommittee pushed hard on border security issues connected with Mexico’s drug violence. “This is a war with potentially devastating consequences for the United States,” said Hal Rogers, the ranking Republican. “We have our heads in the sand, I don’t see us taking it seriously.” (See the Reuters report)

Responding to especially intense subcommittee questions, Jayson Ahern, Acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection insisted the Secure Border Initiative is on track.  (More from Nextgov and Ahern’s prepared remarks)

“The reason you see the escalation in violence is because U.S. and Mexican law enforcement are winning,” Garrison Courtney, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Tuesday in a Mexico City interview with the Associated Press. “You are going to see the drug traffickers push back because we are breaking their back. It’s reasonable to assume they are going to try to fight to stay relevant.”

In a detailed Tuesday editorial, the Houston Chronicle seemed to agree with the DEA, “Mexico’s turmoil… is the effect of a government trying to face down the forces of anarchy — not the aftermath of succumbing to it. This is very different from what happens in a ‘failed state,’ where the government loses its legitimacy and power.”

The Chronicle editorial concludes with advice for President Obama, “He needs… to be fearless in articulating two unpopular truths about Mexico’s violence. Narco-crime is a complex, deeply rooted cancer that Mexicans allowed to grow — and that they themselves need to carve back, bloody as that process may be. But this narco-crime feeds on Americans’ drug demand and American gun sales to traffickers.  As the world’s most powerful nation, we need to confront these realities and find the will to change them for our own stability.”

The House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism, will hold a related hearing on Thursday beginning at 10.  It will be webcast.

UPDATE: During the noon hour, eastern time, DHS announced weapons seizures as part of their effort to support Mexican authorities.  Reuters also has a story.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 11, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

Well OBAMA came to office with a very mixed message on the War on Drugs. Admitted cocaine use means NO security clearance would be normally granted in many Executive Branch classified programs. Whether this is correct or incorrect as an adjudicatory matter again opens the door to demanding to know why despite frequent calls for standards of investigation and adjudication and the granting and withholding of clearances for personnel in the Executive Branch and contractors has yet to be accomplished. Clearly the history, study and what I think should be rewrite and revocation of E.O. 10450 issued by President Eisenhower so that he would not personnally have to lift Robert Oppenheimer’s TOP Secret clearance is a dagger at the heart of any kind of efficient system and due process in the personnel security clearance arena. The huge backlog in clearances and the continued mergers and acquisiton of companies based on the numbers of cleared personnel does not seem to indicate anyone in charge of the mess. Again a clear and present danger.
Now that the new Drug Czar has been announced another tell tale of OBAMA’s view that Drug War is not a priority even as Mexican corruption spreads to US as he eliminates the Ex Officio Cabinet status of the Drug Czar. Perhaps this forshadows moving the position under a larger NSC pursuant to PSD-1 study by Brennan. Unfortunately, whatever the public record I have never believed the disclaimers that the CIA did not particpate in drug buys and distribution for purposes of funding covert off the book ops. So wonder if the Brennan review will cover the Drug Wars also. Not clear from wording but remembering that President Reagan labeled the drug wars again a “Clear and Present Danger.” Let’s see several of the largest drug producing and exporting countries in the World recieve some of the largest foreign assistance funding from the US. Is there a relationship?

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