Against a backdrop of continuing violence, (more) the Presidents of Mexico and the United States met to declare common cause against criminal cartels that use Mexico to supply illegal drugs to US consumers.
President Obama promised to stem the flow of guns from the US into Mexico. But the Wall Street Journal reports it will be tough for the US to follow-through effectively. In remarks with potentially important domestic implications, the President restated his support for stronger US controls on assault weapons. But some say this is mostly talk and even the President sounded luke-warm at best.
This week Alan Bersin was appointed DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs. The official announcement explained, “Bersin’s responsibilities at DHS will include improving relationships with the Department’s partners in the international community, as well as those at the state and local level including elected officials, law enforcement, community organizations and religious leaders. He will lead the Department’s efforts to crack down on violence along the Southwest border highlighted in Secretary Napolitano’s March 24 announcement including the deployment of additional personnel and enhanced technology to help Mexico target illegal guns, drugs and cash.”
Standing with Bersin in El Paso, Texas, Secretary Napolitano reviewed “the way ahead” for Border Security. While not highlighted in the Secretary’s remarks, construction of the border fence continues.
Prepping for the President’s Mexico City trip, the White House signaled that concerted efforts for a new immigration policy will begin in May. More promising prospects seemed to emerge from an agreement by US labor unions to support comprehensive immigration reform. The Economist reports that, “Though the details remain controversial, an outline for a sensible system is clear: a path towards legalising immigrants; a more tightly controlled border; a system for verifying workers and punishing employers who flout the rules; and a better way to admit temporary workers.”
In a week that gave aficianados of conspiracy theories cause to drool, the Director of National Intelligence admitted the National Security Agency, “has made mistakes and intercepted the wrong communications.” Several reports are available from CNN, Washington Post, and an especially explosive report from CNET. The Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, has called for a full hearing.
Reaction to the leaked I&A report on possible right-wing radicalization (see plenty of attention in other posts below) continues to unfold. Thursday night the AP’s Eileen Sullivan – who has dug deep when others have skimmed the surface – reports that, “Civil liberties officials at the Homeland Security Department flagged language in a controversial report on right-wing extremists, but the agency issued the report anyway.”
After several days of furious reactions to the report, a predictable push-back is beginning. According to the AP, Jane Harman is refusing to pile on. Eileen Sullivan writes, “The latest report has turned into a ‘political football,’ said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. Harman, who chairs a House subcommittee on intelligence and information sharing, said the report could have been written more artfully, but added that ‘it was a well-intended effort to describe to law enforcement what things to look for… If the result is to dumb down intelligence products that could prevent the next attack to the homeland, we will all lose,’ she said.”
This morning’s Los Angeles Times is editorializing, “The memo combines obvious observations with a lack of substantiation for its assertion that “the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years.” But it’s no broadside attack on veterans. So why do the Republicans rage? Could it be that, as in the attacks on Democrats for “not supporting our troops,” the party’s leaders are willing to exploit any opportunity to make the new administration look bad?”
Let’s see… if someone was predisposed, what might one make of a week when credible parties claim the federal government has targeted veterans and libertarians as possible terrorists, the President speaks again of a weapons ban, the government admits to spying on its citizens, proposals are floating for legalizing illegal aliens, and the nation’s border can seem under attack… while certain denizens of the left-coast are defending it all? Regular readers of HLSwatch know this is unlikely to be my understanding. But it does not require much imagination or empathy to discern how such a conclusion might be drawn.
In a new report Messrs. Carafano and Weitz at the Heritage Foundation argue that Complex Systems Analysis is necessary for homeland security. This week it might have helped just make sense of the news.