Thursday, April 9, 2015

Securing the Homeland...

Do you know what the IRS does? Do you know what the Secret Service does? Do you know what the DEA does?

If you answered tax stuff, protect the president, and enforce drug laws - you would be mostly right.  As you may know, the IRS enforces healthcare laws, the Secret Service investigates counterfeiting crimes, and the DEA…well as far as I know they just do drug violations.

What about the Department of Homeland Security?  Created after 9/11 with bi-partisan support, it really was just a new administrative organization of other departments - with an overall head at the Cabinet level.  An abbreviated list of the departments that were put under "Homeland Security" would include:

Secret Service (protecting the President)
FEMA (disasters, federal emergency aid)
INS (Immigration and Naturalization)
TSA (Planes, trains, and well really mostly planes)
Customs (stuff coming in the country)
Coast Guard (I really thought they were part of the military)
Border Patrol (patrolling, protecting the border)

So, that all kind of makes sense.  We already had all these agencies, but some were under the US Treasury (which sounds weird, but back in the day, that was what needed protection, and they just stayed there), and the Department of Transportation (which builds highways and taxes gas…).

So, the new Department of Homeland Security would protect us from another 9/11 by focusing on who comes in the country (INS, TSA, Customs, Border Patrol, Coast Guard), what comes in the country (TSA, Customs, Border Patrol, Coast Guard), keeping the head of our government save (Secret Service), and that we could take care of national level problems (FEMA).

Good. Great.

ICE, Homeland Security Arrest More Than 1,200 in Nationwide Gang Raids

Wait what?

I happen to know that numerous federal law enforcement agencies (FBI, DEA, ATF, US Marshals) received calls a while back from HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) inviting them to participate in a nationwide "takedown."  HSI was looking for other agencies to offer up targets, i.e. people with warrants, fugitives, to be arrested.  The other agencies could suggest targets, and/or participate in the arrests.  I happen to know that some federal agencies declined.

I also happen to know that former ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents now consider themselves HSI agents (well, because that is what they are - they were transferred, and have no knowledge of how or what to do with immigration or customs), and they investigate crimes against children, violations of drug laws, violations of firearms laws, trafficking (within the US) in stolen property, fugitives, etc.  What do they NOT do - inspect cargo ships coming in, anything to do with immigrations, port security.

Homeland Security is an agency looking for a mission, and avoiding what we all think they do.

*For those who may have legitimate questions regarding 'So who does national gang cases?' - the answer is state and local law enforcement.  On the federal level the FBI targets criminal "organizations" or "criminal enterprises" - and the DEA or ATF would be involved to focus specifically on drugs or weapons violations.  The US Marshals do fugitives (they protect the court houses, so, well, they traditionally do fugitives too). Homeland Security may sound like a good title for doing "nationwide gang raids," but we already had agencies to do that - what we don't have, is enough people doing immigration and checking what is being brought in the country.

1 comment:

LL said...

Homeland Security was a cluster from Day-One. And it's only gotten worse. It's not that the special agents are bad people. The fish rots from the head down.

And remind me again why we need ATF as a separate federal bureaucracy within DOJ.