Bonzer Wolf Today™

Entries in DHS (50)

Tuesday
Mar292011

Nanny State Costs Continue to Rise

The AP is reporting that the financial overhaul law that President Barack Obama and Democrats enacted last year will cost nearly $1 billion to implement this year, according to Congress chief auditor.

On Wednesday Congress will hold hearings to examine the costs of the law. Republicans, who solidly opposed the legislation, have said it goes too far and will stifle companies, while Democrats have defended it as a needed curb to help ward off future economic  melt downs.

The agency spending the most money on the law will be the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which the GAO estimated will need $329 million. The Federal Trade Commission will also be responsible for enforcement of some of the new provisions of the law.  

The answer to any problem is always the same in Washington D.C. Pass more laws, create more government agencies and hire more bureaucrats.  And of course that requires SPENDING more money that the federal government does not have.

The U.S. federal deficit as percent of GDP is now approaching 10%, more than double the average over my my lifetime (56 years).  Heres a graph of federal Health Care spending from the GAO for FY 2002-2022. 

Can you see all that money that Obamacare is saving?  Me neither.  And guess what?  Federal spending on health care will be higher than this chart shows. MUCH HIGHER. The GAO always low balls these figures.

What about the cost of General Government?  GAO only projects general government spending until 2016 because they ran out of room on the graph!

So, what the heck, lets create another agency.  Whats one more going to hurt?  Heck, we created a Department of Homeland Security to consolidate the two Immigration and Customs agencies in the Justice and Treasury Departments.  Now we have three and a half Customs and Immigration agencies with twice the number of employees; CBP, CIS, ICE, HSI and even the government employees in those agencies dont know who does what. The agency names and duties have been constantly changing since DHS was established in 2003. 

 

No Mas!  This has to stop.  Over the 32 year period that I was employed by the federal government there were numerous government shutdowns because Congress could not agree on a budget.  The world did not come to an end.  Social Security checks were delievered most people didnt even noticed that the federal government had been shut down.

My agency expanded from a 12 person office to a 125 person office and became LESS productive!

There were also numerous federal hiring freezes over the three decades.  Yet, not only is there not a hiring freeze in effect now, the government is growing larger by the day.

We are all headed for more than a little big of hell, if the madness does not stop now.  Call or write your Congressman and tell them to shut the government down, if the Democrats will not agree to cut federal spending drastically. Most of us wont miss anything.  If that is what it takes to get federal spending under control and start to bring the deficit down, so be it. 

The only parts of the federal government that we really need are essential services and they will not be shut down. This is what worries the Democrats and the Unions and why they are determined not to shut down the feds. What happens to the Democrats if Congress shuts down all but the essential services of the federal government and nobody even notices except the bureaucrats who arent getting paid? 

Sunday
Mar272011

ICE/HSI: Too Dysfunctional to Fix

As reported here last week, John Chakwin, Special Agent in Charge of ICE/HSI in Dallas is retiring on April 1. Chakwin has been the subject of numerous EEO complaints for years. 

In a 2008 EEO hearing, Chakwin said that it was ridiculous to accuse him of age discrimination since he was over the age of 50.  Chakwin also said in the hearing that he would not be able to retire before the mandatory retirement age of 57.

Chakwin will be 54 when he retires on April 1.  A well placed source in ICE Headquarters has confirmed that Chakwin is being forced out due to  some issues but he would not go into specifics.

Another source implied that the displeasure with Chakwin is at a very high level in the Department, even higher than the ICE Director.  EEO settlements costs are continuing to rise at ICE and rogue HSI managers are now on the radar screen at the Department of Homeland Security.

ICE/HSI management has a reputation for retaliating against individuals who file EEO complaints. Many agents believe that ICE group supervisors are under constant pressure from the ASAC and higher levels of HSI, to commit perjury rather than give truthful testimony in EEO investigations and hearings.

If you have access to PACER, read the filings in federal court on case #: EDNY CV-04-1057

Special Agent named Sunil Walia who speaks 3 languages, including Arabic is assigned to ICE/HSI at JFK Airport in New York.  He was hired post 9/11 and told that his language abilities would be a huge asset for ICE .  SA Walia expected that he would be interviewing Arabic speaking passengers at JFK to help protect the country from radical Islamic terrorists. Yet ICE management at JFK never utilized his language abilities.

Marci Forman is the former Director of ICE/HSI who selected her sister as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge the New York.  The Forman sisters are accused of retaliating against SA Walia for his EEO activities.  The Forman sisters are accused of refusing to assign SA Walia Arabic speaking passengers, in retaliation for against him for filing an EEO complaint.  Other non-Arabic speaking agents are instead assigned to interview these passengers.

Neopotism, which is a violation of federal law and civil service regulations, is widespread in ICE.  John Chakwin, who was appointed SAC in Dallas by Marci Forman, who also hired TWO of Chakwins sons as ICE/HSI agents.  

HSI is broken beyond repair.  HSI needs to be abolished.  Agents should be transferred to the many agencies that share concurrent jurisdiction with ICE on all investigative areas except immigration.  The list includes just about any investigative agency you can think of, including the FBI, Secret Service, ATF, DEA, Postal Inspection Service, and both the Commerce and State Departments. The former INS agents at HSI should to be transferred to ICE ERO, which is now the old Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The only unique jurisdiction ICE has is IMMIGRATION related.  In fact the FBI actually shares immigration authority now.  HSI is getting out of the immigration investigation business, which ICE/ERO is taking over.

Actually, it makes no sense to even have a Homeland Security Department that does not include the agency responsible for investigating terrorism and other federal crimes against the homeland (the FBI).

The entire Department of Homeland Security needs to be ablolished. Put ICE back under the Department of Justice and Customs and Border Protection back under the Treasury Department. It resided since 1733 before the creation of the Department of Homeland Stupidity in 2003.  The Secret Service also belongs in the Department of Treasury, where it was created to protect the currency, long before it started protecting the President.

All that would be left in DHS is the Coast Guard, which should be under the Department of Defense and FEMA, which was previously an independent agency and can go anywhere.  The federal government needs to cut billions of dollars from its budget.  A good place they should start is in the Department of Homeland Security, which is fledgling bureaucracy that should never should have been created in the first place. 

Its time for all of HSI management to retire, not just John Chakwin.

Saturday
Mar262011

OPR Head Hunters Finally GET their Guy!

ICE couldnt track an bleeding elephant across a snow covered tennis court but if they decide to go after one of their own, they wont give up until they get their guy!

The U.S. Justice Department paid $400,000 in 1999 to settle a lawsuit by an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agent in Los Angeles who had been subjected to more than two-dozen internal investigations over a ten year period.

The government decided to settle a federal discrimination case filed by Special Agent Jorge Guzman after a federal criminal trial found that agents from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, illegally forced their way into his home in September 1996 while looking for a nanny suspected of being an illegal immigrant.

It was an inquisition, Guzman, told the Los Angeles Times in 1999, years of living under a cloud for years. Its very Kafkaesque. Its a hellish nightmare, to tell you the truth.

This former INS agent had been investigated for everything from alleged theft of seized cash and jewels, to associating with narcotics traffickers, to drinking alcohol while on duty, to having an affair with a female co-worker during working hours. Co-workers and people in other federal agencies were periodically informed of the allegations, Guzman said in his law suit, ensuring that his reputation suffered irreparable harm.

Guzman told the LA Times that the incident at his Glendale home in 1996 was an invasion by armed, plainclothes agents at a time when he was away but his 20-month-old daughter was home with the nanny and Guzmans sister.

What has happened to Guzman since 1999?  In 2003 both the INS and U.S. Customs Service were abolished and the criminal investigators from both agencies were transfered to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency under the Department of Homeland Security. (ICE recently announced that the Office of Investigations, will now be known as Homeland Security Investigations or HSI.)

Until recently, Guzman supervised four ICE/HSI groups probing human smuggling and trafficking as well as benefit fraud in Los Angeles. He has been quoted in newspapers about ICE cases and has appeared on TV programs like CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” He was quoted earlier this month in a story published in The Daily, which is owned by News Corp (FOX), in a story about Mexico’s violent drug cartels.

Yesterday, The Smoking Gun, reported that an ongoing criminal investigation is targeting Guzman, now a 25-year law enforcement veteran who most recently served as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of the ICE/HSI office in Los Angeles.

During several routine background investigations to update Guzmans security clearance, Guzman submitted paperwork that stated he had been awarded an Associate of Arts degree from Sacramento City College in 1986.  In August 2010, an anonymous caller informed the DHS Joint Intake Center (JIC snitch hotline) that Guzman had lied on standard government background forms about having an AA degree.

 Most ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) agents, dream of slam dunk cases like this that keep them from working complex cases.  I can tell you as a former Treasury Department OIG head hunter, exactly how this case went down (after reviewing the affidavit published on the Smoking Gun).

A head hunter in LA stumbled across this JIC gem while going over the daily referrals looking for an easy case. Im sure he couldnt believe his good fortune when he ran across this one.  All he needed to do was make a phone call to the college and if he hit pay dirt, hed investigate this high level official for at least a year, avoiding any real work.  The college quickly confirmed that Guzman attended the but did not receive a degree.  Road Trip! The OPR agent screws around with this simple case from August until December. 

In December 2010, the OPR agent, who at this point knew Guzman acquired enough college credits to graduate but never applied for or was awarded a degree,  told an OPR clerk to send an email to Guzman, informing him that his background jacket was missing a copy of his Sacramento City College associates degree. Could he fax one over?

At that point Guzman faced two choices. One would have saved his ass.  The other is going to get him arrested and fired.  Guzman SHOULD have called OPR and said, oh I never picked up that degree.  As a recall, I had enough hours to be awarded an associates degree but the Border Patrol hired me as an agent and since that job does not even require a high school diploma, I never went to Sacramento to pick it up.  The other choice was to phony up a degree and fax it over OPR. Brown Book vs Red Book -it should have been an easy choice for a veteran agent.

NONE of the jobs that Guzman held at the Border Patrol, INS or ICE required that he have a college degree.  An associates degree is not worth the paper its written on.  I know because I have one. But I also have a 4 years bachelors degree.  The BS got me my federal criminal investigator job, the AA got me nothing.  However INS unlike all the other federal criminal investigation agencies, never required either a two or four year degree. In fact most former INS agents and supervisors do not have college degrees.

As a result of Guzmans poor judgement and OPRs passion for shooting fish in a barrell, one supervisor will soon lose his job (an get arrested for a felony) and a lazy Head Hunter will get promoted to supervisor. Hell be able to avoid doing real work for the rest of his career!  Good for one, very bad for the other. 

Yes, Guzman would have had some explaining to do.  Why had he stated on his background form, over twenty five years ago, that he had an AA degree.  He would also have to come up with an explanation for not correcting the error during subsequent updates. But believe me, he could have faded that heat and would have survived as an agent and ASAC.  You also would not be reading about ASAC Guzman now if he had used good judgement when OPR set him up for the kill.

But Guzman, like many who join the GS/15 supervisory fraternity, thought he was bullet proof and invisible. Thats part of the federal management culture.  This same culture results in a surprisingly large number of SACS and ASACS being forced out of the job, but few are criminally prosecuted.  Guzman is not going to be so lucky.  The first thing OPR agents do when a complaint or allegation is filed against an employee is pull his file and review the previous investigations or Red Books.

In 1999, when Guzman filed his discrimination suit, he and his nanny accused one of the OPR agents of fondling her, during the illegal search.  Guzman also cashed a check for $400,000 further embarrassing the head hunters.  Its pay back time!

I agree with The Smoking Gun, Whatever the investigation’s outcome, it will likely prove deeply embarrassing to Homeland Security officials. Either a high-ranking ICE supervisor was able to move up the law enforcement ladder while repeatedly lying about his educational history, or an experienced agent was wrongly accused by peers whose botched probe effectively torpedoed his career.

Monday
Mar142011

Secret Service Audio Tape of Assassination Attempt on Reagan

A 30 year old Secret Service audiotape sheds light on the chaotic aftermath of Ronald Reagans shooting when neither the president nor his guardians realized hed been shot. 

The President lost half his blood and came closer to death that day than the nation realized until years later. 

The Secret Service released the tape Friday in response to a public-records request from Del Wilber, a Washington Post reporter whose book, Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan, comes out next week.

President Reagan is Rawhide.  Crown is the White House. Rainbow is the First Lady.

Listen to the Secret Service audio tape here

Wednesday
Feb022011

Border Patrol Pilot Indicted for 2005 False Statements

On Dec. 14, 2005 Border Patrol (BP) agents on the ground observed a BP helicopter hover at low altitude over two Mexican nationals crossing the Rio Grande River in close proximity to International Bridge II in Laredo, Texas.  A BP pole camera video showed a BP helicopter hovering over the Rio Grande River in close proximity to International Bridge II. Internal records of BP helicopter N5185B indicate that on that date BP helicopter N5185B was being operated in close proximity to International Bridge II.

Internal radio transmissions indicate that the identified pilot of the helicopter told a BP agent by radio transmission he was going to try to make the individuals go back. The BP agent observed one of the individuals separate from the flotation device due to the helicopters rotor wash. BP was informed later that day that a Mexican national had drowned in the Rio Grande near International Bridge II. James Peters was the pilot flying BP helicopter number N518B, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down yesterday in Houston. Peters was charged with making false statements to federal investigators.

Making false statements is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits lying to or concealing (information) from a federal official by oral affirmation, written statement or mere denial. The purpose of the statute is to punish those who render positive false statements designed to pervert or undermine functions of governmental departments and agencies.

Peters had been flying interdiction patrols along the border. Investigators say that in 2005 he spotted two men in a flotation device near the International Bridge II in Laredo and buzzed them. One of the men was blown off the flotation device by the choppers rotor wash and drowned. 

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas is accusing Peters of lying about what led up to the Dec. 14, 2005, drowning death of Carlos Delgadillo Martinez, a Mexican national who was trying to illegally cross into the U.S. with another person on inner tubes.  Internal radio transmissions indicate Peters told an agent he was going to try to make the individuals go back, according to the indictment.

Why did it take the feds over five years to indict this pilot for making false statements?  Why was Peters only indicted for making false statements if his reckless actions caused a death?  There is no good reason that this investigation should have even taken five months to complete.  There are more questions than answers when an indictment is handed down five years after an incident that was investigated half a decade ago. 

There has to be a lot more to this than DHS is or DOJ is telling the public. The government represents and works for the people. We have a right to know what has been going on for the last five years on this case. Bonzer Wolf Today will be following up on this story, which was released by the Feds late last night.

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