Napolitano admits that an Al Qaeda-Zetas partnership is a “concern,” but don’t worry because they’re on it; Update: “Weapons of mass effect” already found?

Posted on February 9, 2011


Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitan...

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Imagine my surprise when I finally read that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano actually does “get it” when it comes to securing the border with Mexico.  It’s not so much about illegal immigrants coming here to work, but more about keeping out terrorists who may try to sneak into the country and do us harm

Napolitano said that the U.S.-Mexico border remains a challenge but that it is safer than it has been in the recent past.

U.S. intelligence and security officials have been monitoring the ties of the major drug cartels operating in Mexico, such the Los Zetas cartel, for possible connections to Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda affiliates. Several members have expressed their concern in recent years that the increasingly emboldened cartels could form a profitable partnership with terrorists to smuggle weapons and equipment into the U.S. through existing drug routes. (emphasis mine)

“All I will say in an open setting is that we have, for some time, been thinking about what would happen if say Al Qaeda were to unite with the Zetas – one of the drug cartels – and I’ll just leave it at that,” she said.

While it’s nice that our government has finally had an epiphany about the potential terrorist threats we risk by having such a porous border with Mexico, Secretary Napolitano’s persistent meme about the border being more secure than ever is hardly a source of comfort.   After all, it was just reported that a Iranian book which celebrates suicide bombers was recently found in the Arizona desert while its owner was not.

On the bright side though, at least the government is now admitting we have a problem, which is a good first step. Taking action to solve that problem must be the next.  Unfortunately, the actions the DHS has taken to mitigate these threats leave a great deal to be desired.  Here’s the first part of their plan:

Napolitano also said that the U.S. is now screening 100 percent of at-risk cargo coming into the country, which it was not doing last year. And though DHS and the private sector have made significant strides in securing the country from a chemical, biological, or radiological attack, she said, there remains much more to be done.

It’s great that we’re screening cargo coming in to the country through the ports of entry, but what about the “cargo” that can be carried in on the back of someone crossing the border illegally?  If the cartels can have people smuggle loads of pot into the U.S. on their backs, how much easier would it be to have a biological weapon, much smaller and lighter than drug load, smuggled into the country in the same way?  Does the DHS really think something like a biological weapon would be brought in through a port of entry where screenings are now the norm? 

This brings us to the government’s second plan of attack:

DHS has built four major areas of security, she said in prepared remarks. Those include: the creation of Joint Terrorist Task Forces; the launch of state and major urban area fusion centers staffed with 68 DHS officials throughout the country; the implementation of the nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) initiative, which is expected to reach the entire country by September; and the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, which promotes awareness of suspicious activity and behavior by citizens, businesses, and local law enforcement.

Does anyone notice anything missing here?  Where is the mention of a fence or any other  type of enhanced security ON THE BORDER in the form of significant numbers of personnel and technology?  If the cartels are smuggling weapons and people into the U.S. via “existing drug routes,” why are we not addressing those avenues of entry?  Why is the government instead relying on programs which only operate once the terrorists and/or weapons have already been brought into country?  Why is one of the most obvious solutions one that the government can’t bring itself to complete?

On second thought, Secretary Napolitano and the DHS don’t “get it ” after all.

UPDATE:

Over at JammieWearingFool’s blog, it looks as if “weapons of mass effect” have already been found in the United States.   You’ll notice in the interview that the port director says no dirty bomb or nuclear weapon has been found at the port of San Diego, but does admit some weapon has been found in San Diego. 

A later statement by Customs and Border Patrol includes this:

CBP has not specifically had any incidents with nuclear devices or nuclear materials at our ports of entry. CBP is an all-threats agency. The purpose of many security measures is to prevent threats from ever materializing by being prepared for them. And, we must be prepared to stop threats in whatever form they do materialize at the border, whether it’s an individual or cargo arriving by land, air, or sea. Regardless of what the contraband or threat is, we’re being smart, evaluating, and focusing in on anything or anyone that is potentially high-risk. (emphasis mine)

 Don’t be fooled by the hyper-parsing of language by the administration which has given us the phrase  “man caused disaster” instead of terrorism.  Instead, let’s look at what’s been omitted. 

While there have been no “nuclear devices” or “nuclear material” found, this does not include any type of chemical or biological weapon.  Additionally, while nothing has been found at the PORT of San Diego, something was found IN San Diego.  Should this be a surprise?  Not at all.   Just recently, in San Diego,  a radical Imam was caught attempting  to be smuggled into the country after paying a Tijuana-based smuggling group to bring him into the U.S.   Couldn’t whatever weapon that has been found in San Diego have been brought in the same way?  

The omissions from the Customs and Border Protection’s statement speaks volumes.

Posted in: Mexico, War on Terror