I did not expect a count up of I, II, III, IV, and V but detours and road hazards happen. Got to be careful riding around the Northwest which has its own disproportionate share of frontier souls/ghosts on both sides of the border who have contemplated forming their own independent nation of Cascadia or something close in B.C., WA, and OR (or more.) I like using “disproportionate” but unlike some people throw it around, with a stupid grin on their face, of a forgone conclusion, when they talk about NYC, the target of 9/11 attacks and home of Lady JULY IV MDCCLXXVI given to us by Germany during WWII– oops — France in 1886.
Onto the bad hombres now! DT’s pet peeve. But lets first have some moose or elk meat, maple syrup and beer.
Cross-Border Law Enforcement Operations
Cross-border law enforcement that are overseas or distant from land and maritime borders have limited presence of U.S. agents and tightly integrated and coordinated with the State and foreign partner agencies.
To the North, Canadian operations are largely focused to close vicinity of land or maritime borders where interdictions take place.
As one of Five Eyes partners, Canada and U.S. share, not just criminal, but also other high-level intelligence information. Criminal investigations are conducted under the MLA or DFAIT which requires notification of entry. There is some grant of police powers under Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement Operations Act limited to maritime (and planned for land) which has raised sovereignty concerns (here, here, here, and including data sharing and collection here.)
Last April, 2 Ontario Canadian border agents were arrested as part of a drug smuggling ring but there have been no major public revelations, fiascos or systemic problems involving border operations. Effective and current law enforcement makes the extra trouble of going through one extra country and 2 hardened borders risky and less lucrative than the one Mexican border. [9/2017 update on 500 kilogram cocaine smuggling attempt interdiction, too large for the domestic market, which may have been an attempt to use that route into the U.S.]. Despite the longest shared border and concerns about traficking, past and current government threat assessments do not indicate a need for the scale and type of operations that go awry at the Mexican border. Furthermore, social and institutional maturity in Canada, as well as levels of trade, cultural similarity and intelligence cooperation reduces risk, complexity and misalignment of MCIs.
This also diminishes opportunities for bureaucratic obstruction, corruption and empire building which are subject to more control, transparency and easier contained and disrupted.
While there are successful operations with Mexico, a disproportional number of high impact ones have gone wrong.
Agencies have entered complex environments with too many uncontrollable moving parts, bad actors, conflicting MCIs and lax or no controls. In every case they claim an isolated (i.e. non-representative) case that got out of hand. Going back to risk quantification, that is precisely where the volatility and highest impacts are. A non-representative chance of a preventable disaster is no justification for past failures and future business as usual.
Stings, A major point of failure, allow agencies to operate unilaterally or with small inter-agency teams, avoid task/strike force and DOJ supervision and accountability, and generate open-ended streams of headcount, budget maintenance and recognition, by acting on informant tips that can be questionable, bogus or solicited through bribes or intimidation by other operatives or agents.
The following are some examples involving one or more of: Foreign Corruption, Domestic Corruption, Foreign Law Violation, Domestic Law Violation, Treaty Violation, Diplomatic Incident, Civilian Death, Agent Death, Informant Death, Allowing CI to Commit Murder, Allowing CI to Run Ops
Figures published this month (6/2017) suggest Mexico is on course to overtake Syria as the most violent country in the world, after murder rates soared thanks to increased fighting among drug cartels, corruption, and the rising demand for opioids in the U.S. (Article)
In April, the Mexican Federal Police Commander, the highest-ranking member of the Federal Police’s sensitive investigative unit was charged with leaking confidential law enforcement information to drug cartel (media link, Justice link) that led to the unmasking of a DEA informant who was later kidnapped, tortured and killed. And that is the top guy who “attended training seminars at the DEA’s academy in Quantico, Va.”
Or the recent $3 billion corrupt anti-corruption champion that shocked everyone there. Wife going on a $500,000 spending spree is not cheap … she did “deserve abundance” like the rest of the country.
Even task forces and monitored operations can get out of control and not demonstrate value at the end.
Based on court documents and testimony by U.S. agents, between 2000 and 2012 the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels and Helped Rise of Mexican Drug Cartel “in violation of public international law, besides adding more fuel to the violence, violations of due process and of human rights” in a country that is now the almost most violent country in the world. Also based on same court documents operation Fast and Furious was part of an agreement to finance and arm the cartel in exchange for information used to take down its rivals.
Who can forget Fast and Furious, with its own rightful place on the throne of cross-border feces-theater kingdom, which was part of the ATF gunwalking scandal with the incredible return on investment of some straw purchasers having been arrested and indicted, but none of the targeted high-level cartel figures. It started over objections of ICE, and included many intra-agency “my target-your informant” collisions. It later became a OCDETF approved (inherited problem child of) Strike Force including ATF, FBI, DEA, ICE and federal prosecutors which is as good as it should get. Except for those darn MCIs. ATF supervisors overruled Phoenix agents’ objections to not intercept guns, and ATF’s Mexico City office and Mexican police were left in the dark while many agents claimed some overrulings and stand downs to be linked to federal prosecutors’ political concerns. On the damage side:
- “Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress on June 28, 2012 and President Barack Obama had invoked executive privilege for the first time in his presidency over the same documents”
- U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was shot and killed by one of the Fast and Furious guns allowed to get to Mexico
- Since the end of Fast and Furious, related firearms have continued to be discovered in criminal hands. An undisclosed number of guns found at about 170 crime scenes were linked to Fast and Furious … including military-grade weapons difficult to obtain legally in the US such as an anti-aircraft machine gun and grenade launcher
- Questions have been raised over a possible connection to the death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata on February 15, 2011 linked to a Fast and Furious type operation out of Texas
- On November 23, 2012, two firearms linked to the ATF were found at the scene of a shootout between Sinaloa cartel including an AK-47 type … Mexican beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez and four others were killed
- Political and diplomatic fallout with the Mexican government which was kept out of the loop and its laws were violated and, to say the least, bad PR such as “In sum, the gringo government has been sending weapons to Mexico in a premeditated and systematic manner, knowing that their destinations were Mexican criminal organizations”
What an ROI!
Cartels or its members that cut a deal with the DEA are not necessarily excluding other interests and countries. Other Intelligence agencies are not just potted plants. They can use pawns that get caught approaching cartel for assassinations of Saudi ambassador and bombings in D.C., which while a credit to use of informants, this one was promptly burnt in most likely a calculated effort netting a loss of one expendable fool in N.Y. and leaving no hard evidence. A scenario of greater concern in Mexico’s mix of players, where higher level cartel leaders, along with foreign entities they may have already partnered with, or their rivals probe to identify informants to expose or map U.S. and other human intelligence networks.
When informants played both sides, “every federal rule and regulation was broken”, an informant to ran the investigation committed felonies, murder and “was given a license to kill.” This was also a case of turf rivalry between ICE and DEA and an example of poor coordination and not aligned MCIs.
Another covert drug-smuggling probe that took a disastrous turn — funneling at least $100,000 to Mexican dealers while getting an informant killed and violated a treaty with Mexico.
There are other cases in the U.S. — not isolated — where opportunity and lack of controls and accountability have led to intended abuse and violations.
The agency that started Waco and Ruby Ridge and dragged FBI into its mess, was just keeping it all in the family. This one was way off but again which one isn’t?
When not recruiting, framing and then prosecuting the mentally disabled, A.T.F. filled Secret Bank Account with millions from shadowy cigarette sales and ruined cooperating legitimate businesses.
And to celebrate their service to the country, ATF agents used a secret, off-the-books bank account to rent a $21,000 suite at a Nascar race, take a trip to Las Vegas and donate money to the school of one of the agents’ children. What a charitable bunch — donating to schools is so honorable but … Pray that little apples, oh lordy please, fall and stay far away, from their so rotten trees. I rhyme again!
Moving on to human fallibility which is always a risk factor, here are a few more heroes on the “isolated” wall of shame.
That FBI agent who was convicted of racketeering, obstruction of justice and murder charges stemming from his relationship with James “Whitey” Bulger, Steve Flemmi, and the Winter Hill Gang.
Oh those “Russians” were at it back then? I suppose if Comey had read more history than fiction, he would have less reason to doubt the CIA and NSA, and did not have to be called to the principal’s office (DNI and not NSC.) An isolated case of “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history,” and hey, Hansen was fiercely independent.
Speaking about rats and moles they can pop up anywhere.
Or recently an ex-SEAL/CIA smoking some friendlies into late night munchies oblivion.
Data & Information
Bouncing back to previous posts the following flows and chains present risks:
- SIGNIT through NSA-IC element-element criminal division
- to agent and/or informant
- to foreign partner/entity
- NCIC, FACE, NGI-IPS data
- to agent and/or informant
- to foreign partner/entity
- Other data such as name, birthday, image, social security number, home address, relations, financial data, investigative data, finger prints, habits, routines, psychographics and so on
- to agent and/or informant
- to foreign partner/entity
In relation to ACLU’s FOIA request, sensitive information going side and down from the top (NSA/CIA/DOD), and with as much intermediary bypassed, is much better protected than down and out; more control less moving parts.
Cyber espionage, warfare, hacking and information security and protection are current topics of concern and have opened up opportunities for nation-states, criminal organizations, and individuals to develop asymmetric warfare capabilities that are harder or impossible to attribute.
There is no shortage of data breaches and leaks of what was assumed to be secured. Whether business accounts such as Yahoo, VISA or government related DNC, OPM, FOP, or NSA and CIA tool leaks, security has failed and will faill.
This adds another layer of risk that even properly protected information, data and with the best of intentions can end up in an environment of human, technical or physical exposure and vulnerability.
Connectivity spreads information fast and far. Activists, watchdogs and hacktivists can converge and focus a fair amount of distributed and not-attributable justice and aggression on people and organizations that violate and disregard rights.
Any of the operations that wrong, touch on multiple issues and causes on someone’s radar, and reactions can range from protests to online activists taking measures, that ironically makes other law enforcement and government employees direct targets or collateral damage.
Examples abound but notable ones are the Cincinnati Police Department name and address dump (now removed) or sustained public exposure of KKK members (ongoing) and Fraternal Order of Police data which was not dumped (except for some contracts) after some back and forth with the possessor of the data.
Cross-border operations are complex and fraught with risk. The incentives to bypass foreign governments entirely, or keeping things within regional allied “relationships” along with other-agendas and motivations makes them national security problems. Off-the-books ones, like I said at the end of part V, are in addition, insane and criminal.
To keep with the spirit of the blog too, between reality and comedy, and mixing it up with art, imagine some supervising agent in a (not so) close to a border city and if you are visual, a cross (pun) between a JBT and Mario. A cohort from the IRS who likes acting like a cowboy, imagine a 10 year old — all hat and no cattle. They got colleagues across the border and like to keep it in the family. 2 main characters with other side actors.
In a beautiful region with not much crime happening — which is good — but what to do — what to do? Not gonna go through all the evolving and revolving crazy conspiracy and outlandish theories that not just border on (pun), but make insanity a verbal bitch, they all involve on or more culprits: Freemasons, Isreal, Mosad, CIA, Russians, Chinese or some other foreign power. And they are solving crime or supposed act that is either already solved, adjudicated or out of their jurisdiction. They can’t let D.C. or anyone else know since those people are suspect themselves and disproportionatley influenced.
De-conflicting (who reads TFM?) is not as constructive as starting stuff between people, organizations, governments, etc. like all terrorists do. There is even a spiritually independent holy war on LA for its corrupt, immoral practices and people. It would take another gazillion posts to go through their past cross-border and in town off-the-book episodes and accomplishments. It is complicated so lets TBD that.
But the latest is a double-cross-border (pun) sting or more only-a-retard-would-believe-this kind of empire building poppycock. The story line: bad hombres Mexican cartel moving in through the Northwest Canada border, not the small easy access southern one. Lets panic every OC group on both sides of the border and get some intel. Bring wars and issues to places that do not have problems and then solve the problem. Oh and lets get some European Illuminati type nobility in the mix. A pinch of salt and some olive oil, and turn the heat up. May be it will become a large international operation that can go on indefinitely.
BTW it starts small locally, no D.C. agencies or JTFs but lets partner with the folks down in Mexico on a coordinated sting.
What could go wrong?
Lets end with a fun fact: Wrong border — blowhard poppycock tax stuff pron blew it Brolin and Seth say so.
Happy 4th and Alpha Mike Foxtrot.