Terrorists and a Porous Border

A while back I pointed out the threat that was developing as individuals hostile t0 US interests were poised to use the human trafficking channels through Central America to enter the US surreptitiously.  At the time the focus was primarily on Iranian sponsored conduits.  Today we are seeing hard evidence of these channels being used by groups that have an established animosity to the US and a connection to terrorist organizations.

An article in the Washington Times points out active operations by multiple smuggling organizations to move terrorists into the United States across the southern border.  The activities reported here only touch on the operations where the Border Patrol apprehended, or are aware of the activities.

Some of the men handled by the smuggling network were nabbed before they reached the U.S., but others made it into the country. The Afghan man was part of a group of six from “special-interest countries.”

The group, guided by two Mexicans employed by the smuggling network, crawled under the border fence in Arizona late last year and made it about 15 miles north before being detected by border surveillance, according to the documents, which were obtained by Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican.

The article goes on to describe some of the functional breakdowns that face the Border Patrol on a regular basis.

…the Border Patrol didn’t immediately spot the Afghan man’s terrorist ties because the database that agents first checked didn’t list him. It wasn’t until agents checked an FBI database that they learned the Afghan may be a danger, the documents say.

“It’s disturbing, in so many ways,” said Joe Kasper, Mr. Hunter’s chief of staff. “The interdiction of this group … validates once again that the southern border is wide open to more than people looking to enter the U.S. illegally strictly for purposes of looking for work, as the administration wants us to believe. What’s worse, federal databases weren’t even synced and Border Patrol had no idea who they were arresting and the group was not considered a problem because none of them were considered a priority under the president’s enforcement protocol. That’s a major problem on its own, and it calls for DHS to figure out the problem — and fast.”


The group of six men nabbed inside the U.S. — the Afghan and five men identified as Pakistanis — all made asylum claims when they were eventually caught by the Border Patrol. Mr. Hunter said his understanding is that the five men from Pakistan were released based on those claims and have disappeared.

I don’t know about you but in these few paragraphs we see a number of very correctable operational issues.

  1. Databases:  This is a no brainer folks.  Relational databases and data mining tools have existed and been improving for decades.  A simple data warehouse combining data from all of the related databases across the agencies would solve this.  Update it on a daily basis and all of the sudden we become a whole lot better at using the information that we have.
  2. Political asylum seekers are not typically people that will travel halfway acround the world, spend thousands of dollars to a smuggling organization, crawl under a border fence, enter the country illegally, travel many miles on foot, and then claim political asylum only after being detained and questioned by authorities.
  3. If someone is claiming political asylum why would we release them rather than hold them for processing?
  4. Enforcement Priorities.  I believe that this comment is a reflection of the will of the current administration to uphold the Constitution and laws of the Republic.  Common sense dictates that when you are “at war” (“in conflict with” whatever phrase you choose to use) with an organization (not a nation state in this case but an organization and belief) that was sworn to destroy all that are unlike them, that you would prioritize securing the homeland from them.

Daesh, Al-Qaeda, ISIL, ISIS, Hamas, PLA, etc. (and there are many of them) are all supporters or active players in the declared jihad against Christianity, “the West” (including Europe), and the the United States in particular.  These organizations span the globe including APAC, EMEA, and the Americas.  All of these organizations rejoice and redouble their efforts, every time there is an attack at the heart of their enemies (Paris, London, NY, Washington).  This conflict that is not a recent development.  These hostilities go back in history to as early as the 6th Century.  To put that in context the Crusades were not initiated until the 11th Century.

Terrorism is real, and will be with us for a very long time.  Any administration that holds the reins in the United States needs to be much more conscious of that fact and much more active in balancing security and the freedoms that make this nation what it is.

As an action plan (obviously not having all of the detailed facts, budgets etc.) I would suggest to the administration that the following steps be taken immediately.

  1. Improve border security, and enforcement.  Do this by taking the following steps:
    1. Consolidate all intelligence and enforcement data on persons of interest into a single data warehouse.
    2. Implement stricter enforcement of existing laws regarding immigration.
    3. If required to complete B establish additional courts, law enforcement staff, and detention facilities to properly process everyone detained.
    4. Retask or launch additional surveillance equipment and analysis personnel to interdict air, sea, and land infiltration of the US.
    5. Provide for additional interdiction personnel and equipment to respond to actionable real time surveillance information developed from above.
  2.  Port Security
    1. Increase port security personnel and equipment to prevent human smuggling as well as potential other attacks.
  3. Airport Security
    1. ICE personnel at airports should be reinforced with additional trained personnel, equipment and K9 units.
    2. Revamp the TSA from top to bottom.  The current structure and approach is not effective.
  4. Intelligence and Enforcement agencies need to work in concert globally to ferret out and stop attacks prior to the attack entering an operational phase.
    1. Improvements have been made in this aspect of our fight but, there are still improvements to be made.

No matter what happens from a prevention standpoint, the United States will be the target of additional terrorists attacks.  These may take place within the US, or they may take place against US interests overseas.  It is inevitable that no matter what we as a nation do an attack will occur.  However, if the security of this Republic is a priority (and the Constitution makes it a priority of every administration) then there are actions that can be taken that will make a difference, provide better efficiency to the enforcement actions, and give the taxpayers a better value.  Many of these actions are common sense actions and only take a little bit of will, desire, and a very small budget to implement.  Now, we just need an administration with the will and desire to get it done.

Posted in Events, GWOT, Terrorism | Leave a comment

Recent History and Context

So here’s video that would be considered alarmist, extreme, and probably “racist” in many circles.  I wanted to drop it in here for a several reasons.

  1. Historical context.  There are some things that we tend to forget about the middle east that are really pretty important.
  2. Contemporary events.
  3. Volume.  When the video talks about population volume.  Give those facts some critical thought and put them in context.

The world is not a safe and fun place right now.  Unfortunately, that is not going to change for quite some time.

Posted in Current Events, History, Terrorism | Leave a comment

240 Years


Happy Birthday, to all that have earned the title.

Posted in Marines | 1 Comment

Beruit 1983

October 23rd, 1983.  A Sunday if I remember correctly was not a good day.

The Beirut Barracks Bombings (October 23, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon) occurred during the Lebanese Civil War when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force (MNF) in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen. An obscure group calling itself ‘Islamic Jihad‘ claimed responsibility for the bombings.[2]

The chain of command likely ran from Tehran, to Iran’s Ambassador to Syria, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur in Damascus, to IRGC commander Hossein Dehghan, in Beirut, as the Iranians drew on assets in Lebanon.[3] Hezbollah, Iran and Syria have continued to deny any involvement in any of the bombings; even though, in 2004, the Iranian government erected a monument in Tehran to commemorate the 1983 bombings and its “martyrs”.[4]

Suicide bombers detonated each of the truck bombs. In the attack on the building serving as a barracks for the 1st Battalion 8th Marines (Battalion Landing Team – BLT 1/8), the death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and three soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since World War II‘s Battle of Iwo Jima, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States military since the first day of the Vietnam War‘s Tet Offensive, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II.[5] Another 128 Americans were wounded in the blast. Thirteen later died of their injuries, and they are numbered among the total number who died.[6] An elderly Lebanese man, a custodian/vendor who was known to work and sleep in his concession stand next to the building, was also killed in the first blast.[7][8][9] The explosives used were later estimated to be equivalent to as much as 9,525 kg (21,000 pounds) of TNT

Posted in Heroes | 1 Comment

In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions

This is a really good op-ed piece from the NYTimes.  It shines a light of reality on the issue.  We live in a Republic that is blessed by it’s structure and the foresight of the founding fathers.  However, it seems to me that we are now at a point where our prosperity has lost touch with reality, and our morality has put on a set of blinders that only allows us to see (and act) about what we want to see.


Do Americans who are upset about Cecil even realize how terrifying animals can be?

Source: In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions

Why does a single trophy hunter generate all this attention and hatred from Americans when he is cheered by the residents of the country in which the lion was harvested?  Yet the same, vocal individuals turn a blind eye to the actions of Planned Parenthood?  They turn a blind eye to the actions of governmental leaders in relation to Benghazi?

As a culture how can we pull our heads out of the sand, and our “reality” TV and recognize what is happening around us, and take substantive corrective action?  If there is one issue that should be addressed in the upcoming Presidential Campaign (and it won’t be) I think that is it, and it encompasses foriegn policy, domestic welfare, economic programs, tort reform, tax reform, environmental policies, everything.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

An Interesting Google Benefit

An interesting snippet about Google employee benefits.

Source: Did You Know That When A Google Employee Dies… | Things You Didn’t Know

So let’s think about this for a minute.  If you have an employee that is making 120K, and you have to pay out on this benefit.  That is 60K a year for 10 years, or 600K.  A nice benefit.

What does it cost Google.  In the greater scheme of the company finances…. pretty much nothing.  If Google has to pay this benefit 20 times per year I would be surprised.  So let’s for a moment assume that Google pays this benefit 50 times a year.  By extension they could have 500 concurrent payments taking place.  Continuing with the 60K per year example as an average, the annual cost to Google is 30 Million dollars.  Google’s Q1CY15 gross revenue was 17.2 BILLION.

The cost to Google of this benefit is negligible.  The value of the benefit to employee loyalty, that is where it makes a lot of sense.  For a company with 55,000 employees in a very competitive technology sector, attrition can be a killer.  If this benefit helps to stem the turnover of employees the company benefits more than the cost of administering the program.

It is a great strategy from Google, and it is very beneficial for their employees.  While no one wants to have to collect or payout on the benefit, the fact that it is there…. (to use a cliche) priceless.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Blackhawks Win!

And so the 2014-2015 season comes to an end.  It ends with the Hawks shutting out the Lightning for a game six win.

There are a lot of good stories out there about the game, and the individual stories surrounding the series, the season, and the game.  Short version, the Blackhawks came to win last night, and it showed.  Every playoff series is a battle and the Lightning played to win, they just didn’t get the right bounce of the puck and just weren’t able to capitalize on their opportunities.

There are a lot of important things to point out about the game but, I think ESPN has done a good job documenting those stories.  But the thing that stands out in my mind (aside from the hockey) is that no one decided to host a Stanley Cup Riot in the city last night.  How long has it been since we had a Championship win in major sports that was not used as an excuse to burn a few cars, and loot a few buildings?

Posted in Culture, Current Events | 2 Comments

No, you are not ‘running late’, you are rude and selfish | Creative Staffing Agency

Awesome rant.  It all boils down to manners, and selfishness.  Love the dentist story.

No, you are not ‘running late’, you are rude and selfish | Creative Staffing Agency.

Posted in Culture | 1 Comment

Changing ITAR Regulations

Hmmm….  It seems the State Department is changing the way information is classified under current.  There is a great deal of hoopla from various entities around these “clarifications” and “definitions”.  Some of it maybe very well placed.

Looking at some of the broader changes, this looks like a significant overreach into the definition of public domain.

Gravest Threat to First and Second Amendments Yet Seen | Shall Not Be Questioned.

Posted in Government, Gun Control | 1 Comment

Goodbye Sweden | THE SWEDEN REPORT

Interesting opinions from someone with boots on the ground.  Do you see any similarities to North America?

Goodbye Sweden | THE SWEDEN REPORT.

Posted in Government, Politics | 1 Comment