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U.S. GOVERNMENT PROTECTS THE ENVIRONMENT, NOT U.S. CITIZENS
by Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely (Ret.)
(Apr. 21, 2011) — We have raised the threat level of Mexico and the Southern Border. The threat from our Southern Border is greater now than the Middle East (except for Iran and proxies) and Afghanistan/Pakistan conflict. The inactions by our government are treasonous. Our leadership in Washington, DC continues on a rudderless course when it comes to National Security especially along our Southern Border. We need leaders now that understand the current threat and vulnerabilities.
For the third time in only a few months, a current federal report exposed how the U.S. government prioritizes environmental preservation over national security by keeping Border Patrol agents out of wildlife refuges that are heavily transited by Mexican drug and human smugglers.
“For years, Border Patrol agents have been prohibited by the Interior Department and the U.S. Forest Service from actively patrolling such areas because it threatens natural resources,” Tom Fitton, president of the public-interest watchdog Judicial Watch, following the release of the GAO report in the past week.
“Motorized vehicles, road construction and the installation of surveillance structures required to adequately secure the vast areas are forbidden because it could endanger the environment and its wildlife. In the meantime, Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers regularly use the sprawling, unmanned and federally protected land to enter the U.S. The areas have become the path of choice for illicit operations that endanger American lives and, ironically, cause severe environmental damage,” said Fitton.
The Law Enforcement Examiner obtained copies of the original reports — GAO-11-38 and GAO-11-117 — and discovered that environmental concerns took precedence over law enforcement and public safety concerns.
According to the GAO report, 40 percent of Southwest border lands are managed by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, and coordination and cooperation between Border Patrol and land management agencies is critical to ensure national security.
The Government Accountability office summarized its findings from two previous reports regarding the U.S.-Mexico border in the fall of 2010. The first report, GAO-11-38, focused on the key land management laws that Border Patrol must comply with and how these laws affect the agency’s operations. The second report, GAO-11-177, focused on the extent to which Border Patrol and land management agencies’ law enforcement units share threat information and communications.
When operating on federal lands, Border Patrol must comply with the requirements of several federal land management laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Wilderness Act, and Endangered Species Act. Border Patrol agents must obtain permission or a permit from federal land management agencies before agents can undertake operations, such as maintaining roads and installing surveillance equipment, on federal lands.
To fulfill these requirements, Border Patrol generally coordinates with land management agencies through national and local interagency agreements. The most comprehensive agreement is a 2006 memorandum of understanding between the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, and the Interior that is intended to guide Border Patrol activities on federal lands. Border Patrol’s access to some federal lands along the southwestern border has been limited because of certain land management laws, according to 17 of 26 patrol agents-in-charge that GAO analysts interviewed.
For example, these patrol agents-in-charge reported that implementation of these laws had resulted in delays and restrictions in their patrolling and monitoring operations. Specifically, 14 patrol agents-in-charge reported that they had been unable to obtain a permit or permission to access certain areas in a timely manner because of the time it takes for land managers to conduct required environmental and historic property assessments. The 2006 memorandum of understanding directs the agencies to cooperate and complete, in an expedited manner, all compliance required by applicable federal laws, but such cooperation has not always occurred.
For example, when Border Patrol requested permission to move surveillance equipment, it took the land manager more than 4 months to conduct the required historic property assessment and grant permission, but by then illegal traffic had shifted to other areas.
Despite two congressional reports documenting the obstacles Border Patrol officers face in these dangerous areas, little has been done to remedy the situation and improve security. An overwhelming majority of Border Patrol agents told congressional investigators that “land management laws” continue to limit their access to federal lands along the treacherous southwestern border.
Information sharing and communication among the agencies have increased in recent years, but critical gaps remain in implementing interagency agreements. Agencies established forums and liaisons to exchange information; however, in the Tucson sector, agencies did not coordinate to ensure that federal land law enforcement officials had access to threat information and compatible secure radio communications for daily operations.
The situation is so dire that a group of lawmakers have introduced legislation to prohibit any federal agency — especially the Department of the Interior — from using environmental regulations to hinder the Border Patrol from securing the area. The measure would essentially ensure that Border Patrol, not federal land managers, have operational control of the nation’s borders. …previously reported by Jim Kouri in the Examiner.
It is now time to enforce the rule-of-law and the protection of Americans and our country. No more excuses…no more delays…no more politics. no more kowtowing to special interest groups, or claims by open-border believers. The fact is, the Citizens of the USA are in daily danger and are being killed because the border and interior states of Mexico are controlled by thugs, savvy drug cartel leaders, terrorists and who knows what or who else! Once again, the entire area is festooned with upheaval, violence, and lawlessness as it was in 1846.
If our Federal Government will not execute an operational plan to secure our southern borders then the States and all Americans must demand it. However, let me provide an executable plan of operations for the Federal Government (Department of Defense) to undertake with resolve and commitment to protect and secure the American people and our border.
The problems on and across our southern borders of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are in the news every day. We have a war of gigantic proportions…illegal invasions, jihadists, treacherous drug cartels, gangs, human trafficking, drugs (is there not a war on drugs???), smuggling, kidnappings, and corruption of officials on both sides of the borders. Now if I were the Commander-in-Chief, I would be on a war-footing and I would have my military commanders planning and executing a strategy that will defeat swiftly and decisively these cancerous enemies and bring the border under control.
The plan is basic and advanced unconventional/conventional war planning using Joint Strike Force Operations (The Lily Pad Strategy developed by MG Paul Vallely). This combines the best use of our Forces that will encompass intelligence, targeting, structural organization of our forces to accomplish the mission, base operations, offensive and defensive operations. First, organize three (3) Border Task Force Groups (BTFGs) and position them in three operational bases, one in Texas, one to be in Arizona and one in Southern California. We have existing bases (lily pads) in those states that can be utilized. There is no requirement to create any new bases. I will not name these existing bases because of operational security but Department of Defense can easily figure this out! The BTFGs will be organized based on joint task forces of Special Ops and conventional forces, Army, Air Force and Navy. Selected units and personal will be relocated and moved to these designated bases. I would also declare with Mexico, a 20 mile “No Go” zone on the Mexican side of the border. Any group or persons occupying this zone engaging in criminal or illegal activities against Mexico or the United States will be engaged and neutralized on site. Our message to Mexico: “We do it, you do it or we do it together”! The same message that we should have been delivered to Pakistan years ago.
There will be approximately 5,000 warriors assigned to each BTFG. The organization will be commanded by a Two Star “Warrior” and each of the three BTFGs will be commanded by a Brigadier General. The mission for the Command will be to target and conduct offensive and defensive operations on the Mexican side of the border. National Guard, Border Patrol, DEA, and local sheriffs units will conduct border security operations on the United States side of the border. This initiative does not violate any existing Posse Comitatus laws and is supported by many active and retires border Sheriffs and Border Patrol Agents.
The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction, with the intention (in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807) of substantially limiting the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement. The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services (today the Army, Navy, Air Force, and State National Guard forces when such are called into federal service) from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property (states and their counties and municipal divisions) within the United States. The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The Coast Guard is exempt from the Act.
The National Guard is and will be the asset of the State Governors to be used as required to augment the Active Force BTFGs operations on the US side of the border. Remove Homeland Security Department from this action completely.
The concerns and anxiety of Americans, particularly in the Border States have grown significantly in the past twelve months. Changes in law enforcement operations have forced coyotes and cartels of drugs and illegals into ever more isolated areas, increasing the number of deaths and the level of violence to a point where even the most vigilant law enforcement officials are in harm’s way.
The political ferment over the Southern Border has never been greater. 78 percent of Americans think and know that the government is inept in controlling the flow along and through our borders. Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Global jihad are major threats as they eye the southern border as a path of least resistance to strike inside the United States. Do not overlook the union of Chavez of Venezuela and Ahmadinejad of Iran and their intentions.
America…We must act NOW for the welfare and security of our precious nation.
Paul E. Vallely (MG, US Army Ret) – Chairman Stand Up America
Chairman – Stand Up America