Napolitano bringing “Paul Blart” to a highway near you?

By Scott W. Winchell – SUA reported on the use of TSA officers in a joint operation on Tennessee highways several months ago. The question is, upon the creation of the TSA, what legal authority allowed the Executive Branch any sort of permission or wrote any overt intent into law that would allow them to act as sworn and trained police officers, anywhere, especially outside any airport?

It seems that the Obama administration, through Secretary of DHS Janet Napolitano, has done what is becoming commonplace in this administration, expanding the powers of the Executive Branch beyond its Constitutional constraints. Taking legislation and through twisted logic, expanding them well beyond the law’s intent.

This administration will take any loophole and expand it into a wide chasm where regulations are created, powers are bestowed, or seeds are planted for further usurpation of power. It seems that mere words can create these vast twists. The term “Transportation Safety” Administration has seemingly given them that opening since it was not just “Airport Safety” Administration. Transportation is a broad term, and they are expediting and expanding into areas definitely not the intent of the original legislation.

This is akin to self-determining when the Senate is or is not in session to make recess appointments. The administration has and will continue this usurpation of power they once decried so vehemently of the Bush administration. Is this what we have been hearing about, an Obama private national police force?

Rep. Blackburn writes about this phenomenon below, and SUA congratulates her for raising the issue to a higher level. Now we need to get Congress and the Supreme Court to act again. But this is what this administration depends upon. They know it will take years to change, but by then, who knows how far this will be taken. This reminds us of the old adage, “its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”

When the TSA was formed, and likely to be unionized if Obama wins a second term, the vast majority of the people in these positions where euphemistically former “fry cooks”.

"Paul Blart" - Napolitano and Obama bring "Mall Cops" to a highway near you?

Through our lives, we have all seen the “Mall Cops”, or “Gramps with guns” patrol our shopping centers and parking lots, many armed. Movies have been made poking much fun at them, mostly in the lowest forms of jest, but unfortunately, this latest expansion of power is no laughing matter. TSA is loaded with “Paul Blarts”, not funny!

As Blackburn points out, these “Mall Cops” are often much better trained than any TSA officer, yet, Napolitano has created the appearance of legality and power by creating elaborately uniformed ‘officers’. How is the general public supposed to know the difference when confronted by a TSA officer on a highway?

If you, in personal life, gave even the impression of impersonating a police officer in any way, shape, or form, it would be your own handcuffs on your wrists.

The TSA Is Coming To A Highway Near You

Forbes.com

By Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

One of the great honors of my service to Tennessee is having the opportunity to represent Ft. Campbell which is home to the storied 101st Airborne, the 5th Special Forces Group and the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment which piloted Navy SEAL Team Six during the raid on Osama Bin Laden.

Each soldier who calls Ft. Campbell home has gone through some of the most intensive training on the planet which pushed their minds and bodies to their physical limits. In the end, those who make the cut have earned the right to be part of our United States military, are honored to wear its uniform, and are serving on the frontlines in the fight against global terrorism.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our nation’s Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) who Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano contends are our nation’s last line of defense in fighting domestic terrorism. Unlike “hell week” which faces potential Navy SEALs, becoming a TSO requires a basic level of classroom and on the job training. In many cases this rigorous training is less severe than the requirements of becoming a security guard in most states.

Believe it or not, only 7 years ago, TSOs went by a more deserving title, “airport security screeners.” At the time, their title and on the job appearance consisted of a white shirt and black pants. This was fitting because airport security screening is exactly what’s required of the position. However, this is no longer the case.

In the dead of night, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administratively reclassified airport security screeners as Transportation Security Officers. The TSA then moved to administratively upgrade TSOs uniforms to resemble those of a federal law enforcement officer. They further completed the makeover with metal law enforcement badges. Not surprisingly, government bureaucrats at the TSA left out one crucial component during the artificial makeover – actual federal law enforcement training as is required of Federal Air Marshalls.

While TSOs may have the appearance of a federal law enforcement officer they have neither the authority nor the power. If a passenger brings a loaded gun or an explosive device into an airport screening area there is nothing a TSO can do until the local police step in to save the day.

If TSOs are truly our nation’s last line of defense in stopping an act of terrorism, then the TSA should immediately end the practice of placing hiring notices for available TSO positions on pizza boxes and at discount gas stations as theyhave done in our nation’s capital. Surely, this is not where our federal government is going to find our brightest and sharpest Americans committed to keeping our traveling public safe. I would contend that we can surely strive for a higher standard and may want to look first to our veterans returning home from the battlefield.

Interestingly enough, as TSA officials like to routinely point out, their agency’s acronym stands for Transportation Security Administration, not the Airport Security Administration. This fact has extended the TSA’s reach far beyond the confines of our nation’s airports. Many of my constituents discovered this first hand this past fall as those familiar blue uniforms and badges appeared on Tennessee highways. In October Tennessee became the first state to conduct a statewide Department of Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) team operation which randomly inspected Tennessee truck drivers and cars.

VIPR teams which count TSOs among their ranks, conduct searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and every other mass transit location around the country. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times has detailed, VIPR teams conducted 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year alone. The very thought of federal employees with zero law enforcement training roaming across our nation’s transportation infrastructure with the hope of randomly thwarting a domestic terrorist attack makes about as much sense as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Justice tour.

In order to help rein in the TSA I introduced H.R. 3608, the Stop TSA’s Reach in Policy Act aka the STRIP Act. This bill will simply overturn the TSA’s administrative decision by prohibiting any TSA employee who has not received federal law enforcement training from using the title “officer,” wearing a police like uniform or a metal police badge. At its most basic level the STRIP Act is about truth in advertising.

As TSOs continue to expand their presence beyond our nation’s airports and onto our highways, every American citizen has the right to know that they are not dealing with actual federal law enforcement officers. Had one Virginia woman known this days before Thanksgiving she may have been able to escape being forcibly raped by a TSO who approached her in a parking lot in full uniform while flashing his badge.

Will the STRIP Act solve every problem facing the TSA? Absolutely not. The STRIP Act seeks to expand upon the work of my colleagues by chipping away at an unnoticed yet powerful overreach of our federal government. If Congress cannot swiftly overturn something as simple as this administrative decision there will be little hope that we can take steps to truly rein in the TSA on larger issues of concern.

Furthermore, if Congress fails to act do not be surprised if the TSA gives TSOs another administrative makeover in the future. Only this time it won’t be a new uniform. It will be the power to make arrests as some TSOs are already publicly calling for.

_____________________________

Congressman Blackburn is a Republican serving Tennessee’s 7th district.

DHS – Privacy Impact Assessment – Lists sites they watch

By Scott W. Winchell

What do the following web sites have in common?

Jihad Watch, Live Leak, Border Fire, Twitter, Vimeo, Youtube, Flickr, Counter-Terrorism Blog, Danger Room, Drudge Report, Foreign Policy, Global Security Newswire, Google Blog Search, Homeland Security Today, Huffington Post, LongWarJournal, MEMRI, Newsweek Blogs, NYTimes Lede Blog, Plowshares Fund, Popular Science Blogs, Science Daily, STRATFOR, Technorati, Terror Finance Blog, Cyber Crime Topic Center, and ABC News Blotter, plus many others.

Pretty good company we think, makes us wonder why they did not include Stand Up America…er, yet!

Privacy Impact Assessment - Trust me?!

They are on the Department of Homeland Security’s new Privacy Impact Assessment for the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative Update as sites they are watching at least initially. It was produced last January.

The original Homeland Security Act of 2002 had certain mandates and has been updated and amended several times.

The reason for the update from the PDF listed at DHS:

Federal law requires the NOC to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture for the entire federal government, and for state, local, and tribal governments as appropriate, and to ensure that critical disaster-related information reaches government decision makers. See Section 515 of the Homeland Security Act (6 U.S.C. § 321d(b)(1)). The law defines the term “situational awareness” as “information gathered from a variety of sources that, when communicated to emergency managers and decision makers, can form the basis for incident management decision-making.” OPS has launched this Initiative to fulfill its legal mandate to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture. In doing so, OPS is working with select components within the Department to achieve this statutory mandate.

… previous reports to help avoid duplicative reporting and ensure further development of reporting on ongoing issues. It allows analysts to electronically document details using a customized user interface, and disseminate relevant information in a standardized format. Using the MMC application, NOC analysts can efficiently and effectively catalog the information by adding meta-tags such as location, category, critical information requirement, image files, and source information. The application empowers NOC analysts to have a better grasp of the common operating picture by providing the means to quickly search for an item of interest using any of the above mentioned meta-tags as well as enabling them to respond to requests for information from other collaborating entities in a timely fashion. Download the entire PDF here.

The question we all ask after reading this is: “What is of interest to DHS?” Does it apply to the directives handed down that outline what and who are the right-wing extremists they determined need to be watched?

Remember, the DHS Mission is:

Title I – Department of Homeland Security

Sec. 101. Executive Department; Mission

(a) Establishment. – “There is established a Department of Homeland Security, as an executive department of the United States within the meaning of title 5, United States Code.

(b) Mission

(1) In General. – The primary mission of the Department is to

(A) prevent terrorist attacks within the United States;

(B) reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; and

(C) minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery, from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States.”

So let’s ask ourselves, of the abbreviated list above, or the entire list on the document cited above, do these sites present a security issue to DHS, or are thay the sites that may do the homework for the DHS?

In numerous cases, the DHS and other DC alphabet soup agencies already cull a lot of knowledge from these and many other websites, so why is there a mandated Privacy Impact Assessment Report that at a minimum identifies:

The NOC will access these web-based platforms to identify content posted by public users for the purpose of providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture. The NOC will assess information identified to assist decision-makers

PII on the following categories of individuals may be collected when it lends credibility to the report or facilitates coordination with federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, foreign, or international government partners:

  1. U.S. and foreign individuals in extremis situations involving potential life or death circumstances;
  2. Senior U.S. and foreign government officials who make public statements or provide public updates;
  3. U.S. and foreign government spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates;
  4. U.S. and foreign private sector officials and spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates;
  5. names of anchors, newscasters, or on-scene reporters who are known or identified as reporters in their post or article or who use traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed;
  6. current and former U.S. and foreign public officials who are victims of incidents or activities related to Homeland Security; and
  7. terrorists, drug cartel leaders or other persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest, (e.g., mass shooters such as those at Virginia Tech or Ft. Hood) who are killed or found dead

You be the judge. Over at Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer and others cited the following as well:

“DHS Creates Accounts Solely to Monitor Social Networks,” by Olivia Katrandjian for ABC News, December 28, 2011 (thanks to C.Z.):

An online privacy group is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security accusing it of not releasing records from the agency’s covert surveillance of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

The DHS creates accounts solely to monitor social media sites and establish a system of records of the information gathered. The agency does not post information, seek to connect with other users, accept invitations to connect or interact with others according to a statement on their website.

How reassuring!

How much do you trust anything Janet Napolitano and DHS says or does?

 

The 'Cover-Up', how high does it really go on Fast and Furious?

By Scott W. Winchell, Editor – Just when we thought the Fast and Furious debacle was so reprehensible that numerous Congressmen, from both parties, joined a growing cacophony of calls from the blogo-sphere and media pundits for the resignation of US Attorney General Eric Holder it takes an even bigger twist.

SUA and many others have pointed out that the political ideology of current administration officials set the stage for such a debacle but its not just about Holder’s lies anymore, it goes further, into a blatant cover-up that may reach all the way up to the White House.

FBI Director Mueller, AZ Gov. Brewer and AG Holder

It now appears that the death of Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry was clearly avoidable, if only the FBI and DEA had practiced proper ‘deconfliction’, or more precisely, talked to each other, local authorities, and Border Patrol to avoid conflicts between cases, especially involving informants. Not informing Border Patrol of ongoing, extremely dangerous operations in an infamous area called “Smuggler’s Paradise” in Pima County Arizona’s Peck Canyon was unconscionable.

One must also wonder if Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik now famous for his outspokenness after the Gabby Giffords incident, knew anything was happening either. After all, it was happening in his jurisdiction and it was in an area Border Patrol frequently performed patrols as part of its duties.

Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano

The timing is also very curious here because Giffords and 19 others were shot on January 8, 2011, just a few weeks after Brian Terry was killed on December 14, 2010 and President Obama immediately sent FBI Director Mueller to the area to personally handle the situation. Why? The unprecedented move was curious at the time, but since a Congresswoman was a victim, it seemed to be a deft move, if not a political move, or was it?

Questions now arise that since both incidents happened within Pima County, within mere weeks of each other, the White House may have been worried the two may be related. Or possibly that with all that new publicity, the DoJ and the White House did not want prying eyes seeing anything related to the Terry death.

Additionally, questions rise that DoJ operations intentionally withheld information from DHS to cover for their own ineptitude prior to the incident where Terry was killed. Not informing Border Patrol of a building incident directly caused Brian Terry and his team to walk into a heavily armed ‘rip crew’ operation.

Terry had no way to defend himself facing much heavier ordnance, assault rifles that came from Fast and Furious operatives. In fact, one weapon is now missing, and the case has been sealed.

Janet Napolitano told Congress she never talked to DoJ about the killing of Brian Terry, but we now know that a debacle like this had to filter up to the top, especially since it happened so close to the Giffords incident. Her staff had to know what took place between agencies and with all the new publicity, it must have been discussed by everyone in DHS. It is simply unbelievable that she would not have confronted DoJ about such insanity unless she was directed to keep silent by the White House.

If Holder does resign, along with others, are they going to be liable for abetting a crime after the fact? What if Issa and others prove culpability and confront Holder when he testifies again on December 7th and demand his resignation right there in the hearing room? We can only hope.

FBI Criminal Informant Complicit in Brian Terry’s Death (PJM Exclusive)

From multiple sources come shocking charges of deadly ineptitude and an FBI coverup in Fast and Furious.

PJ Media

By Bob Owens

In the growing Fast and Furious scandal, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death in Peck Canyon, Arizona was previously described as a chance meeting that led to a firefight: an illegal alien “rip crew” working for the Sinaloa cartel was hoping to find other illegal aliens and to rob them at gunpoint. Instead, they stumbled across a Border Patrol unit and murdered Agent Terry.

Last week, the Washington Times offered a new version of the encounter: they reported that the rip crew was not hunting illegals, but Border Patrol teams — with the intention of engaging them in combat.

Sources now tell PJ Media that neither version of events is accurate: the rip crew was not waiting for a chance encounter with other illegals, nor did the members intend to engage American law enforcement agents.

The rip crew was in Peck Canyon that evening with the intention of stealing money and drugs from a specific shipment of which they had prior knowledge.

Sources claim the Department of Justice has been trying for almost a year to hide the key information — how the rip crew knew the shipment was coming through that night.

Criminal informants (CIs) are a common tool of law enforcement agencies. When agencies apprehend criminals, agencies often reduce or drop charges in exchange for information leading to the arrests of higher-ranking criminals. Earlier this year, reports claimed that Operation Fast and Furious weapons smuggled over the border were actually chosen by an FBI informant, and paid for with money provided by the federal government.

The rip crew knew to be in Peck Canyon that December evening because a CI working for the FBI found out about a smuggling run — from the FBI.

It is not clear if the information was provided intentionally, but a possible motivation for the FBI to provide the information is known to exist: the CI had previously lost a shipment of drugs, and wanted to regain the trust of the cartel with an offering of drugs or money. The other possibility is that the FBI mistakenly allowed the CI to discover the information.

The CI used this information to organize an ambush of the drug convoy. A source tells PJM that the FBI knew from wiretaps that the CI was using their information to set up an ambush.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — through its own CIs and communications intercepts — was also aware of the planned assault.

Neither the DEA nor FBI warned Border Patrol about the expected criminal activity.

The federal government will still not reveal if one of the two WASR-10 AK-pattern semi-automatic rifles located near the scene — provided to the Sinaloa cartel via Operation Fast and Furious — was the weapon that put a bullet through Brian Terry’s heart. The existence of a third recovered gun, an SKS carbine, has been disputed by the FBI despite the fact it had been talked about openly in the beginning of the investigation among federal agents.

Multiple sources tell PJM that this third weapon “disappeared” because it was the weapon carried by the FBI CI who ran the rip crew. When it was recovered near the scene of the murder and subsequently traced by the ATF, it traced back to the FBI CI via the gun shop in Texas where it was purchased.

Deconfliction is a major element of high-risk undercover law enforcement work. Undercover agents and informants often cross jurisdictional paths, and deconfliction is the process whereby agencies warn off other agencies so that their assets don’t end up in conflict, putting investigations and lives at risk.

In this case, the FBI and DEA failed to deconflict. Neither agency bothered to warn Border Patrol to keep their BORTAC teams out of Peck Canyon that evening. As a direct result of this FBI and DEA failure — combined with Homeland Security forcing BORTAC units to carry less-lethal beanbag rounds in some of their primary weapons — Brian Terry’s under-armed four-man unit walked into an ambush against a heavily armed rip crew, at least five of whom were carrying rifles.

Brian Terry’s murder was entirely preventable. The incompetence of the DEA and FBI let his Border Patrol unit walk into an ambush. After the ambush, it appears the FBI tampered with evidence to cover up that one of their informants was involved with the murder of a federal agent.

The government has recently sealed the case against the only suspect the FBI chose to keep behind bars.

Now Utah…Holder sues yet another state

Editor’s Note – First it was Arizona, then it was Alabama, then South Carolina, now it’s Utah. At some point, the federal government under Obama’s administration needs to rethink their strategy and just do their job they swore to fulfill.

Utah Flag

When states continue to complain, request help, take matters into their own hands, get zero help, get lied to, the public in general gets lied to, and the border with Mexico is still America’s worst domestic nightmare, its time to fire those in charge.

The DoJ under Holder, and the DHS under Janet Napolitano are just not doing their jobs for ideological reasons. The laws are on the books, yet they are not enforced, so what do they do, sue the states. How many more times do we need proof that both are inept and unable to do their jobs.

In a related story from last month, Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer’s suit against the Federal government was dismissed by Judge Susan Bolton:

In her ruling, Judge Susan Bolton of United States District Court in Phoenix said the governor’s claim that Washington had failed to protect Arizona from an “invasion” of illegal immigrants was a political question that was not appropriate for the court to decide.

Again, SUA calls for the resignation of both Holder and Napolitano, and that a grand jury be impaneled to investigate their wrong doing as well. When we get to all fifty states being sued because the Federal government cannot, nor will not do their jobs, what then?

Feds sue Utah over immigration law

CBS News

SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging Utah’s immigration enforcement law, arguing that it usurps federal authority and could potentially lead to the harassment and detention of American citizens and authorized visitors.

“A patchwork of immigration laws is not the answer and will only create further problems in our immigration system,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement. “The federal government is the chief enforcer of immigration laws … it is clearly unconstitutional for a state to set its own immigration policy.”

South Carolina Flag

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court after months of negotiations between Justice Department attorneys, state attorneys and elected leaders. Justice officials said they plan to continue those discussions despite the lawsuit.

Other federal agencies included in the lawsuit are Homeland Security and the State Department.

Even with the federal intervention, state officials remained confident the law would eventually be sustained.

“The Legislature worked diligently to craft a law that would pass constitutional muster,” said Ally Isom, spokeswoman for Gov. Gary Herbert. “We hope the courts do the right thing.”

The Utah law, signed by Herbert in March, requires people to prove their citizenship if they’re arrested for serious crimes ranging from certain drug offenses to murder. It also gives police discretion to check citizenship on traffic infractions and other lesser offenses.

Although the Utah law was modeled on Arizona’s strict enforcement measure that was passed in 2010, lawmakers worked to address some of the biggest concerns. Chief among those was the requirement that police check the immigration status of anyone they arrest and the ability for police to verify the status of anybody they legally encounter.

Alabama Flag

Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit earlier this year, and a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order in May against the law, House Bill 497. A hearing on that lawsuit is scheduled for Dec. 2.

But that hearing may be delayed because of the federal lawsuit, National Immigration Law Center general counsel Linton Joaquin said. The NILC, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, is handling the original lawsuit against the state.

The federal lawsuit “reinforced the claims we’ve been making all along,” Joaquin said. “The Utah law is preempted by federal law and is unconstitutional.”

Utah’s enforcement law was part of an immigration reform package signed by Herbert this year. Among those was a program that will allow illegal immigrants with jobs to live and work in the state that federal officials also argue is unconstitutional, but they are holding off on a lawsuit because it doesn’t go into effect until 2013.

Originally, federal officials told Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff that they planned to include the guest worker law in their lawsuit. He said the fact they only focused on the enforcement measure in this lawsuit demonstrates their willingness to work with the state.

“We’re now adversaries in the courtroom but we’re going to continue to discuss this with them,” Shurtleff said.

Arizona Flag

Three other states that have passed strict enforcement laws in the past two years have been sued by the Justice Department, including Arizona, South Carolina and Alabama.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal on an injunction against key parts of the state’s law. Federal judges have also blocked parts of the South Carolina and Alabama laws.

The department is still reviewing laws passed earlier this year in Georgia and Indiana.

AG Abbott Letter to Obama – ‘I Told You So’

Editor’s Note – When we ask if we are secure on our borders, the current administration tells us we are safer than we have ever been. The arrests are up and the illegal immigration is down. Janet Napolitano said:

“There is a perception that the border is worse now than it ever has been,” Napolitano said at the Bridge of The Americas border crossing in El Paso, Texas, the Associated Press reports. “That is wrong. The border is better now than it ever has been.”

However, the people who live in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California know better. Just ask Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County Arizona who is calling for Holder’s resignation, or in this case, the Attorney General of Texas. Read what the AG of Texas has to say to Obama:

Greg Abbott Tells Obama to PROTECT US NOW after Texas Officer Shot by Mexican Drug Cartel on Border

By David Bellow

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Obama on November 2nd, 2011. The letter had a clear message.

I TOLD YOU SO!

Greg Abbott has been pleading for the Obama Administration to take action to protect the Texas Border from these violent Drug Cartels. The Drug Cartels have killed tens of thousands of innocent victims and now the Drug Cartel violence is spilling onto the American side. Earlier this year I posted a video of a battle that happened on the border across from Roma, TX. The explosions and gunfire were easily seen and heard from the Texas side. I have also written articles detailing shootouts between the Drug Cartels and Texas Law enforcement and also about how Texas children are being recruited and killed by Mexican drug cartels.

Greg Abbott warned President Obama that soon these Drug Cartel bullets will harm Americans on the Texas side of the Border.

Sure enough, Greg Abbott was right.

A Texas Deputy was shot 3 times in a shootout last weekend.

Following this recent incident, Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Obama pleading for him to take action to protect Americans by protecting the Border. He used this recent incident as his example.

Below is the Letter that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent to President Obama on November 2nd, 2011:

Dear Mr. President,

Over a year ago, I wrote to you warning of the increasing threat of cartel-related violence spilling across our border with Mexico. At the time, gunfire from cartels in Juarez had crossed over the border into El Paso. Fortunately for El Pasoans, those bullets struck only buildings, rather than bodies. But as I warned back then, we cannot simply rely on good fortune to protect American lives from the ever-present threat of cartel violence on our southern border. Since the incident in El Paso, the threat from the cartels has only grown—and now the bullets have struck Americans. Just last weekend, in a deadly shootout with cartel operatives, a deputy sheriff in Hidalgo County, Texas, was shot three times. Thankfully the officer survived, but the Hidalgo County Sheriff confirmed that the shooting spilled over from ongoing drug wars involving the Gulf Cartel in Mexico.

Unfortunately, last week’s gun battle in Hidalgo County was not an isolated incident. In January of this year, highway workers repairing a road near a known drug-smuggling route were fired upon from the southern side of the border near Fort Hancock, Texas. In June, Texas law enforcement officers near Abram, Texas, exchanged fire with drug smugglers who attacked them from across the border. In May, U.S. Border Patrol agents near Mission, Texas, also came under fire under similar circumstances. And in September, one man was killed when cartel operatives exchanged gunfire between vehicles driving down a highway in McAllen, Texas.

Within just the last two weeks, three high-level cartel leaders have been arrested inside the United States. Reports indicate they were hiding in Texas in an attempt to avoid violence in Mexico. But the violence is already starting to follow these criminals to the United States, as the increasing cartel activity in South Texas demonstrates. Their presence in our country is more evidence that the cartels increasingly view the porous border as no more than a line on a map. And if your Administration continues to fail to secure the border against this threat, it is only a matter of time before American lives are lost.

I implore you to aggressively confront this escalating threat. The safety and security of the Americans you have pledged to defend is at risk because of the cartel battles spilling across our border. To protect American lives, your administration must immediately dedicate more manpower to border security—especially along the 1,254 mile Texas border, which remains unacceptably porous. Texas and its law enforcement personnel at the state, county and local levels remain committed to working with your Administration to maintain the highest level of public safety. We ask that you collaborate with us to accomplish that goal before more American blood is lost.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Greg Abbott

Attorney General of Texas