Who needs the government to tell us the status of homeland security? If you're not seeing five-alarm red over the perpetual chaos at DHS, you need to call the eye doctor.
The Ontario (Calif.) Daily Bulletin reported Tuesday that Border Patrol agents are now ratting out Minutemen, immigration enforcement volunteers who have broken no laws, to Mexico. Yes, we are paying our federal immigration officers to gather intelligence on our own citizens -- and then turn it over to a foreign government intent on sabotaging our sovereignty.
Deportation officers across the country continue to report that "catch and release" of illegal aliens remains the order of the day. A memo I obtained last week outlined desperate deck-chair shuffling by Border Patrol supervisors who are pulling dozens of detention and transport officers from around the country to assist in the border enforcement charade. President Bush is leading the amnesty bandwagon.
And inside Department of Homeland Security headquarters, it's color-coded cronyism as usual.
The latest fiasco involves Shirlington Limousine and Transportation Inc., a shady limousine company with millions of dollars in DHS contracts to shuttle its workers around the Beltway. That's right. When your tax dollars aren't subsidizing Border Patrol spies for Mexico, they're being used to foot the bill for "12 minibuses and 16 drivers to shuttle Homeland Security employees between the department's various offices in the Washington area" and "10 additional drivers to chauffeur department executive staffers in Homeland Security-owned sedans," according to the Associated Press. Shirlington's latest contract with DHS totals $21.2 million for a maximum of five years.
Shirlington, certified as a minority-owned business, is run by one Christopher Baker, who has a reported 62-page rap sheet with convictions on several misdemeanor charges, including drug possession and attempted petty larceny, plus two felony charges for attempted robbery and car theft, according to D.C. Superior Court records cited by the AP and others.
Homeland Security bureaucrats may not be the only ones getting free rides from Shirlington. Liberal blogs -- the Project On Government Oversight, TPM Muckraker and Harper's Online -- first exposed the firm's shady history while digging into the alleged "Hookergate" scandal involving disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, defense contractors and CIA officials. Lawyers for Shirlington deny the company transported prostitutes to longstanding poker parties held at the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels in D.C. But the FBI is now investigating, and the CIA's third-highest-ranking official (an old friend of the party-thrower, defense contractor Brent Wilkes) abruptly resigned this week -- following on the heels of CIA chief Porter Goss's step-down.
Ironically and amusingly enough, Democrats -- those always reliable, pro-affirmative action zealots -- are crying foul over Shirlington Limo's minority preferential treatment and raising questions about the company being used as a minority-owned front in a "historically underutilized business zone." Glad they are finally on board with those of us who have long raised questions about the government's small-business diversity scam. These racial and ethnic bean-counting programs are among the most corrupt government vehicles in the bureaucracy -- and in post-September 11 America, the most potentially dangerous to boot.
Cronyism -- rainbow-flavored and plain vanilla -- has corroded our safety. One example: We've wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on a no-bid contract for a broken U.S.-Canadian border camera system run by a firm that employed Texas Democrat Rep. Silvestre Reyes' daughter as vice president of government contracts. Hardly a peep has been heard from the Democrat congressman's colleagues about that. And as I've pointed out many times over the years, the immigration enforcement top management is filled with people with zero immigration enforcement experience. Or commitment.
For their part, House Republicans are not looking the other way. "The information we've obtained raises a number of serious questions, from the contracting process to possible security concerns," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., chairman of the subcommittee on management, integration and oversight, told the press. "The appearance of a lack of background checks on contractors is another troubling personnel issue at DHS that we are examining."
DHS can't police its own contractors. Yet, Washington persists in moving forward with a massive "guest-worker" program that will entrust the department to process potentially millions of new background checks for illegal aliens from around the world whom no one ever plans to deport.
Homeland security? What homeland security?