ARIZONA BORDERS AND CITIZEN SAFETY...

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    The United States Border Patrol is a federal law enforcement agency within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Its 20,200 Agents[1] are primarily responsible for immigration and border law enforcement as codified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Their duty is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States and to deter, detect, and apprehend illegal aliens and individuals involved in the illegal drug trade who enter the United States other than through designated ports of entry.

    Additionally, the CBP enforces federal controlled substances laws (as codified in the Controlled Substances Act) when violations occur or are found during the enforcement of federal immigration laws, via delegated authority from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Note that there are two personnel segments of U.S. Customs and Border Protection that people often confuse with each other, the CBP Officer [1], who wears a blue uniform and the Border Patrol Agent [2] who wears a green uniform.

    Contents [hide]
    1 History
    2 Strategy
    2.1 1986: Employer sanctions and interior enforcement
    2.2 Inspection stations
    2.2.1 El Paso Sector's Operation Hold the Line
    2.2.2 San Diego Sector's Operation Gatekeeper
    2.2.3 Tucson Sector's Operation Safeguard
    2.3 Northern border
    2.4 Border Patrol moves away from interior enforcement
    2.5 The new strategy
    3 Capabilities
    4 Expansion
    5 Special Operations Group
    5.1 Other specialized programs
    6 Border Patrol organization
    6.1 Border Patrol Sectors
    7 Training
    7.1 Uniforms
    7.2 Border Patrol (OBP) Ranks and Insignia
    7.2.1 Border Patrol Shoulder Ornaments
    8 Awards
    8.1 Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism
    9 Border Patrol Uniform Devices
    10 Equipment
    10.1 Weapons
    10.2 Transportation
    11 Line of duty deaths
    12 Armed incursions
    13 Ramos and Compean
    14 Criticisms
    14.1 Ineffective
    14.2 Allegations of abuse
    14.3 Corruption
    15 National Border Patrol Council
    16 National Border Patrol Museum
    17 In popular culture
    17.1 Books
    17.2 Film
    17.2.1 Documentaries
    18 See also
    19 References
    20 External links
    21 External Video
    21.1 GAO and OIG Reports

    [edit] History

    Immigration inspectors, circa 1924Mounted watchmen of the United States Immigration Service patrolled the border in an effort to prevent illegal crossings as early as 1904, but their efforts were irregular and undertaken only when resources permitted. The inspectors, usually called "mounted guards", operated out of El Paso, Texas. Though they never totaled more than 75, they patrolled as far west as California trying to restrict the flow of illegal Chinese immigration.

    In March 1915, Congress authorized a separate group of mounted guards, often referred to as "mounted inspectors". Most rode on horseback, but a few operated automobiles, motorcycles and boats. Although these inspectors had broader arrest authority, they still largely pursued Chinese immigrants trying to avoid the National Origins Act and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. These patrolmen were Immigrant Inspectors, assigned to inspection stations, and could not watch the border at all times. U.S. Army troops along the southwest border performed intermittent border patrolling, but this was secondary to "the more serious work of military training." Non-nationals encountered illegally in the U.S. by the army were directed to the immigration inspection stations. Texas Rangers were also sporadically assigned to patrol duties by the state, and their efforts were noted as "singularly effective".

    The Border Patrol was founded on May 28, 1924 as an agency of the United States Department of Labor to prevent illegal entries along the Mexico–United States border and the United States-Canada border. The first two border patrol stations were in El Paso, Texas and Detroit, Michigan.[2] Additional operations were established along the Gulf Coast in 1927 to perform crewman control to insure that non-American crewmen departed on the same ship on which they arrived. Additional stations were temporarily added along the Gulf Coast, Florida and the Eastern Seaboard during the sixties when in Cuba triumphed the Cuban Revolution and emerged the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Prior to 2003, the Border Patrol was part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), an agency that was within the U.S. Department of Justice. INS was disbanded in March 2003 when its operations were divided between CBP, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    The priority mission of the Border Patrol, as a result of the 9/11 attacks and its merging into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States of America. However, the Border Patrol's traditional mission remains as the deterrence, detection and apprehension of illegal immigrants and individuals involved in the illegal drug trade who generally enter the United States other than through designated ports of entry. The Border Patrol also operates 33 permanent interior checkpoints along the southern border of the United States.

    Currently, the U.S. Border Patrol employs over 20,200 agents (as of the end of fiscal year 2009),[3] who are specifically responsible for patrolling the 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international land borders and 2,000 miles of coastal waters surrounding the Florida Peninsula and the island of Puerto Rico. Agents are assigned primarily to the Mexico–United States border, where they are assigned to control drug trafficking and illegal immigration.[4] Patrols on horseback have made a comeback since smugglers have been pushed into the more remote mountainous regions, which are hard to cover with modern tracking strategies.[5]

    [edit] Strategy
    [edit] 1986: Employer sanctions and interior enforcement

    Border Patrol Agents with a Hummer and Astar patrol for illegal entry into U.S.The Border Patrol's priorities have changed over the years. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act placed renewed emphasis on controlling illegal immigration by going after the employers that hire illegal immigrants. The belief was that jobs were the magnet that attracted most illegal immigrants to come to the United States. The Border Patrol increased interior enforcement and Form I-9 audits of businesses through an inspection program known as "employer sanctions". Several agents were assigned to interior stations, such as within the Livermore Sector in Northern California.

    Employer sanctions never became the effective tool it was expected to be by Congress. Illegal immigration continued to swell after the 1986 amnesty despite employer sanctions. By 1993, Californians passed Proposition 187, denying benefits to illegal immigrants and criminalizing illegal immigrants in possession of forged green cards, I.D. cards and Social Security Numbers. It also authorized police officers to question non-nationals as to their immigration status and required police and sheriff departments to cooperate and report illegal immigrants to the INS. Proposition 187 drew nationwide attention to illegal immigration.

    [edit] Inspection stations
    United States Border Patrol Interior Checkpoints are inspection stations operated by the USBP within 100 miles of a national border (with Mexico or Canada) or in the Florida Keys. As federal inspection stations are also operated by the Mexican government within 50 km of its borders where they are officially known as a "Garita de Revisión." or Garitas, they are known also by that name to Latinos.

    [edit] El Paso Sector's Operation Hold the Line
    El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent (and future U.S. congressman) Silvestre Reyes started a program called "Operation Hold the Line". In this program, Border Patrol agents would no longer react to illegal entries resulting in apprehensions, but would instead be forward deployed to the border, immediately detecting any attempted entries or deterring crossing at a more remote location. The idea was that it would be easier to capture illegal entrants in the wide open deserts than through the urban alleyways. Chief Reyes deployed his agents along the Rio Grande River, within eyesight of other agents. The program significantly reduced illegal entries in the urban part of El Paso, however, the operation merely shifted the illegal entries to other areas.

    [edit] San Diego Sector's Operation Gatekeeper

    A Border Patrol Jeep stands watch over the U.S.-Mexico border at San Ysidro, California.San Diego Sector tried Silvestre Reyes' approach of forward deploying agents to deter illegal entries into the country. Congress authorized the hiring of thousands of new agents, and many were sent to San Diego Sector.[citation needed] In addition, Congressman Duncan Hunter obtained surplus military landing mats to use as a border fence.[citation needed] Stadium lighting, ground sensors and infra-red cameras were also placed in the area.[citation needed] Apprehensions decreased dramatically in that area as people crossed in different regions.

    [edit] Tucson Sector's Operation Safeguard
    California was no longer the hotbed of illegal entry and the traffic shifted to Arizona, primarily in Nogales and Douglas.[citation needed] The Border Patrol instituted the same deterrent strategy it used in San Diego to Arizona.

    [edit] Northern border
    In 2001, the Border Patrol had approximately 340 agents assigned along the Canada – United States border border. Northern border staffing had been increased to 1,128 agents to 1,470 agents by the end of fiscal year 2008, and is projected to expand to 1,845 by the end of fiscal year 2009, a sixfold increase. Resources that support Border Patrol agents include the use of new technology and a more focused application of air and marine assets.

    The northern border sectors are Blaine (Washington), Buffalo (New York), Detroit (Selfridge ANGB, Michigan), Grand Forks (North Dakota), Havre (Montana), Houlton (Maine), Spokane (Washington), and Swanton (Vermont).

    [edit] Border Patrol moves away from interior enforcement
    In the 1990s, Congress mandated that the Border Patrol shift agents away from the interior and focus them on the borders.

    After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security created two immigration enforcement agencies out of the defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). ICE was tasked with investigations, detention and removal of illegal immigrants, and interior enforcement. CBP was tasked with inspections at U.S. ports of entry and with preventing illegal entries between the port of entry, transportation check, and entries on U.S. coastal borders. DHS management decided to align the Border Patrol with CBP. CBP itself is solely responsible for the nation's ports of entry, while Border Patrol maintains jurisdiction over all locations between ports of entry, giving Border Patrol agents federal authority absolutely[dubious – discuss] nationwide[dubious – discuss].

    In July 2004, the Livermore Sector of the United States Border Patrol was closed. Livermore Sector served Northern California and included stations at Dublin (Parks Reserve Forces Training Area), Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno and Bakersfield. The Border Patrol also closed other stations in the interior of the United States including Roseburg, Oregon and Little Rock, Arkansas. The Border Patrol functions in these areas consisted largely of local jail and transportation terminal checks for illegal immigrants. These functions were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    [edit] The new strategy

    Cameras add "Smart Border" surveillance.In November 2005, the U.S. Border Patrol published an updated national strategy.[6] The goal of this updated strategy is operational control of the United States border. The strategy has five main objectives:

    Apprehend terrorists and terrorist weapons illegally entering the United States;
    Deter illegal entries through improved enforcement;
    Detect, apprehend, and deter smugglers of humans, drugs, and other contraband;
    Use "smart border" technology; and
    Reduce crime in border communities, improving quality of life.
    [edit] Capabilities
    The border is a barely discernible line in uninhabited deserts, canyons, or mountains. The Border Patrol utilizes a variety of equipment and methods, such as electronic sensors placed at strategic locations along the border, to detect people or vehicles entering the country illegally. Video monitors and night vision scopes are also used to detect illegal entries. Agents patrol the border in vehicles, boats, aircraft, and afoot. In some areas, the Border Patrol employs horses, all-terrain motorcycles, bicycles, and snowmobiles. Air surveillance capabilities are provided by unmanned aerial vehicles.[3]

    The primary activity of a Border Patrol Agent is "Line Watch". Line Watch involves the detection, prevention, and apprehension of terrorists, undocumented aliens and smugglers of aliens at or near the land border by maintaining surveillance from a covert position; following up on leads; responding to electronic sensor television systems and aircraft sightings; and interpreting and following tracks, marks, and other physical evidence. Major activities include traffic check, traffic observation, city patrol, transportation check, administrative, intelligence, and anti-smuggling activities.[4]

    Traffic checks are conducted on major highways leading away from the border to detect and apprehend illegal aliens attempting to travel further into the interior of the United States after evading detection at the border, and to detect illegal narcotics.[3]

    Transportation checks are inspections of interior-bound conveyances, which include buses, commercial aircraft, passenger and freight trains, and marine craft.[3]

    Marine Patrols are conducted along the coastal waterways of the United States, primarily along the Pacific coast, the Caribbean, the tip of Florida, and Puerto Rico and interior waterways common to the United States and Canada. Border Patrol conducts border control activities from 130 marine craft of various sizes. The Border Patrol maintains watercraft ranging from blue-water craft to inflatable-hull craft, in 16 sectors, in addition to headquarters special operations components.[3]

    Horse and bike patrols are used to augment regular vehicle and foot patrols. Horse units patrol remote areas along the international boundary that are inaccessible to standard all-terrain vehicles. Bike patrol aids city patrol and is used over rough terrain to support linewatch.[3] Snowmobiles are used to patrol remote areas along the northern border in the winter.

    [edit] Expansion
    Attrition in the Border Patrol was normally at 5%. From 1995-2001 attrition spiked to above 10%, which was a period when the Border Patrol was undergoing massive hiring. In 2002 the attrition rate climbed to 18%. The 18% attrition was largely attributed to agents transferring to the Federal Air Marshals after 9/11. Since that time the attrition problem has decreased significantly and Congress has increased journeyman Border Patrol Agent pay from GS-9 to GS-11 in 2002. The Border Patrol Marine Position was created in 2009 (BPA-M). This position will be updated to a GS-12 position sometime in 2010 or 2011. Border Patrol Field Training Officers may possibly be updated in 2010 to a temporary GS-12 pay rate. In 2005, Border Patrol attrition dropped to 4% and remains in the area of 4% to 6% as of 2009.[7]

    The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (signed by President Bush on December 17, 2004) authorized hiring an additional 10,000 agents, "subject to appropriation". This authorization, if fully implemented, would nearly double the Border Patrol manpower from 11,000 to 21,000 agents by 2010.

    In July 2005, Congress signed the Emergency Supplemental Spending Act for military operations in Iraq/Afghanistan and other operations. The act also appropriated funding to increase Border Patrol manpower by 500 Agents. In October 2005, President Bush also signed the DHS FY06 Appropriation bill, funding an additional 1,000 Agents.

    In November 2005, President George W. Bush made a trip to southern Arizona to discuss more options that would decrease illegal crossings at the U.S. and Mexican border. In his proposed fiscal year 2007 budget he has requested an additional 1,500 Border Patrol agents.

    The Secure Fence Act, signed by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2006, has met with much opposition. In October 2007, environmental groups and concerned citizens filed a restraining order hoping to halt the construction of the fence, set to be built between the United States and Mexico. The act mandates that the fence be built by December 2008. Ultimately, the United States seeks to put fencing around the 1,945-mile (3,130 km) border, but the act requires only 700 miles (1,100 km) of fencing. DHS secretary Michael Chertoff has bypassed environmental and other oppositions with a waiver that was granted to him by Congress in Section 102 of the act, which allows DHS to avoid any conflicts that would prevent a speedy assembly of the fence.[8][9]

    This action has led many environment groups and landowners to speak out against the impending construction of the fence.[10] Environment and wildlife groups fear that the plans to clear brush, construct fences, install bright lights, motion sensors, and cameras will scare wildlife and endanger the indigenous species of the area.[11] Environmentalists claim that the ecosystem could be affected due to the fact that a border fence would restrict movement of all animal species, which in turn would keep them from water and food sources on one side or another. Desert plants would also feel the impact, as they would be uprooted in many areas where the fence is set to occupy.[12]

    Property owners in these areas fear a loss of land. Landowners would have to give some of their land over to the government for the fence. Citizens also fear that communities will be split. Many students travel over the border every day to attend classes at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Brownsville mayor Pat Ahumada favors alternative options to a border fence. He suggests that the Rio Grande River be widened and deepened to provide for a natural barrier to hinder illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.[13]

    The United States Border Patrol Academy is located in Artesia, New Mexico.

    [edit] Special Operations Group

    A Border Patrol Special Response Team searches room-by-room a hotel in New Orleans in response to Hurricane Katrina.
    CBP BORSTAR canine team conducting rappeling trainingIn 2007, the Border Patrol created the Special Operations Group (SOG) headquartered in El Paso, TX to coordinate the specialized units of the agency.[14]

    Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC)
    National Special Response Team (NSRT)
    Border Patrol, Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR)
    Air Mobile Unit (AMU)
    [edit] Other specialized programs
    The Border Patrol has a number of other specialized programs and details.

    Air and Marine Operations
    K9 Units
    Mounted Patrol
    Bike patrol
    Sign-cutting (tracking)
    Snowmobile unit
    Infrared scope unit
    Intelligence
    Anti-smuggling investigations
    Border Criminal Alien Program
    Multi-agency Anti-Gang Task Forces (regional & local units)
    Honor Guard
    Pipes and Drums
    Chaplain
    Peer Support
    [edit] Border Patrol organization

    David V. Aguilar, Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border ProtectionThe current Acting Chief of the Border Patrol is Michael J. Fisher who succeeded in 2010 David V. Aguilar, who is now the Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

    [edit] Border Patrol Sectors
    There are 20 Border Patrol sectors, each headed by a Sector Chief Patrol Agent.

    Northern Border (West to East):

    Blaine Sector (Western Washington State, Idaho, and Western Montana.) - stations; Bellingham, Blaine, Port Angeles, Sumas.
    Spokane Sector (Eastern Washington State)
    Havre Sector (Montana)
    Grand Forks Sector (North Dakota)
    Detroit Sector (Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan) - stations; Downtown Detroit, Marysville, Gibralter, Sault Sainte Marie, Sandusky Bay.
    Buffalo Sector (New York) - stations; Buffalo, Erie, Niagura Falls, Oswego, Rochester, Wellesley Island.
    Swanton Sector (Vermont)
    Houlton Sector (Maine)
    Southern Border (West to East):

    San Diego Sector (San Diego, California)
    El Centro Sector (Imperial County, California)
    Yuma Sector (Western Arizona)- stations; Wellton, Yuma, Blythe
    Tucson Sector (Eastern Arizona)
    El Paso Sector (El Paso, Texas and New Mexico) - stations; Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Deming, El Paso, Fabens, Fort Hancock, Las Cruces, Lordsburg, Santa Teresa, Truth or Consequences, Ysleta
    Marfa Sector (Big Bend Area of West Texas) - stations; Alpine, Amarillo, Big Bend, Fort Stockton, Lubbock, Marfa, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Sanderson, Sierra Blanca, Van Horn
    Del Rio Sector (Del Rio, Texas) - stations; Abilene, Brackettville, Carrizo Springs, Comstock, Del Rio, Eagle Pass North, Eagle Pass South, Rocksprings, San Angelo, Uvalde
    Rio Grande Valley Sector (South Texas) - stations; Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Falfurrias, Fort Brown, Harlingen, Kingsville, McAllen, Rio Grande City, Weslaco
    Laredo Sector (South Texas) - stations; Cotulla, Dallas, Freer, Hebbronville, Laredo North, Laredo South, Laredo West, San Antonio, Zapata
    New Orleans Sector (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and West Florida)
    Miami Sector (Florida East and South)
    Caribbean

    Ramey Sector (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico) and the Virgin Islands, it is the only Border Patrol Sector located outside the continental United States
    [edit] Training
    All Border Patrol Agents spend 15 weeks in training at the Border Patrol Academy (if they are fluent in Spanish) in Artesia, New Mexico, which is a component of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).Those who are not fluent in Spanish spend an additional eight weeks at the Academy. Recruits are instructed in Border Patrol and federal law enforcement subjects.

    Border Patrol courses include: Immigration and Nationality Law, Criminal Law and Statutory Authority, Spanish, Border Patrol Operations, Care and Use of Firearms, Physical Training, Driver Training, and Anti-Terrorism.

    FLETC courses include: Communications, Ethics and Conduct, Report Writing, Introduction to Computers, Fingerprinting, and Constitutional Law.[15]

    The physical aspects of the Border Patrol Training Program are extremely demanding. At the end of 55 days, trainees must be able to complete a one and a half mile run in 13 minutes or less, a confidence course in two and a half minutes or less, and a 220 yard dash in 46 seconds or less. This final test is much easier than the day to day physical training during the program.[15]

    [edit] Uniforms
    The Border Patrol currently wears the following types of uniforms:


    CBP officers at a ceremony in 2007Dress uniform – The dress uniform consists of olive-green trousers with a blue stripe, and an olive-green shirt, which may or may not have blue shoulder straps. The campaign hat is worn with uniform.
    Ceremonial uniform – When required, the following items are added to the dress uniform to complete the ceremonial uniform: olive-green Ike jacket or tunic with blue accents (shoulder straps and cuffs, blue tie, brass tie tack, white gloves, and olive-green felt campaign hat with leather hat band. The campaign hat is worn with uniform.
    Rough duty uniform – The rough duty uniform consists of green cargo trousers and work shirt (in short or long sleeves). Usually worn with green baseball cap or tan stetson.
    Accessories, footwear, and outerwear – Additional items are worn in matching blue or black colors as appropriate.
    Organization patches – The Border Patrol wears two:
    The CBP patch is worn on the right sleeves of the uniform. It contains the DHS seal against a black background with a "keystone" shape. A "keystone" is the central, wedge-shaped stone in an arch, which holds all the other stones in place.
    Border Patrol agents retain the circular legacy Border Patrol patch, which is worn on the left sleeve.
    The Border Patrol uniform is getting its first makeover since the 1950s to appear more like military fatigues and less like a police officer's duty garb.[16] Leather belts with brass buckles are being replaced by nylon belts with quick-release plastic buckles, slacks are being replaced by lightweight cargo pants, and shiny badges and nameplates are being replaced by cloth patches.

    [edit] Border Patrol (OBP) Ranks and Insignia
    Location Title Collar insignia Shoulder ornament Pay grade
    Border Patrol Headquarters Chief of the Border Patrol Gold-plated Senior Executive Service (SES)
    Deputy Chief of the Border Patrol Gold-plated SES
    Division Chief Gold-plated SES
    Deputy Division Chief Gold-plated GS-15, General Schedule
    Associate Chief Gold-plated GS-15
    Assistant Chief Silver-plated GS-14
    Operations Officer Oxidized GS-13

    Border Patrol Sectors Chief Patrol Agent (CPA) Gold-plated SES or GS-15
    Deputy Chief Patrol Agent (DCPA) Gold-plated SES/GS-15 or GS-14
    Division Chief Gold-plated GS-15
    Assistant Chief Patrol Agent (ACPA) Silver-plated GS-15 or GS-14
    Patrol Agent in Charge (PAIC) Silver-plated GS-14 or GS-13
    Assistant Patrol Agent in Charge (APAIC) Oxidized GS-13
    Special Operations Supervisor (SOS) Oxidized GS-13
    Field Operations Supervisor (FOS) Oxidized GS-13
    Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (SBPA) Oxidized GS-12
    Senior Patrol Agent (SPA) (Note: Being phased out through attrition) No insignia Currently GS-11 (Will be upgraded to full performance level GS-12 sometime during the 1st quarter of 2011)
    Border Patrol Agent (BPA) No insignia GS-5, 7, 9, 11 (Upgrade to GS-12 pending)

    Border Patrol Academy Chief Patrol Agent (CPA) Gold-plated GS-15
    Deputy Chief Patrol Agent (DCPA) Gold-plated GS-15
    Assistant Chief Patrol Agent (ACPA) Silver-plated GS-14
    Training Operations Supervisor (TOS) Oxidized GS-14
    Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (Senior Instructor) Oxidized GS-13
    Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (Instructor) Oxidized GS-13

    [edit] Border Patrol Shoulder Ornaments

    [edit] Awards
    Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism Commissioners Distinguished Career Service Award Commissioners Exceptional Service Medal Commissioners Meritorious Service Award Commissioners Special Commendation Award Chiefs Commendation Medal
    No Image Available No Image Available No Image Available

    Commissioners Excellence in Group Achievement Award Purple Cross Wound Medal Academy Honor Award Winner Border Patrol Long Service Medal 75th Anniversary of the Border Patrol Commemorative Medal
    No Image Available No Image Available

    [edit] Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism
    The Border Patrol's highest honor is the Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism. This Award is bestowed to Border Patrol Agents for extraordinary actions, service; accomplishments reflecting unusual courage or bravery in the line of duty; or an extraordinarily heroic or humane act committed during times of extreme stress or in an emergency.

    This award is named for Border Patrol Inspectors Theodore Newton[17] and George Azrak,[18] who were murdered by two drug smugglers in San Diego County in 1967.

    [edit] Border Patrol Uniform Devices
    Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue Unit (BORSTAR) Special Response Team (NSRT) Honor Guard Border Patrol Pipes and Drums Cap Badge
    No Image Available
    K-9 Handler Chaplain Field Training Officer Peer Support

    [edit] Equipment
    [edit] Weapons

    A Border Patrol Agent carrying an M14 rifle.Border Patrol Agents are issued the H&K P2000 double action pistol in .40 S&W. It can contain as many as 13 rounds of ammunition (12 in the magazine and one in the chamber).

    Like other law enforcement agencies, the Remington 870 is the standard shotgun.

    Border Patrol Agents also commonly carry the M4 Carbine and the H&K UMP 40 caliber submachine gun. The M14 rifle is used for mostly ceremonial purposes.

    As a less than lethal option, the Border Patrol also uses the FN303.

    [edit] Transportation
    Unlike in many other law enforcement agencies in the United States, the Border Patrol operates several thousand SUVs and pickup trucks, which are known for their capabilities to move around in any sort of terrain. This vehicles may have individual revolving lights (strobes or LEDs) and/or light bars and sirens. An extensive modernization drive has ensured that these vehicles are equipped with wireless sets in communication with a central control room. Border Patrol vehicles may also have equipment such as speed radar, breathalyzers, and emergency first aid kits. Some sectors make use of sedans like the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor or the Dodge Charger as patrol cars or high speed "interceptors" on highways. The Border Patrol also operates ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and small boats in the riverine environment. In 2005, all Border Patrol and ICE aircraft operations were combined under CBP's Office of Air and Marine. All CBP vessel operation in Customs Waters are conducted by Office of Air and Marine.

    Color schemes of Border Patrol vehicles are either a long green stripe running the length of the vehicle or a broad green diagonal stripe on the door. Most Border Patrol vehicles are painted predominantly white.

    The Border Patrol also extensively uses horses for remote area patrols. The U.S. Border Patrol has 205 horses As of 2005[update]. Most are employed along the Mexico–United States border. In Arizona, these animals are fed special processed feed pellets so that their wastes do not spread non-native plants in the national parks and wildlife areas they patrol.[19]

    [edit] Line of duty deaths
    Total line of duty deaths (since 1904): 105[20]

    Aircraft accident: 14
    Assault: 2
    Automobile accident: 28
    Drowned: 4
    Fall: 4
    Gunfire: 30
    Gunfire (Accidental): 3
    Heart attack: 6
    Heat exhaustion: 1
    Motorcycle accident: 2
    Stabbed: 2
    Struck by train: 3
    Struck by vehicle: 3
    Vehicle pursuit: 2
    Vehicular assault: 3
    [edit] Armed incursions
    On August 7, 2008, Mexican troops crossed the border into Arizona and held a U.S. Border Patrol Agent at gunpoint. Agents stationed at Ajo, Arizona said that the Mexican soldiers crossed the border into an isolated area southwest of Tucson and pointed rifles at the agent, who has not been identified. The Mexicans withdrew after other American agents arrived on the scene.[21]

    [edit] Ramos and Compean
    In February 2005, Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were involved in an incident while pursuing a van in Fabens, Texas. The driver, later identified as Aldrete Davila, was shot by Agent Ramos during a scuffle. Davila escaped back into Mexico, and the agents discovered that the van contained a million dollars worth of marijuana (about 750 pounds). None of the agents at the scene orally reported the shooting, including two supervisors. The Department of Homeland Security opened up an internal affairs investigation into the incident.[22] See also [23][24][25]

    [edit] Criticisms
    [edit] Ineffective
    In 2006, a documentary called The Illegal Immigration Invasion[26] linked the scale of illegal immigration into the United States chiefly to the ineffectiveness of the Border Patrol. The film claimed that this is due to the lack of judicial powers of the Border Patrol and the effective hamstringing of the agency by the federal government. The film interviews people that deal with illegal immigration on a daily basis, as well as local citizens living in the border areas.

    [edit] Allegations of abuse
    There are allegations of abuse by the United States Border Patrol such as the ones reported by Jesus A. Trevino, that concludes in an article published in the Houston Journal of International Law (2006) with a request to create an independent review commission to oversee the actions of the Border Patrol, and that creating such review board will make the American public aware of the "serious problem of abuse that exists at the border by making this review process public" and that "illegal immigrants deserve the same constitutionally-mandated humane treatment of citizens and legal residents".[27]
    In 1998, Amnesty International investigated allegations of ill-treatment and brutality by officers of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and particularly the Border Patrol. Their report said they found indications of human rights violations during 1996, 1997 and early 1998.[28]
    An article in Social Justice by Michael Huspek, Leticia Jimenez, Roberto Martinez (1998) cites that in December 1997, John Case, head of the INS Office of Internal Audit, announced at a press conference that public complaints to the INS had risen 29% from 1996, with the "vast majority" of complaints emanating from the southwest border region, but that of the 2,300 cases, the 243 cases of serious allegations of abuse were down in 1997. These serious cases are considered to be distinct from less serious complaints, such as "verbal abuse, discrimination, extended detention without cause."[29]
    [edit] Corruption
    Incidences of corruption in the U.S. Border Patrol include:

    Pablo Sergio Barry, an agent charged with one count of harboring an illegal immigrant, three counts of false statements, and two counts of making a false document.[30] He plead guilty.[31]
    Christopher E. Bernis, an agent indicted on a charge of harboring an illegal immigrant for nine months while employed as a U.S. Border Patrol agent.[32]
    Jose De Jesus Ruiz, an agent whose girlfriend was an illegal immigrant, he was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.[32]
    Oscar Antonio Ortiz, an illegal immigrant[33] who used a fake birth certificate to get into the Border Patrol admitted to smuggling more than 100 illegal immigrants into the U.S., some of them in his government truck,[34] and was helping to smuggle illegal immigrants and charged with conspiring with another agent to smuggle immigrants.
    An unidentified patrol agent who was recorded on a wire tap stating that he helped to smuggle 30 to 50 immigrants at a time.[33]
    [edit] National Border Patrol Council
    National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) is the labor union which represents over 14,000 Border Patrol Agents and support staff. The NBPC was founded in 1968, and its parent organization is the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO. The NBPC's executive committee is staffed by current and retired Border Patrol Agents and, along with its constituent locals, employs a staff of a dozen attorneys and field representatives. The NBPC is associated with the Peace Officer Research Association of California’s Legal Defense Fund.[35]

    [edit] National Border Patrol Museum
    The National Border Patrol Museum is located in El Paso, Texas. The museum exhibits uniforms, equipment, photographs, guns, vehicles, airplanes, boats, and documents which depict the historical and current sector operations throughout the United States.

    [edit] In popular culture
    [edit] Books
    Border Patrol by Alvin Edward Moore
    The Border Patrol by Deborah Wells Salter
    EWI: Entry Without Inspection (Title 8 U.S.C. § 1325 Improper entry by alien) by Fortuna Testarona Valiente
    Tracks in the Sand: A Tale of the Border Patrol by Kent E Lundgren,
    On The Line: Inside the U.S. Border Patrol by Alex Pacheco and Erich Krauss
    Patrolling Chaos: The U.S. Border Patrol in Deep South Texas by Robert Lee Maril
    The U.S. Border Patrol: Guarding the Nation (Blazers) by Connie Collwell Miller
    My Border Patrol Diary: Laredo, Texas by Dale Squint
    Holding the Line: War Stories of the U.S. Border Patrol by Gerald Schumacher
    The Border Patrol Ate My Dust by Alicia Alarcon, Ethriam Cash Brammer, and Ethriam Cash Brammer de Gonzales
    The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide by David J. Danelo
    Beat The Border: An Insider's Guide To How The U.S. Border Works And How To Beat It by Ned Beaumont
    West of the Moon: A Border Patrol Agent's Tale by D. B. Prehoda
    The Journey: U.S. Border Patrol & the Solution to the Illegal Alien Problem by Donald R. Coppock
    Border patrol: With the U.S. Immigration Service on the Mexican boundary, 1910-54 by Clifford Alan Perkins
    Border Patrol: How U.S. Agents Protect Our Borders from Illegal Entry by Carroll B. Colby
    In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security by Tom Tancredo
    [edit] Film
    Border Patrolman, a 1936 film in which a Border Patrolman Bob Wallace, played by George O'Brien, resigns in protest after being humiliated by the spoiled granddaughter of a millionaire.
    Border Patrol, a 1943 film starring William C. Boyd, Andy Clyde, George Reeves, and Robert Mitchum
    Borderline, a 1950 film noir starring Fred MacMurray about drug smuggling across the U.S./Mexico border
    Border Patrol, a 1959 syndicated television series, starring Richard Webb as the fictitious deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol
    Borderline, a 1980 movie starring Charles Bronson about a Border Patrol Agent on the U.S./Mexico border
    The Border, a 1982 film starring Jack Nicholson
    El Norte, a 1983 film portraying Central American Indian peasants traveling to the United States.
    Flashpoint, a 1984 film starring Kris Kristofferson
    Last Man Standing, a 1996 film starring Bruce Willis and Ken Jenkins as Texas Ranger Captain Tom Pickett who is investing the killing of an unnamed Immigration Inspector (played by Larry Holt) across the border in Mexico.
    Men in Black, a 1997 science fiction comedy action film starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith and Vincent D'Onofrio. The Border Patrol was portrayed as Immigration Inspectors
    The Gatekeeper, a 2002 film by John Carlos Frey about the struggles of migrants at the Mexican/US border.
    The Shepherd: Border Patrol, a 2007 film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
    Linewatch, a 2008 film starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., as a Border Patrol agent defending his family from a group of Los Angeles gang members involved in the illegal trade of importing narcotics into the United States.
    [edit] Documentaries
    Border Patrol: American's Gatekeepers A&E with former United States Attorney General Janet Reno
    Investigative Reports: Border Patrol: America's Gatekeepers A&E Investigates
    History the Enforcers : Border Patrol History Channel
    [edit] See also
    Border Protection Personnel
    United States portal
    Law enforcement/Law enforcement topics portal
    List of United States federal law enforcement agencies
    Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Border control
    Ignacio Ramos
    Illegal immigration
    H.R. 4437
    Minuteman Project
    MQ-9 Reaper
    No More Deaths
    Office of CBP Air
    United States Mexico barrier
    United States-Canadian Border
    la migra
    [edit] References
    ^ "Reinstatements to the northern border". CPB.gov. US Customs and Border Protection. 2008-05-19. www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/reinsta.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/border_...
    ^ a b c d e f "Boarder Patrol overview". CPB.gov. US Customs and Boarder Protection. 2008-08-22. www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/border_.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ a b "Who we are and what we do". CPB.gov. US Customs and Boarder Protection. 2008-09-03. www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/who_we_.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ Gaynor, Tim (2008-01-23). "U.S. turns to horses to secure borders". Reuters. www.reuters.com/article/inDepthNews/idUSN2323280820080124.... Retrieved 2008-01-24.
    ^ www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/border_security/border_patro...[dead link]
    ^ Nuñez-Neto, Blas (2006-010-25) (PDF). Border security: The role of the U.S. Border Patrol. Congressional Research Service. p. 35. digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs//data/2006/upl-meta-c.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ Coyle, Marcia (2008-03-03). "Waivers for border fence challenged: Environmental groups take their complaints to Supreme Court". The Recorder.
    ^ Archibold, Randal C. (2008-04-02). "Government issues waiver for fencing along border". New York Times. www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/us/02fence.html. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
    ^ "Conservation groups call for an immediate halt to construction of border fence in San Pedro National Conservation Area". US Newswire. 2007-10-05.
    ^ Gordon, David George (May 2000). "A 'grande' dispute". National Geographic World: p. 4.
    ^ Cohn, Jeffrey P. (2007). "The environmental impacts of a border fence". BioScience 57 (1): 96. doi:10.1641/B570116. www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1641/B570116. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "Expansive border fence stirs fights over land". Tell Me More. NPR. 2008-03-03.
    ^ 2007 State of the Border Patrol video[dead link]
    ^ a b "FAQs: Working for the Border Patrol-basic training". CPB.gov. US Customs and Boarder Protection. 2008-05-29. www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/careers/customs_careers/border_career.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ Spagat, Elliot (2007-08-16). "Border Patrol uniform gets first makeover since the 1950s". North County Times. www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/08/17/news/sandiego/18_64_3.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "Border Patrol Inspector Theodore L. Newton Jr.". The Officer Down Memorial Page. www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=9933. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "Border Patrol Inspector George F. Azrak". The Officer Down Memorial Page. www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=1368. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ Rostien, Arthur H. (2005-06-09). "Border Patrol horses get special feed that helps protect desert ecosystem". Environmental News Network. www.enn.com/top_stories/article/1731. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "United States Department of Homeland Security - Customs and Border Protection - Border Patrol". The Officer Down Memorial Page. www.odmp.org/agency/4830-united-states-department-of-home.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ Meyers, Jim (2008-08-06). "Mexican troops cross border, hold border agent". Newsmax.com. newsmax.com/insidecover/mexican_troops_border/2008/08/06/.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "Glenn Beck: Ramos & Compean - the whole story". The Glenn Beck Program. Premiere Radio Networks. 2008-07-29. www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/196/13098/. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". Ramos-Compean. ramos-compean.blogspot.com/. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "2 Border Patrol agents face 20 years in prison". WorldDailyNet. 2006-08-07. www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51417. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "Ramos and Campean - court appeal". www.scribd.com/doc/219384/Ramos-and-Campean-Court-Appeal. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ (Google video) The illegal immigration invasion. October Sun Films. 2006-04-06. video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1451035544403625746. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ Jesus A. Trevino (1998). "Border violence against illegal immigrants and the need to change the border patrol's current complaint review process" (PDF). Houston Journal of International Law 21 (1): 85–114. ISSN 0194-1879. www.hjil.org/ArticleFiles/21_1_10.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ United States of America: Human rights concerns in the border region with Mexico. Amnesty International. 1998-05-19. web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engAMR510031998. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ Huspek, Michael; Roberto Martinez, and Leticia Jimenez (1998). "Violations of human and civil rights on the U.S.-Mexico border, 1995 to 1997: a report" (Reprint). Social Justice 25 (2). ISSN 1043-1578. findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3427/is_n2_v25/ai_n28711.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    The data compiled in this report suggest that law enforcement in the southwest region of the United States may be verging on lawlessness. This statement receives fuller support from announcements emanating from the INS. In December 1997, John Chase, head of the INS Office of Internal Audit, announced at a press conference that public complaints to the INS had risen 29% from 1996, with the "vast majority" of complaints emanating from the southwest border region. Over 2,300 complaints were filed in 1997 as opposed to the 1,813 complaints filed in 1996. Another 400 reports of "minor misconduct" were placed in a new category. Chase was quick to emphasize, however, that the 243 "serious" allegations of abuse and use of excessive force that could warrant criminal prosecution were down in 1997, as compared with the 328 in 1996. These "serious" cases are considered to be distinct from less serious complaints, such as "verbal abuse, discrimination, extended detention without cause.

    ^ June 23, 2005 "Border agent accused of hiding an illegal entrant". Arizona Daily Star. 2005-06-23. www.azstarnet.com/sn/border/81082.php June 23, 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "Border agent pleads guilty to harboring illegal entrant". Arizona Daily Star. 2005-09-22. www.azstarnet.com/sn/border/94491.php. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ a b "U.S. border agent indicted". Arizona Daily Star. 2005-03-11. www.azstarnet.com/sn/border/65117.php. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ a b "Boarder agent said to also be smuggler". SignOnSanDiego.com. Union-Tribune Publishing. 2005-08-05. www.signonsandiego.com/news/mexico/tijuana/20050805-9999-.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ Spagat, Elliot (2006-07-28). "Border agent gets 5 years for smuggling". The Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/28/.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    ^ "About NBPC". National Border Patrol Council. 2008-08-14. www.nbpc.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&a.... Retrieved 2009-06-01.
    [edit] External links
    Official US Border Patrol website
    US Border Patrol history
    National Border Patrol Strategy(PDF)
    Border Patrol official recruiting page
    Border Patrol Supervisor's Association (BPSA)
    Border Patrol agents killed in the line of duty
    Large Border Patrol site
    Border Patrol Museum official site
    National Border Patrol Council official site
    National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers
    Friends of the Border Patrol
    Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding the U.S. Border Patrol
    Civilian Border Patrol Organizations: An Overview and History of the Phenomenon by the Congressional Research Service.
    Border Patrol hiring forums and information for potential agents
    National Border Patrol Museum
    Pictures of Border Patrol vehicles
    Crossing Guards in Training LA Times report on Border Patrol training.
    The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration
    Border Patrol unofficial Auxiliary NOT a Government Agency and not affiliated with the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
    [edit] External Video
    Border Stories
    [edit] GAO and OIG Reports
    GAO Report: Border Patrol - Southwest Border Enforcement Affected by Mission Expansion and Budget August 1992
    GAO Report: Border Control - Revised Strategy is Showing Some Positive Results December 1994
    g96065.pdf GAO Report: Border Patrol - Staffing and Enforcement Activities March 1996
    GAO Report: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION - Southwest Border Strategy Results Inconclusive; More Evaluation Needed December 1997
    USDOJ OIG Report: Operation Gatekeeper July 1998
    GAO Report: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION - Status of Southwest Border Strategy Implementation 1999
    GAO Report: Border Patrol Hiring December 1999
    GAO Report: Southwest Border Strategy - Resource and Impact Issues Remain After Seven Years August 2001
    National Border Patrol Strategy March 2005
    GAO Report: Effectiveness of Border Patrol Checkpoints July 2005
    DHS OIG Report: An Assessment of the Proposal to Merge Customs and Border Protection with Immigration and Customs Enforcement November 2005
    [hide]v • d • eBorder guards

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    Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Border_Patrol"
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    socioguy, neco.brown, behnkejh, and 6 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 11 more comments

    1. onefamousdog 48 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called sad world, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    2. onefamousdog 48 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called a new world, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    3. roberthuffstutter 48 months ago | reply

      www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/04/27/napolitano_on_...

      JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY TALKS ABOUT BORDER SECURITY AND SAYS IT IS UNFAIR QUESTION...perhaps she should take a trip and spend a few nights on the border

    4. "Mr. Jeffrey " 48 months ago | reply

      Yes have been listening to her dribble quite a bit as of late.
      I believe she's iether drinking on meds or mixing her meds with alcohol.

    5. wquatman 48 months ago | reply

      Not to worry. Once we get another Republican president in office, resume Republican economic policies and the continuation of their wealth redistribution upwards, we should see Americans flowing south for a job and a better life. Bush and his return to the 1920s did in fact slow down immigration. Once we´re a third world nation with an even greater wealth disparity than Mexico, no one will want to immigrate to the U.S., but being a drug dealer would still be one of the few sources of income, still.

    6. roberthuffstutter 48 months ago | reply

      Holder's 'Haven't Read It' Arizona Immigration Law Admission Gets Little Establishment Media Coverage
      By Tom Blumer | Sat, 05/15/2010 - 23:58

      This is one of those "you know the ending, but someone has to take note anyway" media bias posts.

      On Thursday, NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard revealed that Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder had told an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee the following about his knowledge of Arizona's recently pass immigration law-enforcement measure:

      I have not had a chance to, I've glanced at it. I have not read it.

      ... I have not really, I have not been briefed yet.

      ... I've only made, made the comments that I've made on the basis of things that I've been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously, looking at television, talking to people who are on the review panel, on the review team that are looking at the law.

      It will surprise almost no one who visits this site that Holder's admitted ignorance about a routinely misrepresented law -- misrepresentations that have led to calls for boycotts of Arizona, a PC-obsessed cancellation of a girls high school basketball team's hoop dreams, and hysterical hyperventilation at Holder's Justice Department as well as by the President of the United States himself -- has received very little establishment media attention.

      Read more: newsbusters.org/#ixzz0o5Sqz1z3

    7. roberthuffstutter 47 months ago | reply

      this is a sad chapter in America's history. Which news broadcasting company compared the President of Mexico's speech before congress as equal to "tear down this wall" speech by President RR?

    8. roberthuffstutter 47 months ago | reply

      If the USA suffers a terrorist attack by terrorists

      who are able to cross our southern borders, the LEADERS

      who took the oath of office to protect the citizens of

      the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA will be...Held responsible.

      Terrorists are now learning SPANISH so they can

      enter the USA through our unprotected southern

      borders.

    9. roberthuffstutter 47 months ago | reply

      It is time for mexico to worry about their own homeland security and stay out of our national security issues. We are the nation that suffered the 911 and ok city bombings....

    10. roberthuffstutter 46 months ago | reply

      Does anyone really comprehend what the federal government is trying to do or prove other than present faux issues for political purposes?

    11. roberthuffstutter 46 months ago | reply

      Perhaps it is time for an old-fashioned camp-out for the Democrats along the El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico border in order to comprendo the malo mundo of the border...

    12. roberthuffstutter 45 months ago | reply

      WHY BOTHER TO PROSECUTE WHEN NEW JAILS REMAIN EMPTY?

      articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/16/nation/na-empty16

    13. roberthuffstutter 37 months ago | reply

      JANET NAPOLITANO SAYS BORDERS ARE SAFE AS EVER...or something to that effect?

      www.ihatethemedia.com/napolitano-says-america-safest-comm...

    14. roberthuffstutter 27 months ago | reply

      By Mark Hosenball

      Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:15pm EST

      (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.

      A "privacy compliance review" issued by DHS last November says that since at least June 2010, its national operations center has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" which involves regular monitoring of "publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards."

      The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture."

      The document adds, using more plain language, that such monitoring is designed to help DHS and its numerous agencies, which include the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency, to manage government responses to such events as the 2010 earthquake and aftermath in Haiti and security and border control related to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

      A DHS official familiar with the monitoring program said that it was intended purely to enable command center officials to keep in touch with various Internet-era media so that they were aware of major, developing events to which the Department or its agencies might have to respond.

      The document outlining the monitoring program says that all the websites which the command center will be monitoring were "publicly available and... all use of data published via social media sites was solely to provide more accurate situational awareness, a more complete common operating pictures, and more timely information for decision makers..."

      The DHS official said that under the program's rules, the department would not keep permanent copies of the internet traffic it monitors. However, the document outlining the program does say that the operations center "will retain information for no more than five years."

      The monitoring scheme also features a five-page list, attached to the privacy review document, of websites the Department's command center expected to be monitoring.

      CONTROVERSIAL SITES

      These include social networking sites Facebook and My Space - though there is a parenthetical notice that My Space only affords a "limited search" capability - and more than a dozen sites that monitor, aggregate and enable searches of Twitter messages and exchanges.

      Among blogs and aggregators on the list are ABC News' investigative blog "The Blotter;" blogs that cover bird flu; several blogs related to news and activity along U.S. borders (DHS runs border and immigration agencies); blogs that cover drug trafficking and cybercrime; and websites that follow wildfires in Los Angeles and hurricanes.

      News and gossip sites on the monitoring list include popular destinations such as the Drudge Report, Huffington Post and "NY Times Lede Blog", as well as more focused techie fare such as the Wired blogs "Threat Level" and "Danger Room." Numerous blogs related to terrorism and security are also on the list.

      Some of the sites on the list are potentially controversial. WikiLeaks is listed for monitoring, even though officials in some other government agencies were warned against using their official computers to access WikiLeaks material because much of it is still legally classified under U.S. government rules.

      Another blog on the list, Cryptome, also periodically posts leaked documents and was one of the first websites to post information related to the Homeland Security monitoring program.

      Also on the list are JihadWatch and Informed Comment, blogs that cover issues related to Islam through sharp political prisms, which have sometimes led critics to accuse the sites of political bias.

      Also on the list are various video and photo-sharing sites, including Hulu, Youtube and Flickr.

      While a DHS official involved in the monitoring program confirmed the authenticity of the list, officials authorized to speak for the Department did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

      (Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Eric Walsh)

    15. roberthuffstutter 14 months ago | reply

      WHY ARE WE CUTTING OUR DEFENSE BUDGET? Why are we jeopardizing the lives of our troops by cutting spending. INSTEAD OF--INSTEAD OF...funding nations that hate the USA, why not cut these monies? For example, the billions of dollars we send to the MID-EAST in cash and weapons SHOULD BE HANDED to our troops so they are not among the groups that are on or near the poverty line. Another example is the billions of dollars OBAMA gave to green energy, companies that went bankrupt with a smile. Such money should have gone to the men and women who risk their lives in the service of our nation. RESPOND if you care.

    16. roberthuffstutter 7 months ago | reply

      Do you feel more action should be focused on finding potential terrorists who might be sneaking into the USA?

    17. roberthuffstutter 6 months ago | reply

      Do you worry more about MIDDLE-EASTERN TERRORISTS entering our nation rather than citizens of Mexico who only want to cross the border to find jobs? In my opinion, the USA and MEXICO can peacefully share this nation and make it a better nation, a more family-oriented nation. FYI...most Mexican couples are MARRIED while in the USA, couples just live together. Without passing negative judgement on Americans, let me say that most marriages by Mexicans are solid and last with very little divorce.

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