Border agency report reveals internal struggles with corruption

Two Border Patrol agents and a CBP officer stationed at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, help provide security at the outbound lanes of traffic that run from the U.S. into Mexico. They are on constant lookout for large quantities of money and weapons being smuggled out of the U.S.(Photo courtesy of US Customs and Border Protection)

Two Border Patrol agents and a CBP officer stationed at the San Ysidro (Calif.) Port of Entry, help provide security at the outbound lanes of traffic that run from the U.S. into Mexico. (Photo courtesy of US Customs and Border Protection)

By Andrew Becker

Center for Investigative Reporting

Turf battles, internal dysfunction and other troubles have left U.S. Customs and Border Protection grasping to get a handle on corruption and other misconduct within its ranks, according to an internal study that has been kept secret for more than a year.

The agency, the nation’s largest federal law enforcement force with nearly 60,000 employees, has struggled to streamline its own disciplinary system, to stamp out an internal “code of silence” that protects corrupt co-workers from exposure or even to fully understand how bad the corruption problem is.

These woes and more are highlighted in a study conducted by the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, which acts as a think tank for the Department of Homeland Security. The 80-page unclassified report, reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting, highlights nagging problems, some of which date back to 2002.

As the department has bolstered border security by adding thousands of new agents, expanding its Southwest border fence and deploying sophisticated surveillance technology, Mexican crime syndicates increasingly have turned to bribing agency employees and have attempted to infiltrate U.S. law enforcement ranks with their own operatives to avoid those obstacles.

Customs and Border Protection has identified at least 15 attempts of infiltration, according to the study, which did not give specific examples. That number could be much higher now as the agency, as mandated by a 2010 law, has ramped up efforts to administer polygraph exams to all new applicants.

Read the full article at the Center for Investigative reporting.

 

 

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