Skip to comments.Chertoff plays down border incursion reports [January 18, 2006]
Posted on 04/19/2006 2:28:03 PM PDT by robowombat
Chertoff plays down border incursion reports By Mason Stockstill, Staff Writer
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Wednesday played down reports outlining hundreds of border incursions by the Mexican military over the last 10 years. Chertoff, speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., acknowledged that the Border Patrol has long known of crossings by uniformed troops, which some agents in border states say shows a level of collusion between Mexican military officers and drug-smuggling cartels.
But he suggested that many of the incursions could have been innocent mistakes -- such as authorities in Mexico crossing into the United States in desert areas where the actual dividing line between the countries is unclear -- or criminals wearing camouflage outfits being confused with actual soldiers.
"I think the stories are overblown," Chertoff said. "I asked the chief of the Border Patrol about it. The number has not increased; in fact, it had decreased a little bit."
The Daily Bulletin first reported on Sunday that the Border Patrol has tracked 216 such incursions by Mexican military or police forces since 1996. The highest total was in 2002, when 40 such crossings were recorded; in 2005, the number was nine.
Chertoff largely confirmed those numbers, saying incursions had averaged "approximately 20 a year" over the last 10 years. He also said that reports of corruption among Mexican troops were true.
"We do have instances where we have Mexican police or military who have deserted and become involved with criminal activity," Chertoff said. "But we've also had bad cops in the United States, too. It happens."
He said the United States and Mexico have a collaborative relationship, and called the idea that incursions were a serious problem "scare tactics."
Rafael Laveaga, a spokesman for the Mexican consulate, has denied that any incursions by Mexican military have taken place.
T.J. Bonner, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, dismissed Chertoff's comments as uninformed.
"Were he to go out there on actual patrol with Border Patrol agents ... and experience what we experience -- where you encounter a group of highly trained, very well-armed Mexican soldiers coming across our border, and your closest backup is an hour or more away -- I think he would be a lot more concerned about it," he said.
Bonner rejected the idea that the incursions might be innocent mistakes, noting that the number of times the U.S. Border Patrol has accidentally crossed into Mexico is far lower.
He also blasted Chertoff for belittling the number of incidents.
"For him to say this is only a few hundred -- come on," Bonner said. "One is far too many."
Chertoff is the new Iraqi minister of information...
Oh sure, I can see it now. "Oh, senior' was that the Rio Grande? I'm so sorry. It won't happen again."
Chertoff was clueless as to his role post-Katrina, and he's clueless when it comes to the border. Bush should replace him with a former military type who knows how to act - the only military role Chertoff seems to emulate is Sgt. Schultz.
""I think the stories are overblown," Chertoff said."
The man is not dealing with the real world. He needs to be retired and replaced by someone who is going to take on the Mexican military when they cross the border.
Shows how well our border is secured. Cherthoff admits there are areas on the border that are unclear let alone protected. But, I could have told him that. Maybe he should get a clue and realize that this is not an excuse but one of the very reasons that some people are upset about Mexican military incursions in the first place.
Bush will never appoint anyone that wants the border secured.
Chertoff was a hurried 2nd pick after Bernie Kerik went down in flames. And it shows.
The man looks like he needs a few good meals......
Forest Gump's mama had it right.....
"stupid is as stupid does".....
Bush is the Gump president......he just happened to be in office on 9-11.
Damn, couldn't do it.
Let Chertoff enjoy his last fifteen seconds. He will probably be the next one asked to turn in his resignation.
Bingo. You said the magic words and the duck comes down and gives you fifty pesos.
Cherty, you're doing a helluva job!"
On its face, a Cherthoff resignation sounds like a good thing. In reality, if we follow the trend (Ridge, then Cherthoff) our next one will be even worse. Given Bush's track record, I wouldn't put it past him to quickly promote incompetent political appointee (is that nepotism I smell) Julie Myers to the position.
The fish stinks from the head.
I can't argue with you , we are there . I will say however the folks who think that this is not spreading are fooling themselves. Wait until they are introduced to the M13 from El Salvador. Well at least we can still get cheap lettuce.
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