Skip to comments.Pentagon error suspends anti-narcotics programs worldwide
Posted on 10/15/2011 12:19:48 PM PDT by COBOL2Java
Pentagon counternarcotics and counterterrorism operations around the world were abruptly suspended this month when the Defense Department officials overseeing the programs failed to ensure they were funded by congressional authorizations, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner. The lapse has caused serious national security and diplomatic problems for the U.S. military, according to Defense Department officials.
The authorizations cover joint counternarcotics operations with foreign governments, as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the U.S.
The mix-up occurred when the anti-narcotics programs were not included on a list provided to Congress of operations that needed to be funded under a continuing resolution made necessary by the lawmakers' failure to pass a bill authorizing defense funding in fiscal 2012, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. James Gregory.
"The temporary lapse in these authorities has had significant national security and diplomatic implications for our counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico and along the Southwest border," Gregory said. "We are working with the interagency and our international partners to ensure critical programs are maintained with as little interruption as possible, but these mitigation efforts are temporary and incomplete. Many DoD counternarcotics activities have been reduced in scope, delayed, or suspended altogether."
An analysis of the mishap, classified as secret, is under review by the Defense Department to determine the national security implications and the costs caused by the unplanned suspensions of the programs. It is expected to cost taxpayers "tens of millions" of dollars to restart the programs, according to a Pentagon official with direct knowledge of the problem.
The office of William F. Wechsler, deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats, failed to ensure the reauthorizations for counternarcotics funding and provisions, another U.S. military official told The Examiner.
An internal email from Wechsler, written several weeks ago to counternarcotics offices inside the Defense Department, described a serious problem and ordered operations suspended.
"In light of this uncertainty, Under Secretary [of Defense] Michele Flournoy requested that the DoD General Counsel provide a definitive legal opinion on this issue," Wechsler's email said. "While we are still waiting for his response in writing, we understand that he has unfortunately confirmed that we must suspend all activities conducted under 1004, 1021, and 1022 until these authorities are extended through the NDAA [national Defense Authorization Act] or a subsequent CR [Congressional Resolution]."
A call for comment to Wechsler's office was returned by Pentagon spokesman Gregory.
The situation has left military officials scrambling to find other avenues to obtain congressional funding for their counterdrug operations and programs, which are now halted.
Gregory said defense officials "are closely engaged with Congress to identify a more permanent legislative solution to address this situation."
"[Wechsler's] office didn't shepherd the authorities through Congress ensuring their reauthorizations were in the congressional resolution," one U.S. military official with knowledge of the situation told The Examiner. "They just assumed that they would be in the CR."
Under Section 1004, now suspended, the Defense Department was authorized to provide intelligence analysts, linguists, equipment maintenance, transportation of personnel from the U.S. to foreign countries for the purpose of counternarcotics operations, training of law enforcement personnel in the U.S. and abroad, and the detection and monitoring of drug cartels.
Secretary of the Army John McHugh last week authorized using the Latin American Cooperation Fund as a stopgap measure to salvage one program, the U.S. Army's training of 84 Latin American military students residing in the U.S., according to an email from U.S. Southern Command.
But other programs are in limbo. "This is as serious as it gets," said military official, whose operations have been suspended. "Whoever made this mistake that is now affecting our national security should lose their job."
... and nobody noticed?
...no, of course I didn't read the article when the opportunity for snarking was *this* obvious.
Soros is big into drug legalization.
There’s a lesson here children: If you smoke pot you forget to do important things.
If several tons of cocaine fall over in a forest...
I don’t think this was an accident. I think it is a program to destabilize the West, as we see in Occupy Whatever as it now goes worldwide. Riots in Italy today and I suspect other countries will be subjected to the random violence of the shiftless, retro, stinky, violent hippies.
We are really going to have a first class mess on our hands by the time Sparky leaves the White House. I do not envy the next President as it is going to get rough after he or she takes office.
There are however, going to be some best selling books written by after the fact whistlblowers. Monster best sellers detailing the dealings of this administration.
Does this mean the deficit will be lower?
Gregory said defense officials “are closely engaged with Congress to identify a more permanent legislative solution to address this situation.”
I vaguely remember something called a “Budget” that in another age was used to address issues like this ...
Now the federal funding for counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics programs around the world went unfunded by mistake -- an "oversight" by the Under-Secretary of Defense?
DOJ (headed by Eric Holder) falls under Homeland Security (headed by Janet Napolitano). Eric Holder used to work for Janet Napolitano during the Clinton administration. DOD is headed up by Leon Panetta.
Leon Panetta was a member of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget from 1979 to 1985 and its chairman from 1989 to 1993. Then he was the director of the Office of Management and Budget for a few years. Then he was White House Chief of Staff for the Clinton administration, then headed the CIA.
Now he is secretary of Defense and someone who works for him "FORGOT" to get budget approval for federal counternarcotics programs???
Only person missing from the group of key players / Obama underlings is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Anyone dare call this treason?
Or is this a setup to get Obama out of and Hillary into the White House?
Of course, then it could be BOTH!
Then I see yet ANOTHER possibility in a "multi-tasking" task force:
Grey Whiskers says: "[maybe] someone high, high up had a specific shipment they wanted to slip through for their own private use..."
Bump and ironic LOL.
Maybe the government is so big that they simply forgot what they were supposed to do. Especially the people you list - very very busy arming drug cartels and strip searching 80 year old women before they board a plane. Seriously though, they have taken on so much that they now must also deal with citizen and Congressional backlash - that takes up even more time. All the more reason to scale the size and scope of government back big time.
Or maybe this is the Peter Principle in play. The people in charge have risen to their highest level of incompetence. Scary for all involved. I can believe this.
Or possibly these people have something to gain. If they armed the cartels south of our border and in Afghanistan and Kosovo as alleged (going back over the recent 4 Administrations), then it makes sense that they no longer even want counter intel or to stop the flow of drugs.
Or maybe these guys are all just philosophically opposed to the WOD and, for the first time found a way to sneak a fast one past Congress.
I’m sort of having a hard time getting too worked up about this since the war on drugs is not a war, it is law enforcement and the military is not supposed to be in the law enforcement business anyway.
Posse Commitatus anyone?
Cogent analysis, valid points (in my opinion). Thanks for the reply.
It is pertinent that there are American arms all over the world. Another recent example is a cache of (how many??? I forget) surface-to-air-missiles lost in Libya....