Chertoff Ignores Warning - National Security Threatened

Before announcing his decision not to merge two border security agencies under his control, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was warned that his choice was ‘likely to aggravate, rather than remedy, the difficulties’ the two agencies were experiencing, according to a draft of a report obtained by Government Executive.

DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner told Chertoff that preserving the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection bureaus ‘would likely. . . exacerbate operational and informational stovepipes that are now only emerging,’ the document said, including creating ‘new intelligence stovepipes,’ which could have ’significant national security implications.’

In fact, Skinner’s investigators could not determine why ICE, in particular, was created the way it was. “We could not find any documentation that fully explains the rationale and purpose underlying ICE’s composition,” the report stated, “Nor could anyone whom we interviewed provide a complete explanation of the thinking behind ICE’s structure.” Most ICE and CBP officials confessed to “still being puzzled” over the decision-making concerning ICE’s structure.

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