About 10 years ago, in Sierra Vista, Arizona, a Border Patrol officer told me he feared post 9/11 “surges” in hiring at the agency would have shattering consequences, inadvertently luring bad recruits into the Border Patrol.
Now the fired Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs Commissioner, James Tomsheck, has become a whistleblower. He blames post 9/11 rapid and increased militarization of the border for sloppy hiring practices in a fascinating NPR story that aired last week. The agency is protected by a cloak of secrecy by the Homeland Security Act, which is a byproduct of our national fear following the Twin Towers bloodbath.
NPR reports that Border Patrol agents and officers have killed 28 people since 2010. Tomscheck told NPR that some Border Patrol insiders covered up several of the shootings, exaggerating the danger the soon-to-be slaughtered migrants or Mexican nationals posed to the Border Patrol agents who shot them.
Beyond the Border Patrol’s secrecy and coverup, Tomasheck told NPR, many within the agency consider themselves part of a bonafide paramilitary force.