May 8th, 2012
02:37 PM ET

A new border strategy to combat evolving threat

by Suzanne Kelly

If there was one thing nearly everyone in the House subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing room agreed on Tuesday, it was the enormity of the challenge facing U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher then rolled out his new border security policy, a policy that hasn't undergone a significant update since 2004. It shifts the focus from efforts to patrol the 8,600 miles of border surrounding the country to identifying the areas of greatest risk and devoting resources there.

"The Border Patrol's strategic plan marks an important point in the growth and development of the U.S. Border Patrol and establishes an approach that is tailored to meet the challenges of securing a 21st century border against a variety of dynamic threats and dangerous adversaries," said Fisher, who says the threat along the border is constantly evolving.

Fisher was joined at the witness table by Rebecca Gambler from the Government Accountability Office and Marc Rosenblum, a specialist on immigration issues.

If there were another thing everyone agreed on, it was that securing the border, which includes the rugged warzone-like conditions in parts of the Southwest to the vast expanses of land along the northern border, is nothing short of a work in progress. FULL POST


Filed under: Border Security • Border security • drones • drugs • Homeland Security • Terrorism
April 25th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Up close with America's Border Patrol Chief

by Suzanne Kelly

Since 9/11, the task of securing the U.S. border has changed significantly. Today, the number one threat that Customs and Border Protection officials worry about is terrorism. That doesn't mean it's the only threat. The continuous problems associated with illegal immigration, human smuggling, drug smuggling and gun running remain the primary focus for border patrol agents.

In an exclusive interview with Security Clearance, Customs and Border Patrol Chief Mike Fisher explains how new technologies honed on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan are being used on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

See also the up close tour of border patrol security operations.

April 24th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Man on the Wall: The 'Case File' on the Customs and Border Protection Chief

By Suzanne Kelly

Editor's note: This is part of a Security Clearance series "Case Files," which profiles members of the national security and intelligence community.

Mike Fisher was a law school intern in the late 1980s, sifting through files in the basement of the Crawford County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney's Office. Within the pages of those legal briefs lived the adventures of other people.

"I was reading case files and preparing briefs and I saw all this neat cop stuff that people were doing out there and I just decided at that point it was something that I didn't want to be writing about. I wanted to actually do it," said Fisher.

He sent his application to the FBI, but as he recalls, it was only interested in hiring Chinese linguists and accounting majors, so he took the advice of one of the FBI agents he met and blanketed other federal agencies with his resume.

FULL POST