EDITOR'S NOTE: Sylvia Longmire is a former senior border security analyst for the State of California. She is currently a consultant, correspondent for Homeland Security Today magazine, and author of Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars. The opinion expressed by the author is that of her own and does not represent that of CNN.
By Sylvia Longmire, Special to CNN
The news emerging from Mexico on August 24, 2012, sounded more like a spy thriller than the usual reports of shootings, body dumps, and decapitations. Initial reports were foggy, but it was sounding more and more like two Americans assigned to the US Embassy had been ambushed by criminals while on their way to a Mexican naval training base. As more details started trickling in, the scenario became more and more disturbing; the two wounded Embassy employees, according to published reports in Mexico, may have been CIA agents on a joint counterdrug mission, and their attackers were Mexican federal police officers. The CIA has not commented on the matter.
Making matters worse is the fact that the agents, along with a Mexican naval officer, were unarmed and traveling in a heavily armored SUV clearly bearing diplomatic license plates—something that was impossible for the attackers to miss. Mexican government officials claim it was “an accident” and a “case of mistaken identity,” as the 12 officers involved were supposedly in the area hunting down kidnappers. Yet, they were all wearing civilian clothes, according to a Mexican military official’s accounts to CNN, and traveling in different unmarked cars. They were also likely not carrying their standard-issue weapons; some Mexican media outlets indicated AK-47 shell casings were found at the scene of the shooting.
By Barbara Starr
CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Wounded Afghan soldiers, lying in dirty beds, with unchanged bandages and festering wounds. Some starving because their families have no money to pay for their food. Some beaten when they tell the staff they need pain medication. These are examples of alleged abuse that one Pentagon official described to CNN as "atrocities."
It is said to have happened in 2010 at the Afghan National Military Hospital in Kabul, a hospital in large part funded by the United States and a place where U.S. military personnel were training Afghan medical staff in how to properly treat patients.
It is those U.S. personnel who first brought the alleged abuse to light by taking photos and documenting what happened. Two years later, the United States insists conditions have dramatically improved after two investigations by the Pentagon's inspector general.
But for one man, that's not enough.
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
By Jamie Crawford
From his Abbottabad hideout, Osama bin Laden was apparently concerned about the financial health of al Qaeda, according to recently declassified documents found during the U.S. raid on his compound one year ago.
Money pressures were evident elsewhere, as well, as seen in a letter from an al Qaeda affiliate checking the morality of financing operations by murdering drug traffickers to steal their money.
In a letter from bin Laden to one of his confidants known as Atiyya in late May 2010, the shape of al Qaeda's finances, and its ability to carry on operations seemed to be on the terror leader's mind.
By Paula Newton reporting from Ottawa, Canada
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrives in the Canadian capital Monday, where he is expected to announce new measures to support the fight against narcotics in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
He is attending a two-day meeting in Ottawa with Canadian and Mexican defense leaders. FULL POST