September 21, 2005, - 6:45 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Remember President Bush’s Saturday speech at the White House, after Katrina struck?
Behind him to his left was failed Homeland Security chief and lawyer Michael Chertoff. But to his right was Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
I remember thinking: If only Bush had appointed a military or law enforcement type like Gen. Myers, to head up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)–the most important law enforcement agency in the War on Terror–instead of his niece, Julie L. Myers. Julie Myers is another lawyer like Chertoff, inept and inexperienced when it comes to law enforcement.
The White House claims that Ms. Myers is “well-known and respected throughout the law enforcement community.”
Wrong. As one ICE agent wrote me, “What a joke of a nomination!”
Chuck Showalter, President of the National Homeland Security Council, the union for 22,000 DHS (and 7,800 ICE) employees, told me, “I haven’t seen anything to show that she is qualified. . . . My members are worried about whether they will have someone on top that can support them.” He said DHS employees are tired of “program managers with no experience” and want someone with a law enforcement or military background. Myers has none.
I’ve been hearing from ICE agents, since April, when it was apparent ICE chief Michael Garcia would leave, and Julie Myers would get the job.
They wondered what this 36-year-old’s credentials were–besides being General Myers’ niece and the bed partner of Chertoff’s Chief of Staff (to whom she was then engaged and is now married). The clueless Myers needed days and days of tutoring from ICE executive management for her nomination hearings.
It’s not that ICE agents were that impressed with their first boss, Assistant Homeland Secretary Garcia.
Under Garcia’s “leadership,” immigration went unchecked, and our borders hemorrhaged. ICE was a merger of the agent portions of the INS and Customs Service. But Garcia moved the focus away from immigration enforcement and terrorism money laundering to the less threatening–but more PR-sexy–realms of sex tourism and kiddie-porn trafficking.
Instead of investigating radical Islamic groups’ money-laundering to Muslim terrorists, ICE Special Agents in Charge, like Brian Moskowitz (who oversees the heart of Islamic America–Michigan and Ohio), are hanging out at Hezbollah mosques (future column), pandering to “former” Islamic terrorists, and enlisting them in Arabic-speaking agent recruitment efforts. With Garcia’s tacit approval, Moskowitz shut down many investigations into Islamic terrorist money-laundering and illegal Islamic immigration, hanging out with individuals tied to these operations instead.
Garcia spent his tenure doing questionable things like nominating guys like Terry Nelson for an ICE award. Nelson, a legacy INS employee, once oversaw prison contracts for holding illegal alien and immigration detainees awaiting deportation. He allegedly accepted luxurious vacations for himself and his family from a prison contractor. Yet, under Garcia’s “leadership,” instead of being prosecuted, Nelson remained a high-ranking ICE official, and was NOMINATED for an ICE leadership award! Instead of facing justice, Nelson still works in a cushy ICE job in Buffalo and runs girls’ softball programs in his free time.
But, as bad as Garcia was, Julie L. Myers is worse. She has virtually no experience working with law enforcement. She claims her short stint as an Assistant Treasury Secretary overseeing money laundering and boycott issues is enough. But sources say that, in that role, she worked with current ICE Director of Investigations, Marcy Forman-Friedman, and the two engaged in a prolonged catfight–unable to get along and wrestling over who got credit for successful operations.
How will she get along with Forman, who is in charge of all ICE investigations, now? Will she push Forman toward the immigration problems she has ignored? Don’t count on it.
Will Myers change the policy of promotions and rewards for malfeasance by renegade ICE “leadership.” For example, what will she do about:
* Giovanni Guadioso, a/k/a “GG,” who headed ICE’s office in El Paso? As the press has much reported, he allegedly participated in a cover-up to conceal the involvement of an ICE informant in a series of violent murders, including the attempted murder of an undercover DEA agent. It’s the subject of a high-profile lawsuit, too. But, instead of being suspended, he was PROMOTED to Deputy Director of ICE over its budget, staffing, and training.
* Jennifer Sedgebeer, a Texas ICE agent, who allegedly participated in handcuffing a woman to a hot tub because the woman refused to perform a sex act on Sedgebeer and her cop boyfriend? Sedgebeer was put on PAID leave.
* Two unnamed ICE agents still working for Moskowitz, with Forman’s full knowledge? One was caught driving drunk in his federally-funded “G” car, soliciting a prostitute. Another is an alleged child molester, and habitually used his “G” car to stop and harass drivers on Western Michigan area highways for fun.
Then, there’s New Orleans. Here’s a little quiz:
What was the lead Homeland Security agency down in New Orleans from before the Hurricane hit to date? If you answered FEMA, you are wrong.
In fact, ICE was the lead Homeland Security agency designated by Chertoff to deal with Katrina aftermath, with Forman “running the show” from New Orleans’ chic “W” Hotel.
It was a miserable failure. Many agents who volunteered to go to New Orleans were waiting for days and were never sent. Others were sent days late, too avoid paying overtime (the ICE “leadership” didn’t realize that FEMA paid overtime and wanted to cut costs). Forman and ICE’s New Orleans Special Agent in Charge, Michael Holt, were reportedly in Baltimore just prior to the hurricane, partying at a Forman reception–instead of making preparations.
As a brilliant ICE agent friend said, ICE honchos and people like Julie Myers “are transforming the good men and women of ICE and of DHS into a pathetic bunch of milquetoasts who are incapable of providing the most basic protections to the people of this nation.”
Clearly, ICE is an agency with a lot of problems, problems that need the attention and know-how of a law enforcement or military veteran.
Not an inexperienced 36-year-old relative of important people.
***UPDATE: Check out Michelle Malkin’s excellent column on Julie L. Myers and latest blogpost about it.
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