March 5, 2008, - 12:36 pm

ICE, The Joke that Keeps on Giving: New 2nd in Command at ICE Used Agency as Personal Harem; Gave Jobs to Women Who Slept w/Him – Son of Lasorda

By Debbie Schlussel
Why is inside baseball at our nation’s immigration enforcement agency important? Because incompetence rises to the top, and illegal aliens need not worry . . .
Great news for those few female agents at ICE who don’t mind sleeping with the married boss to get ahead. Your prayers have been answered.
Proud high school graduate John P. Torres is the new number two at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations overseeing it’s Detention and Removal Operations, Office of Investigations and Federal Protective Service. That means he’s running the place for incompetentette Julie L. Myers a/k/a “The ICE Princess,” but won’t have to go through the Senate confirmation process (kinda like she barely did).


John P. Torres: Costanza “Runs” ICE

Finally, they pick a person with INS experience for the leadership of ICE, but they pick the WORST PERSON possible. Good luck, America. National security just got way worse.
I thought the agency was at its lowest point possible under incompetent ICE Chieftess Julie L. Myers a/k/a “The ICE Princess.”
Sadly, I was wrong. A few days ago, I got an e-mail that The ICE Princess picked a new Prince, a new Deputy Assistant Secretary of ICE. When the person told me the name of the choice, John P. Torres, I thought that person was on crack. But, again, I was wrong. Clearly, the person who chose him, The ICE Princess, is the one on crack.
Despite ethics complaints against him for allegedly sleeping with his assistant who claimed he sexually harassed her, Deputy Assistant Secretary for ICE, John Clark, was allowed to retire from ICE with a full pension and a job with a Fortune 500 company.
I guess, given the fact that she already picked one guy who used ICE as a harem, Myers decided to pick yet another to replace him, Torres.
Readers of this site will remember my multiple columns and postings on John Torres, ICE’s own version of “Seinfeld”‘s George Costanze (with apologies to Costanza). He’s the guy who wasted $50,000 in your tax money–meant for rounding up, jailing, and deporting illegal aliens–to pay baseball’s Tommy Lasorda to speak at a weeklong party Torres hosted. The party–whose purpose was solely to promote Torres (and hey, it worked!)–cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries of ICE personnel, travel costs, food, and hotel bills. You paid for that, too, even though you and your Congressmen and Senators allocated the money for illegal alien deportation, NOT John Torres’ partying.
Torres is also the married guy who used his perch atop ICE’s Detention and Removal Office to pick extra-marital girlfriends who slept with him for key jobs at ICE for which they were not qualified. That’s not just unethical, it’s against the law. Since the man operated ICE as his own personal harem and concubine farm team, I think the title “The ICE Prince” is quite appropriate for Torres. His behavior would make a Saudi prince drool.
Torres has a gazillion ethics complaints against him. He’s hired many cronies who were not only unqualified for positions high atop ICE, and he pushed through people who could NOT PASS a background check for security clearance. Hello . . .? When Torres’ choices for positions at ICE didn’t meet the government-mandated qualifications for experience, he ignored them and formed his own faux hiring committee to rubber stamp his picks. A vindictive, power-mad, Napoleon-type, his behavior is more like Saddam in power than a man who wants to find and deport illegal aliens in our midst. Expect that be exacerbated now that he’s running the show.
One of Torres’ many unqualified hires was a man named Gary Mead, whom he just got Julie Myers to pick as his replacement as Director of Detention and Removal Operations. But Mead, whom some agents tell me is not a bad guy personally, had zero immigration experience when he was hired– about two years ago!–into ICE. He is not even an immigration officer and, as some agents say, couldn’t tell a U.S. citizen from an alien. He worked for the U.S. Marshal Service, and there was a time when he was not going to clear security for the job with ICE because of issues while with the Marshal Service.
It’s monetary wastes like Torres’ Lasorda convention and ineffective running of Detention and Removal Operations that have led to multiple DHS Inspector General reports on failures of his DRO department. Torres never had any experience in detention and removal of aliens. His only experience was as an INS agent in the Office of Investigations under the old INS. Many experienced Detention and Removal people gave him many recommendations on how to make his department run better, how to save money, round up more illegal aliens, and get more jail beds for them. But Torres ignored all of those recommendations, which were all made, yet again, in one or more of the Inspector General reports. Things are so bad that I hear from demoralized DRO agents who worked for Torres, on a daily basis.
It would not matter that he does not have a college degree and is completely uneducated, if he was a respected law enforcement official with top notch experience. Instead, he’s gone from INS assistant district director of investigations in Chicago to running ICE in a short period of five years. That meteoric rise doesn’t reflect competence. It represents promotion without basis. As with everything else at ICE, the manure rises to the top. The best and brightest people are persecuted and remain at the bottom or mid-level.
It’s things like this that are the reason that good, experienced ICE agents are fleeing the agency and retiring early in droves. Look for that hemorhaging to become a flood under Torres. He is unversally hated and disrespected. A huge joke.
One of the reasons Torres was picked for the job is that he’s Hispanic, and Myers has hired no minorities for any leadership positions at ICE. Since ICE mostly picks up Hispanic illegal aliens (and leaves Islamic extremist hotbeds like Dearbornistan largely off-limits), Myers wants a Hispanic face on it to give it the kosher seal of approval. But there are many competent, hard-working Latino agents throughout ICE. He is not one of them. I know several of them who are far more deserving of the position that Torres fell into, and not one respects Torres or likes the idea that he supposedly represents them.
And, as much as I’ve decried the behavior of Marcy M. Forman-Freedman a/k/a “Peppermint Patty,” ICE’s Director of Investigations, at least she had experience in investigations, having run the successful Operation Greenquest at U.S. Customs. Since she and John Torres are mortal enemies, she will likely be pushed out and replaced by yet another incompetent, inexperienced, and unqualified Torres crony. Ah, the spoils of victory.
Recently, I got through reading the boring script for “Crossing Over” a/k/a “ICE, The Movie.” I marveled at how it defamed dedicated Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents trying to do their jobs and enforce the law. (Stay tuned for more on that.)
But I was thinking: If they really wanted to make ICE look bad, they needn’t lie about the many great street- and mid-level agents I’ve come to know and respect a great deal. They only need show us the reality of the sorry “leadership” of this agency.
And I would cast Jason Alexander in the part of John Torres.
As one of the many demoralized ICE agents, outraged over Torres’ appointment, told me:

It’s like a bad movie you can’t walk out on.


John Torres Costanza by David Lunde/Lundesigns


(ICEfeld by Assistant Homeland Security Secretary for PhotoShop David Lunde)

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17 Responses

The FBI has required agents to have a college degree since the day the agency was formed. Today all the federal investigative agencies have the same grade structure as the FBI. A college degree has been required by all agencies except the legacy INS for the at least twenty years with very few individual exceptions on a case by case basis. Julie Myers calls ICE “the premiere” federal law enforcement agency yet the Assistant Secretary for Operations doesn’t have a college degree? The local police department where I live requires a college degree for all police officer applicants and has since 1980. ICE is a national disgrace and THE major embarrassment of the fledging Department of Homeland Security.

ParaLyzer on March 5, 2008 at 2:50 pm

It’s appropriate that you use George as a reference. The whole ICEFELD “show” seems like it takes place in Jerry’s BIZZARRO WORLD.

samurai on March 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm

ParaLyzer. I agree with everything you said, except that Customs did not actually require a degree if an applicant had investigative experience. Management at the old Customs Service recognized that they were missing out on extremely qualified investigators with years of experience because some lacked a degree. But, applying to Customs was so competetive, if an applicant did not have a degree or significant investigative experience, they were wasting their time. In my CBES class in the mid 90’s, all 24 of us had at least a 4 yr degree with over 10 with Masters and 1 P.h.D. Again, I agree with everything you said. Just wanted to clear that one up. Oh yea, thank God I’m gone from ICE!

freefromice on March 5, 2008 at 9:39 pm

I remember a time when such an article would have a dozen posts by now. Apparently, gone are the days when people cared.
Now, no one seems to care enough to post their comments. I think we have found that it does no good. ICE agents from both legacy agencies have resorted to leaving. ICE agents are leaving continuing their exodus. Legacy Customs agents are looking to jump over to CBP and legacy INS agents are bailing to DRO. Agents from both legacy agencies are opting to retire.
A continuing sign of the lack of morale and direction. Why stay?? ICE continues to promote the 30 year old wonder kids with less then five years on the job, while allowing veteran agents to wither into oblivion. Congress STILL has not addressed any kind of immigration reform while feigning dismay at the Halloween photo debacle.
If you want to know what’s wrong with ICE, put some legacy VETERAN agents in a room and listen to their valid concerns, tempered by their experience.
Retirement can’t come fast enough.

ICEDover on March 5, 2008 at 10:09 pm

In response to Freefromice, I don’t think it’s a matter of people no longer caring. Instead, I believe it’s a matter of people no lomger being surprised at the display of executive level incompetence in this administration. For the past seven years, we’ve had incompetence and/or illegal activities in the CIA, FBI, FDA, ICE, FEMA, CSPC, the Justice Dept., Defense, State, etc. This, unfortunately, is the result of incompetent leadership and the politicization of government departments. ICE is just one small piece of a very large corrupt pie.

JohnBoston on March 6, 2008 at 10:56 am

JB I think you are on to something. I would agree that we have all become immune to the corrupt practices of our upper management at ICE and the politics that govern our enforcement actions.
All the top managers at ICE are nothing more than vindictive, small minded, self absorbed, arrogant SOBs and are posturing for their job after retirement or promotion.
Both Forman and Torres have promoted self serving ass kissers that have little or no experience and are quick to put anyone else down that doesn’t agree with their point of view. They also have covered up indiscretions by friends and or family members by intimatating agents not to report those events.
The immaturity and inability of Forman & Torres to work together have severly hindered ICE’s development and continue to cause daily operational problems that are not addressed
The fact that DHS HQ really doesn’t get involved has caused major rifts bewteen CBP & ICE and has fostered problems between the Offices of Investigations and Detention and Removal.
I could go on and on but that would only give EVS more things to attack, in addition to my writing skills or lack there of. Which is typical for ICE “form over substance”, if you can write then you can lead, well I for one haven’t seen any leadership in the last 5 years from these people.

ficedup on March 7, 2008 at 8:28 am

I too am thankful that freefromice “is”, but judging from his posts, he just can’t forget about us quick enough. 🙂
Where do I begin with you?
“I would agree that we have all become immune to the corrupt practices of our upper management at ICE and the politics that govern our enforcement actions.” Corrupt practices huh? Have you reported this corruption to OPR or the IG, or are you just parroting DS? If you have knowledge of specific allegations, it is your duty to report those. You do know this, right?
“All the top managers at ICE are nothing more than vindictive, small minded, self absorbed, arrogant SOBs and are posturing for their job after retirement or promotion.”
Mighty broad brush you are wielding there my friend. Do you really believe this? Are you referring to the “appointed” top managers, or the career people, that have worked their way up to their positions? I wish you would be more specific, if you are able to do so. Please enlighten us, if you can.
“Both Forman and Torres have promoted self serving ass kissers that have little or no experience and are quick to put anyone else down that doesn’t agree with their point of view. They also have covered up indiscretions by friends and or family members by intimatating agents not to report those events.”
I would ask you to be specific, because I know a lot of the people that Marcy Forman, and John Torres have promoted, and none of the people I know, are ass kissers, or people with little or no experience. Name someone and let’s compare resumes, shall we?
It’s real easy to throw rocks and bottles from the shadows, at the people who have, for whatever reason, chosen to step up into leadership positions within this agency. It’s a hell of a lot harder to lead.
John Clark is an old friend of mine, and I wish him all the best in his retirement. He’s paid his dues, and he deserves the very best (despite what DS or the rest of you think).
Marcy and JT are also friends of mine. Do I agree with everything they do? No, I don’t. But I damn sure give them credit for doing a job that most wouldn’t want, and giving it their all. That won’t be enough for most of you, and I understand that.
Regardless of what you “think”, JT has done a great job with DRO during his tenure there, and it’s stronger, and better staffed then ever. This wasn’t accomplished at the expense of OI like some of you may think either, it was done purposefully so that OI could one day get back to it’s role in this agency, which is to investigate, which is what Investigators are paid to do.
Marcy hasn’t made any friends with the job she’s had to do over the past number of years either, but I defy anyone to say she hasn’t given 110 percent, day in, and day out. She isn’t perfect, and neither am I, and I dare say, neither are you.
Alright, I’ve thrown a little gas on your campfire, so lets get those cards and letter coming, shall we?
Work safe,

EverVigilantSheepdog on March 8, 2008 at 10:03 pm

I again must commend you on your optimism and what I consider sincere dedication to “the job”. However, some of the comments made by other posters may have some merit.
For my own reasons, I agree with your characterization of Mr. Clark. A good man, career guy with extensive knowledge who is moving on. I wish him nothing but the best!!!
I have never met Ms. Marcy Forman but her reputation as a hard charger is something I have heard about and respected since the 90s.
I have never met Mr. Torres, and therefore I probably am not qualified to comment.
However, based on what I have seen and heard, I am disturbed by what is happening around us. ICE agents are still leaving, both to CBP and DRO. ICE agents with less then 5 or seven years on the job are being promoted to 14s and HQ. Veteran agents’ (those with 12 & 15 years or more) experience is being ignored. Other agencies have been granted access to our data bases and beating us over the head with our own information. The rules on “who” handles “what” are even more fuzzy then ever before. We have been sitting around waiting for Congress to pass some real immigration reform and nothing happens.
The fault for what is happening in ICE runs from Congress through HQ then down to the field offices.
While it is true that no one in management has ever stopped a field agent from doing his/her work or cases, there does not seem to be a whole lot of encouragement. Veteran agents are still adequately trained to handle cross agency matters. Yet, if we blunder on a cross agency matter, we are disciplined.
I have seen morale in several office plummet to all time lows. There is absolutely no communication between field agents and field management. In one office, an upper manager had the nickname “ostrich” because he was so oblivious to what was going on around him.
ICE agents are still answering matters dealing with illegals picked up by local PDs, which would seem to be a DRO matter.
We seem to be losing more people than we are attracting. The CBP IA position on USA Jobs just closed. Let’s see how many people will jump. In my area, I am aware of two people that recently jumped from OI to DRO.
There must be some way to start a real forum to bring some of these issues to HQ attention without fear of retribution. In the meanwhile, dedicated agents from both legacy agencies will continue to do what they have always done; “the job”!!!!
However, EVS, I certainly can understand the fustration field agents from around ICE are feeling.

ICEDover on March 9, 2008 at 9:27 am

correction: I meant to say “veteran agents are still inadequately trained to handle cross agency matter.”

ICEDover on March 9, 2008 at 9:29 am

I will grant you Sir, that ICE is not our Father’s Customs Service, where everyone wanted to be, and very few ever left. I’m afraid those days are long gone. We do have agents leaving, but we also have some coming aboard from other agencies. We’re about 5,500 strong, and primed for a few enhancement positions, that will be coming online soon.
Everyone is not retiring, the day they become eligible (I’m over 2 years eligible), and while DRO is getting some of our good troops, that trend has about leveled off, and ICE as a whole is better off for it. I’ve got Special Agents, that are good as any you have ever met, running DRO where I am, and I’m thrilled to be partnered with such class guys. They “get it” which makes my job so much easier.
Veteran agents with 12-15 years experience, should be stepping up into leadership positions. I encourage those folks to join management, and make the positive change we all long for. I don’t know where you work, but they aren’t ignored where I am. Some of them would rather work cases than push paper, and I appreciate that. When they won’t take the test though, or apply for a 14, and someone barely eligible does, they don’t have anyone to blame but themselves.
You know the old saying about would you rather be the a hole, or work for the a hole? Sometimes we must take promotions out of self defense. LOL
If you know some experienced agents, that are being ignored where you are, and they are interested in being part of the solution, please encourage them to step up. They might not get promoted where you (and they) are, but we are always looking for the best candidate for the position, and we’ll have more vacancies by the time the new 14 list is issued.
As to communication between the field, and field level leadership, I’m afraid I can’t speak to that in your area. I can tell you that I’m out talking to people all the time, and prefer it, to staying in the SAC office pushing paper. In fact, I was in SAC/Dallas recently, and was accused of running for office, because rather than hang with the SAC and the other HQS types that were there visiting, I went off on my own to meet the troops, to see what was on their mind. Surprised some of the agents I imagine, but it’s what I do. I can’t believe I’m the only 15 that does this.
Do we have some poor managers (notice I didn’t say leaders)? You bet. There are many that should have never been promoted to the positions they now hold. Managers or Supervisors maybe, but not leaders. But I’d argue that we also have some great leaders, that are as good as you’ll find anywhere, in any federal agency.
We are still doing more administrative work than any right thinking OI leader thinks is appropriate, but it takes time, money, and a plan to get that stuff worked by the people, and the grades that should be doing it.
I know the A/S has heard our cry though, because I personally made that point in a recent meeting I was in with the A/S, the Commissioner of CBP and the Border Patrol Chief.
I really think she understands that point, but we’re just not there yet. I also made the same argument to a U.S. Congressman two days ago.
I only tell you all of this to share with you the fact that the word is getting out, people entrusted with leadership of this agency are doing what they can, to correct those things we all see as problems.
Keep the faith my friend, and as you say, keep doing “the job”, and looking out for your fellow agents. I appreciate what you do, and I’m hopeful that your local leadership does as well. We’ll get there; sooner or later we’ll get there.
Work Safe,

EverVigilantSheepdog on March 9, 2008 at 10:04 am

I’ve worked with Torres and all I can say is, hold on to your hats. This is going to be a bumpy (but fun, with all the stories coming through the grapevine) ride!

sanantonioins on March 9, 2008 at 11:09 pm

I have done my best to resist commenting on this blog, but I feel as though I must express my thoughts. I am one of those SA who was hired five years ago during the mass post 9/11 boom. I hired onto the legacy USCS but barely spent 3 months on the job before we converted to ICE. Granted, the writing was on the wall when I hired, but I knew that I was still joining the Customs Service not the INS. That being said, agents in my tenure range are not pleased with what has become of this agency and are not overly happy that in the 5 years this agency has been alive we have only graduated from Alien bus drivers shuttling illegals from jail to jail to useless players in the worksite enforcement debacle. We all know that it will not be until real laws are passed that penalize companies will these work site farces have any real bite.
I came to this agency wanting to work one specific area, CE. I knew that I might not be able to do so since we have a very diversified mission, but I did everything I could to make a name for myself in that specialty and gain the subject matter knowledge to become as much of an expert as someone with 5 years on could be. I have worked several major ICE developed cases with sentencing ranging from 7-25 years and have never received any real recognition from my management for it. ItÔø?s sad that I have more letters and awards from other agencies than I do from my own. I do not bring this up to listen to the tiny violins but to make an example out of what agents in my position feel.
Cash awards are fine if they mean something, not just a half ass morale booster ordered by HQ. In my prior line of work I never got bonuses, but I did have rank which let you know that what you did mattered to them. I got to tell you EVS, that meant a lot more than my $500 bonus for putting away a predator for 25years. I don’t do my job for the cash awards, God only knows we as SAs make more than enough money. I and many other SAs do this job because it matters to us. However, when the rank doesn’t support you unless youÔø?re cranking out alien stats, then we start looking elsewhere.
Young SAs, for the most part, are eager to go else where because they see this agency as becoming another INS. However, not many people want to go through another 16-21 week academy. So what happens when you have low morale, no support from management, aliens and WSE taking priority over all other cases, no respect from other agencies (please don’t fool yourself, on an agent to agent level, we are seen as nothing more than the aliens pickup team)you get SLUGS.
I wish it was different EVS. I have had the pleasure of working with some great managers especially at C3 on TDYs. People like Skippy and Shawn and their crew remind me that there are more than just pencil pushing drones up there. These guys have fought to keep our investigative priorities. Not that others haven’t, but I can’t speak to what I don’t know.
I have meet you a couple of times and think your a pretty stand up guy and I appreciate the ” I don’t give a f*** what others think of me” attitude that you have. You are an agentÔø?s manager, but there not many people like that anymore. I am way to early in my stay here to be a manager ( I doubt I have either the knowledge or patience), but I just hope things change, or there wont be any SAs like me to become managers. We will have either left or will have reduced ourselves to staring out the window waiting for the next last minute emergency WSE roundup.
I remain,

2tired on March 11, 2008 at 10:28 am

Again EVS, I appreciate and commend you on your optimism. I will also commend you for being what 2tired said about you being an “agent’s manager”. We may have some of those as G/Ss, but not as ASACs or above. However, I know what I see and have seen in my AOR.
I, like several others, did not take the latest 14 test. Some of us took it the last time, passed and were passed over. As a veteran I have taken the attitude of “you didnt want me yesterday, what makes me think you are going to want me today or tomorrow”. I followed the rules. I studied, took the test, did the best I could (I have always been a “B” student and test taker) and hoped that my experience might count for something. Needless to say, it did not.
My parents taught me pride and respect, so I became discouraged as others with less than half the time I have on the job got calls from HQ. I will not ‘beg’ for a promotion.
I have also come to the realize that veteran agents in both legacy agencies are a commodity that is not being sought after. I will finish out my career exactly where I am as several attempts to move to other areas were met with a ‘no response’.
I must also ask that if so many people are aware of the situation as you described, including the A/S, why then isnt someone doing something about it?
Why are there no legacy Customs investigative areas highlighted on the ICE website? Why were no legacy Customs investigative areas (except for a brief mention about a strategic matter) highlighted in the recent ICE list of achievements relative to the five year anniversary? The answer, I fear, is because we are becoming the new INS.
That answer then effectively STALLS the career of veteran legacy Customs agents as their expertise and experience no longer matters. Are legacy Customs investigative areas being taught in the Academy?
I don’t wish to investigate benefit fraud and WSE for the simply reason that I am not trained and/or qualified to do so.
So the question remains; what opportunities are left for those who only have legacy Customs knowledge and experience?
As for low morale and agents leaving for other agencies…. well, it’s happening here!

ICEDover on March 11, 2008 at 7:41 pm

First off let me thank you and ICEDover for the kind words regarding me. It isn’t the norm here on the DS Blog, and you’ll probably get rocks and bottles tossed your way for now, but I do appreciate it, nonetheless.
I know exactly what you are saying, and I couldn’t agree more, with the majority of your post.
I have a very dear son-in-law, in almost your identical situation, also with ICE, who signed on to be a U.S. Customs Special Agent, and became and ICE Special Agent after the merger.
If you will indulge me, I’d like to brag on him a bit. He came on the job, fresh from the Secret Service U/D, determined to be the best criminal investigator he could be.
You know what? He’s a damn fine investigator in his own right, and he’s worked everything from document and benefit fraud to drug smuggling, from bulk cash smuggling to alien smuggling, from Customs Fraud (IPR Violations mostly) to Child Pornography/Predator Cases. I’m sure I missed some of the fine work he’s done. What he decided was he was going to succeed, whatever the case category, and he wasn’t going to be bothered by things outside of his control. I know that’s tough my friend, but if he can do it, and derive the huge job satisfaction benefit out of doing a job well, why couldn’t you do the same thing? I’m just asking.
This is NOT the U.S. Customs Service that I loved, and fought for, for 20 years. I admit it, and I mourned it, right along with you all. But when the mourning period was over, I set out to make the very best I could, of something I really had no control over. But even with all that said, it still isn’t the terrible job that some would have us all believe.
WSE isn’t anyone’s favorite case category. I think I can speak for everyone in ICE in that regard (and that’s a bold statement). But WSE is important, if we’re going to send the right message to the employer.
If I were king for a day, I’d do it differently, but I’d still do WSE cases. I’d do them smarter I hope, with the assistance and cooperation of the DOJ and the US Attorney’s Offices, but buddy, you and I aren’t king for the day.
Trust me when I say, this too will pass. Hang in there. Do what you can, to make a difference. Help your buddies with their cases, and they’ll do the same. Eventually the pendelum will swing the other direction, as it always does.
We used to have a saying in Customs, that is more true today then it ever was then “If you don’t like the way it is today, stand by, because change is on the way. The only thing constant IS change”. If that doesn’t sum up ICE in two sentences, nothing ever will.
As for what you said about awards, and recognition, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’m going to cut and paste your comments, into a message to HQS, because they need to hear that, and they are too busy putting out brush fires to read this blog.
You keep your chin up, know that you are appreciated by some of us, and it will get better. I know talk is cheap, but I really believe it, or I wouldn’t say it. I wish I could just have all you guys come work for me, and I’d have the ability/opportunity to make your quality of life better. One day maybe. LOL
You’ve probably heard me say it before, but I’m going to say it again.
If you won’t step up, and become a leader in this outfit, who will? You can not allow being passed over a time or two, to sour you on the process. Damn it, we need good, experienced leadership, and our troops damn sure deserve it.
And you aren’t going to beg for a promotion? Come on man, you aren’t begging for anything. I haven’t been selected for every job I’ve applied for, but it didn’t keep me from trying again. Polish the paper, gain more experience in areas I knew I was weak in, and give it another shot. The cream, my friend, will find it’s way to the top. Maybe not the first time, but eventually. Do not give up, damn it!
There remains a demand for people with legacy Customs experience, and there always will be. It takes a ton of experience, gained over years of doing it, to handle some of the complexities of a good Customs fraud, strat, or financial case.
Eventually, it will all be overcome by events, so to speak, and our “ICE only” SA’s will be doing everything, probably better than we remember us doing it back in “the day”.
All of this is not to say some of our legacy INS brother/sisters aren’t capable of doing these cases. To the contrary. Many of those that I personally know, are smart enough, and quick enough learners, that they could do any case category, and make it look like they’d been doing it for awhile. It isn’t rocket science, as they say everywhere but NASA. I would suggest that these folks (for the most part) weren’t allowed to work the more complex cases with INS, but they are certainly capable.
My office looks for the very best candidate, for each and every promotion that we make. Everyone won’t agree with the selections, I’ll grant you that. But if anyone tells you we only choose “Customs guys” or we’ll only pick an “INS guy” they are full of crap.
We try to look at our own people first, to give them the opportunity to advance, if they are the very best candidate. But when they aren’t, we search, beyond the people we know, for diamonds that have been overlooked. We aren’t always successful, but we damn sure try.
Any competent leader, is looking for the very best talent, and also for someone who can play well with others, and be part of the leadership team he or she has assembled.
People skills, are much more important to me, in a potential leader, than technical skills. Yes, you need to know your way around a criminal case, but the ability to work with people from other disciplines, other agencies, administrative people, subordinates and supervisors is all very important to me when I’m taking the measure of a potential candidate for advancement.
My experience tells me, that the best “case maker” isn’t always the best leader. Might be, but it’s not even close to a sure thing.
This goes for any ICE Agent reading this, but for you two guys (2tired and ICEDover) especially: If you see a vacancy pop up in my five states, put in for it. I can’t promise that we’ll get to you, but I want the biggest pool of applicants to choose from, every time, and you have my word that we do our homework in the Big Easy, each and every time, to find that diamond. Might be you, and I wouldn’t even know it. LOL
Ya’ll work safe. I gotta get some sleep.
I’ll apologize in advance for spelling errors, and if this posts twice, as the “preview” button doesn’t appear to be working correctly. Work Safe!

EverVigilantSheepdog on March 12, 2008 at 1:11 am

Your statement about giving things time is quite true. This agency, much like many others, operates at the whim of the executive branch. If it wasnít for someone in congress getting a wild hair up their A** then the FBI would not be looking into steroid abuse in professional baseball.
Immigration is the hot topic now and will be until the administration changes. I see this as being no different then the 80í and 90ís when the War on Drugs really brought the USCS to the forefront of public attention. I am sure back then there were agents whining that nobody cared about strategic or IPR cases and that all we did was grab cheap easy stats from dope loads.
And yes, WSE is very important. My frustration, along with many other SAs, is not that we have to work these cases, but that these cases carry little bite for the employer, are constantly mangled by HQ looking for a happy settlement with the company, and the aliens are just sent back via VR. WSE is fraught with problems. If it was up to me, we would move to seize the business and its assets. Granted, does ICE want to run/maintain a poultry plant? Probably not, but the message would be made. This agency does donít impress anyone when 1000+ agents go all over the country to meat plants pulling illegal aliens out. The company suffered no real consequence. At the Texas site, only 8 individuals were prosecuted and received sentences less than 8 months each (published info, not LEO sensitive). Sure lots of aliens were put on buses and sent home for the holidays, but the profit/production loss dwarfs the company is overshadowed by the fact that the business continuation insurance covered there losses due to a federal civil (not criminal) investigation.
I am very blessed in that I enjoy working my very specific case categories. I am left alone for the most part because most agents hate or refuse to work CP/CE. I have done my share of IPR, drug, and alien cases in 5 years, but I believe that we should encourage SAís , who want to, to become specialized in their investigations. Trust me, I understand the argument of the well rounded agent, especially in the first few years of employment, but for those assigned to AIRGs, Cyber, etc, we should allow those agents to stay put if they are successful and want to stay. Both of those above groups require the agents to stay updated on both legal and technical changes. I know of plenty of SACs that mix up the TOs every quarter and move people around. In general I agree that this is a good idea, but I know a lot of agents that have been moved out of their areas of expertise for various reasons.
I do appreciate the comments of the LUSCS agents on this post. Having not been a full part of that rich heritage and tradition, I can only imagine the pain you all felt due to this merger. Donít get me wrong, I have known some fine LINS agents and have worked with several that were great criminal investigators. However, in my little experience here in my SAC, those LUSCS and LINS agents that have complained the most and refused to adapt to the change are the oneís who do the least. These are the one that just paralleled other agencies cases or grab a cheap stat on a road side load. These are the agents that knew how to blow smoke up a GSs a** in order to make a case look huge so they could waste time on ìfield workî and ìsurveillanceî. Some how these cases never developed or fell by the wayside. Yeah this sounds like a generalization (and it is), but you gotta upset somebody to point out the truth (part of the reason why all never be promoted-but always be on a punishment TDY).
Amused as always

2tired on March 12, 2008 at 10:55 am

Funny, according to the info on here, the FBI is incompetent even though they all have college degrees and many have advanced degrees. Chertoff is incompetent and he has a law degree and was a Federal Judge. But Torres is incompetent because he does not have a college degree. Interesting.

oldtimey on March 28, 2008 at 12:42 am

Wow, some interesting coversations I missed. I was transferring over from another agency and in the BG phase but it sounds like things are a little worse integrity and politically within ICE. Just wanted to close to whoever reads this that I don’t think a college degree is such a big deal. I have a Masters but it doesnt make me a better Investigator. Some of my best friends are the best detectives in the U.S with a HS diploma.
I think the argument I have heard is some SA’s do not possess the same skills or abilities as others, thus drawing into question the hiring standards. I just wanted everyone to know, each agent has had its issues since forming DHS, but nothing will change unless something happens with that cabinet agency.

RIVTRVLR on July 22, 2008 at 4:17 am

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