DHS Gives the ‘Red Carpet’ to Middle Eastern Airlines
Next time you’re waiting in your socks as your luggage is rifled through by security at the TSA checkpoint, you might reflect on how unchecked people and vehicles are getting through security in other parts of the airport. Our Corruption Chronicles blog exposes the disturbing facts.
The massive agency created after 9/11 to protect the nation risks security at U.S. airports by letting airlines impose expedited measures to keep traffic flowing, according to government officials interviewed by Judicial Watch. “The airlines call the shots,” said a veteran federal agent who has worked at one of the nation’s largest airports as well as the Mexican and Canadian border. “It’s all about facilitating traffic, moving people. Airlines have incredible power at airports and they dictate how Customs and Border Protection (CPB) entry/exit inspection agents do their job.” In fact, airline employees are allowed in the inspections/customs area for incoming passengers specifically to monitor wait times and file complaints with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which caters to them.
Other CBP port inspection sources told Judicial Watch that in the academy agents are trained to take their time in order to properly complete inspection duties. They are specifically taught not be pressured by wait times for passengers or complaints from airlines. The reality is much different, federal agents say. Once they’re on the job, DHS caves into airlines’ demands for quick—and less thorough—inspections. “When you get to the port management moves away from the importance of inspections,” said one frustrated CPB inspector on the job for more than a decade. “It’s more about speed than safety.” Another longtime CPB agent confirmed that “wait times are a major problem which causes a security compromise to avoid complaints from the airlines and flyers, both international and domestic.” A high-level CPB port inspector with nearly 15 years of experience said Middle Eastern airlines get the “red carpet.”
Concerned CBP agents came forward about the unbelievable airport inspection protocol on the heels of a national newscast about food trucks driving through airport gates unchecked. The aircraft catering trucks are exempt from inspections for religious reasons, according to a former federal air marshal interviewed in the widely broadcast network segment. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which also operates under DHS, is responsible for inspecting the trucks but the agency gives out “special exemptions” to food trucks serving planes heading to the Middle East. The agent interviewed in the broadcast was ordered to stand back and a supervisor later told him that “religious rights” prohibited the U.S. government from conducting even an “open and look” check on the cargo entering the airport grounds.
The security crisis is hardly limited to the nation’s airports, according to federal agents on the frontline. DHS also pressures CBP inspectors at southern border checkpoints to expedite people who have obtained pre-approved clearance under a program called Secure Electronic Network for Traveler Rapid Inspection (SENTRI). It allows vetted U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to cross the border faster and with virtually no scrutiny, but agents say the system is not foolproof and candidates still need to be checked. In fact, CBP sources told Judicial Watch that huge loads of drugs have been confiscated from SENTRI border crossers randomly chosen for inspection by a government computer system known as Random Compliance Examination Program (COMPEX). Nevertheless, border agents get in trouble for delaying SENTRI crossers. “God forbid if you ask them a question or inspect their car,” said a CBP agent stationed at one of the nation’s busiest southern border crossings. “Management as well as the passenger become extremely upset—Leave them alone! What are you doing? They have SENTRI.”
Over the years, we have revealed how corporations don’t always have our best interests at heart when it comes to our national security. We’re either serious about this or we aren’t.
Two years after Donald Trump was elected president, we are still rooting out the corruption of the Obama administration and still gathering evidence that the former president’s claim of a scandal-free tenure was nothing more than mockery. From our Corruption Chronicles blog we see the most recently discovered disgrace:
In the latest scandal to rock the U.S. government’s international media networks, the Obama-appointed chief’s right hand man has pleaded guilty to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the government. The disgraced senior government official at the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), Haroon K. Ullah, admitted that he fraudulently obtained $40,000 in government funds by falsifying hotel invoices, fake taxi receipts and by billing Uncle Sam for personal travel.
“Additionally, Ullah admitted that he created a falsified letter from a real medical doctor purportedly claiming that Ullah needed to fly in business class at government expense because of a sore knee,” according to a Justice Department statement. “By submitting the forged letter from the doctor, Ullah fraudulently obtained costly business class upgrades at government expense, including on lengthy international flights. Ullah admitted to creating many of the false documents on his government-issued laptop computer.”
Ullah, who is described as an educator, scholar and diplomat, was handpicked by USAGM Chief John F. Lansing in 2017 to be the agency’s chief strategic officer. The author of a book called “Vying for Allah’s Vote,” Ullah oversaw several divisions at USAGM and was the key liaison charged with positioning the media networks within the broader U.S. government. As Lansing’s top assistant, “Ullah’s main responsibility was to lead USAGM to become a more strategically relevant agency within the national security, foreign affairs, internet censorship and global media spheres,” according to his biography on the agency’s website. Before getting recruited by Lansing, Ullah, a Harvard graduate, worked at the State Department. He recently pleaded guilty to theft of government money and faces up to a decade in prison, though it is unlikely he’ll serve that much time. Ullah is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
The senior USAGM official’s crimes mark the latest embarrassment for the taxpayer-funded media conglomerate which is comprised of five international networks—Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting. The media outlets get about $685 million a year from American taxpayers and reportedly reach 345 million people worldwide in 59 languages. The global media agency was created to counter disinformation spread by oppressive regimes abroad. The USAGM website states that its mission is “to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”
Under Lansing’s tenure USAGM has deviated from that mission repeatedly, making it difficult to understand why the Trump administration has not replaced him. Earlier this year Lansing utilized Stalinist techniques to retaliate against journalists behind a broadcast critical of leftwing billionaire George Soros. The Spanish-language segment aired in May 2018 on Television Martí and was available for months online. A scandal-plagued Democratic senator tried for bribery and corruption eventually heard about it and ordered Lansing to punish the employees responsible for the Soros broadcast. In an October 31, 2018 letter to Lansing, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez ordered an immediate investigation into the Soros broadcast as well as a broader audit and Lansing quickly obliged. A few years ago, Menendez was charged with federal bribery and corruption stemming from his relationship with a crooked south Florida eye doctor that lavished him with cash, gifts and trips in exchange for political favors.
At Menendez’s request Lansing took action, firing eight reporters and editors and ordering a review of all content to address “patterns of unethical, unprofessional, biased, or sub-standard journalism.” Ironically, a few weeks later Lansing proclaimed his support for “press freedom” as part of World Press Freedom Day.
In a dramatic and widely distributed statement, Lansing assured the world that his agency “will continue to report the truth,” though it cost USAGM journalists their jobs weeks earlier. The USAGM Soros broadcast accurately focused on his efforts to cripple sovereign governments in Latin America. Judicial Watch was cited as a source because it investigated State Department funding of Soros groups in Colombia and published a report on Soros’ initiatives to advance a radical globalist agenda in Guatemala.
This is supposed to be the agency that proclaims the truth about the United States to the world. How do you think that’s going?
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton