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The Fight Comes (Closer to) Home

I spent a brief but memorable time in West Texas many years ago. Unlike a lot of my cohorts I never made a weekend trip south of the border; in part because I’m not all that interested in donkey shows, and because I had a bad experience with tequila once that haunts me to this day.

I hadn’t given much thought to Texas since then, but that changed as I was listening to Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr. on the radio this morning describing four suspected terror training camps just south of his jurisdiction and across the border in Mexico. Now in this case “terror training camp” is more like “violent criminal training camp” since it is reportedly run by renegade ex-Mex-Army troops who are training gang members to be come more violent and skilled in illicit trades, but you can see why someone might have concerns.

This comes on the heels of a story about a fake US passport ring was busted in Colombia that reportedly had ties to al-Qaida and Hamas.

Finally, a story about a 2,400’ tunnel from Mexico to the US that was designed to smuggle dope, but could just as easily be a conduit for people or weapons of various make, model, size, construction, etc.

I’ve already pointed out that most folks don’t have a problem with Uncle Sam using his intelligence apparatus to try and root out terrorists or their supporters located in the US. If anything this latest batch of news should point out the need for more (or at least more capable) domestic intelligence efforts. Training camps for bad guys are not a Middle Eastern problem anymore, and the Great Wall of Rio Grande is working about as well as the original Great Wall. As long as we continue to view intelligence through “foreign” and “domestic” lenses, we will continue to hamstring those at the tip of the spear.

Captain Ed has more at CQ.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.