27 Aug 2013
THEY’RE COMIN’ TA GIT YA – When Sen. John McCain spoke during an Armed Services Committee hearing last year on security issues in the Western Hemisphere, he relayed a stark warning about the spread of Mexican drug cartels in the United States.
“The cartels,” the Arizona Republican said, “now maintain a presence in over 1,000 cities.”
McCain based his remarks on a report by a now-defunct division of the Justice Department, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), which had concluded in 2011 that Mexican criminal organizations, including seven major drug cartels, were operating in more than 1,000 U.S. cities.
But the number, widely reported by news organizations across the country, is misleading at best, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and drug policy analysts interviewed by The Washington Post. They said the number is inflated because it relied heavily on self-reporting by law enforcement agencies, not on documented criminal cases involving Mexican drug-trafficking organizations and cartels.
The Post interviewed local police officials in more than a dozen cities who said they were surprised to learn that the federal government had documented cartel-related activity in their communities.
I don’t know about you but I am shocked to learn that the government is exaggerating statistics on drugs, gangs and people from south of the border. Why do you suppose they would do that?
The good news is that the Department of Justice’s National Drug Intelligence Center was closed by the Obama administration in 2012. And it was met with much caterwauling by certain people on the right:
Mexican cartel violence is at an all-time high along the increasingly porous southern border yet the Obama Administration has shut down a critical intelligence agency dedicated to identifying, tracking and severing the nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism.
It’s a senseless move, which is why it was done very quietly. The only real way to discover that the Justice Department’s 19-year-old National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) has been closed is by trying to visit its website. It simply says that on June 15, 2012, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) closed. The public is redirected to another website with “historical materials, an archived version of the NDIC.”
The move is baffling considering the agency’s crucial mission. Consider this; just a few years ago an NDIC task force uncovered that Mexican drug cartels are buying arms from radical Islamic terrorists and that they team up to distribute narcotics in Europe and the Middle East. The NDIC report that revealed this identifies terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Palestine Liberation Organization as Arab associates of Mexican drug-trafficking cartels. All are officially designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. Department of State.
The bad news is that while it was closed, its functions were transferred to the DEA which has a huge vested interest in keeping up the “Mexican cartel” fear-mongering. Still, I think it’s a good thing to disband as many drug war operations as possible, especially one’s that have the words “intelligence” in the titles. That’s the sort of thing that leads to threat conflation and unconstitutional domestic spying. We wouldn’t want that, would we?