PHOENIX, April 24, 2015 – Agencies of the federal government continue to earn the trust and admiration of the American people every day.
Well, that’s not completely true. To be totally honest, it’s not even remotely true. Let’s put it this way, if the Internal Revenue Service or the Veterans Administration were college fraternities, they would be on double secret probation. Yet they are hardly alone in the annals of federal agencies.
Here are a some recent examples of government versions of toga parties.
First, I’m not opposed to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents enjoying their work. However, some agents were enjoying their work a little too much. Second, when I think of TSA agents playing games, bridge, pinochle or even poker come to mind. These were not the games some TSA agents were playing.
In what has been dubbed the “groping conspiracy,” two TSA agents have been fired for being involved in the groping of male passengers at Denver International Airport. As I understand it, a female agent would alert a male agent when an attractive male (attractive to the male agent, that is) approached for security screening. The male agent would then perform the physical version of what Lois Lerner’s IRS division did metaphorically to conservative organizations.
It’s not clear if the male agent was searching for (bad pun alert) a pair or a straight flush. Regardless, stopping potential terrorists apparently was not on his agenda.
A former TSA agent recently wrote in Time Magazine, “There are far too many federal hands on people’s private parts in airports.” Vice President Joe Biden no doubt said to himself, “What is he even talking about? I haven’t been in a commercial airport in years.”
Naturally, TSA administrators are concerned about the black eye this gives the agency. That only male agents were targeted for groping is a clear case of profiling, which is strictly prohibited. So, going forward, the TSA will make sure that fliers of every age, ethnicity, gender (that will be hard to keep track of since there are so many more than there used to be), and religious affiliation will be groped equally.
Next, we have the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). As its name suggests, it’s supposed to enforce drug laws and stop drug trafficking. Yet, revelations surfaced recently of DEA agents’ having sex in Colombia with prostitutes paid for by local drug cartels. This apparently has gone on for years.
On the bright side, we could laud the DEA agents for not trying to expense their dalliances with prostitutes on their accounts. Always thinking of the American taxpayer, I guess. And, with the Colombian drug cartels paying for the prostitutes, I guess you could say the same for them too.
But, lest we be too critical, the agents did have local police guarding their weapons and other personal belongings. Besides, some of the agents claimed, they were just partaking in the local customs. Well, if you put it that way!
And there is probably no truth to the rumor that some of them hoped to turn their experiences into a country music song or a TV movie on the Hallmark Channel.
Fortunately, the agents involved were severely reprimanded – with suspensions for up to 10 days. Ten days! Oh, the humanity! No word on whether they were also forced to go to bed without torta negra (black cake), a popular dessert in Colombia. I hear that it’s not a birthday party, wedding, anniversary or any other special event without some torta negra. Evidently, the DEA supervisors didn’t deem these rendezvous too “special” or the agents might have been really been disciplined, like forcing them to binge watch episodes of “The Price Is Right.”
And that Attorney General Eric Holder had to issue an official memo to DEA field agents to not have sex with prostitutes – especially those provided by drug cartels, perhaps tells us all how things have deteriorated with the DEA. (Feel free to insert your own Bill Clinton joke here.)
Last, we learned that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may have wasted up to $41 million over the past few years transporting illegal immigrants hither and yonder. A national commercial airline touts as one of its advantages that “bags fly free.” That may be true, but illegal immigrants apparently do not.
Remember when the IRS wanted to know everything about the conservative groups it was targeting, including what books they were reading? Well, ICE couldn’t even record some basic information about the illegal immigrants it was transporting. For example, ICE records show that the gender category included “none” and “30” for some of the entries. Even with all of the gender possibilities these days, I’m not sure “none” is really an option.
Then there were plenty of cases where ICE flew the same illegal detainees to and from multiple cities over the span of a few days. In one instance, a detainee was flown from an unknown city to Denver, then to El Paso four days later, then to Phoenix two days after that, then back to Denver and one more time to El Paso. That detainee now has enough frequent flyer miles to fly to Paris and back, with a stop in New York City to take in a Yankees game. And he probably will too. (I’m only assuming the detainee is male; he could be a “30” or a “none.”)
Why all of the travel to and from cities for illegal immigrants? The most precise answer from ICE is essentially, “We don’t exactly know.” Its record keeping and data collection is worse than that of the Crusaders in the 12th century and even worse than my own record-keeping for business income tax purposes. (Now, where are those liquor store receipts? For business “entertainment” purposes, of course.)
Since this disclosure, ICE management has decided it ought to have a policy for its air operations. That’s awfully decent of it, I think, except that it seems like the proverbial closing of the barn door after the horse has run away. I mean, capturing and detaining illegal immigrants is hardly a priority of the federal government anymore.
As American citizens we can feel comfort in knowing that, when TSA agents aren’t groping passengers, DEA agents aren’t cavorting with prostitutes and ICE agents aren’t taking buddy flights with Illegal immigrants in tow, they could occasionally find time to stop terrorists, drug traffickers and illegal immigrants.