As If It Weren't Obvious Already...

by Conor Friedersdorf

If you're one of the Americans who thinks that controlling our southern border is a must -- that the potential for smuggling terrorists or their weapons imperils our national security -- perhaps you should join me in diagnosing everyone who wants to keep waging the War on Drugs as part of the problem.

Cue a New York Times story that answers the question, "What happens when you create a hugely lucrative black market in illicit substances?"

The answer:

Mexican traffickers facing beefed-up security on the border that now includes miles of new fencing, floodlights, drones, motion sensors and cameras have stepped up their efforts to corrupt the border police.

They research potential targets, anticorruption investigators said, exploiting the cross-border clans and relationships that define the region, offering money, sex, whatever it takes. But, with the border police in the midst of a hiring boom, law enforcement officers believe that traffickers are pulling out the stops, even soliciting some of their own operatives to apply for jobs.

“In some ways,” said Keith Slotter, the agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s San Diego office, “it’s like the old spy game between the old Soviet Union and the U.S. trying to compromise each other’s spies.”

James Tomsheck, the assistant commissioner for internal affairs at Customs and Border Protection, and other investigators said they had seen many signs that the drug organizations were making a concerted effort to infiltrate the ranks.

“We are very concerned,” Mr. Tomsheck said. “There have been verifiable instances where people were directed to C.B.P. to apply for positions only for the purpose of enhancing the goals of criminal organizations. They had been selected because they had no criminal record; a background investigation would not develop derogatory information.”

Perhaps it isn't worth keeping drugs illegal if the cost is the corruption of our border agents, murderous turf wars in our cities, billions of dollars spent jailing non-violent offenders, children of non-violent offenders growing up without their parents, the rise of paramilitary drug cartels destabilizing multiple Latin American countries and capable at any moment of using their smuggling channels to help terrorists, no-knock raids in American neighborhoods that regularly terrify innocents and sometimes kill them, and addicts who overdose more than they would if dosage and quality were controlled.

Gary Johnson, it's time to run for president.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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