Ken Leighton 2:46 p.m., Oct. 15
Pondering the Fate of Alan Bersin and Obama's Border Policy
A post today on Security Debrief, a website produced by Adfero Group and the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, points out that "barring an unanticipated miracle" the appointment of Point Loma's Alan Bersin as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection runs out a little more than two weeks from now.
In the item, writer David Olive, a principal of Catalyst Partners, a Washington D.C. based lobbying outfit specializing in homeland security issues that has represented SAIC among other defense giants, praises the San Diego Democrat for "the excellent job he did in reaching out to private sector stakeholders," then proceeds to say:
"Nevertheless, since it does not appear that Bersin’s nomination is going to be approved by the Senate, reportedly due to the objection of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) who is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, one would have thought DHS or the White House would have announced by now the plan for filling the position once Bersin leaves."
"One need only think about the circumstances of Christmas Day 2009, when Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down an airplane by lighting explosives in his underwear, to understand why having a CBP Commissioner in place is necessary.
"Until DHS or the White House make their plans for Bersin’s replacement, even on an acting basis, clear and unequivocal, one wonders whether they even care about who leads this vital organization.
"If they do care, their silence is sending a disturbing message to CBP’s employees, partners and stakeholders."
During his varied tenures as U.S. Attorney in San Diego, superintendent of San Diego city schools, member of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, and now U.S. customs chief, Bersin has long been a magnet for controversy.
His confirmation hearing by the Senate's Finance committee faced repeated delays and rumors of personal financial disclosure issues, forcing the president to name Bersin to the customs job as a time-limited co-called recess appointment in March of last year.
Subsequently, the Finance committee took testimony from Bersin, who was forced to admit he had made mistakes in accounting for his domestic help.
Bersin has also come under fire of late for failing to deal with lengthy customs waits at Los Angeles International Airport.