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According to a CNN television news report that I just heard, Robert Bonner has just resigned as head of the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) arm of Homeland Security.

(I didn't see a diary about this in a search, but apologize and will delete if there is already one.)

This is clearly not a good week for Bush.

Mr. Bonner's bonafides:

Robert Bonner

CNN was expressing some incredulity about his resignation, speculating that it must be a sign of extreme frustration because Mr. Bonner had been "extremely loyal."   Apparently, a "lack of resources" appears to be at least a large part of his unhappiness.

But it may also be simply because DHS is increasingly being shown to be one giant cluster-you-know-what under Dubbya, its incompetence now known as legion.  

So one can speculate:  Is he quitting because of an upcoming scandal about yet even more incompetence/money squandering? Simply sick and tired of being sick and tired of being in charge of the redheaded stepchild of DHS, an agency that is now imploding with three of its top 4 positions now vacant? Simply one of the first of what may be many rats jumping off the sinking ship of the Bush Administration Part Deux?

Who knows?

Originally posted to Maat's Feather on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 03:59 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The rats are definitely jumping off the ship (none)
    Wouldn't you?  I suspect that many folks in Bushco have started sprucing up their resumes in the past few weeks.

    I am also quite confident that there are many other potential scandals bubbling under the surface in Bushco.  How many of those scandals will rise above the surface is hard to say.  But with DeLay, Frist and Rove all being touched by scandal now, I'm sure the underlings are figuring 1. They will try to sacrifice the small fry to protect the big fish, so I'm outta here before they scapegoat me; and/or 2. If these three aren't safe, nobody is.

  •  Looks Like He Just Got Fed Up (none)
    Bonner's resume looks pretty good.  Georgetown University, U.S. Attorney, Federal Judge ect.  This may be a case of a competent manager simply fed up with all the neo-con bullshit.
  •  According to his resume`, (none)
    Mr. Bonner appears to have been well qualified for his job.  How on earth did he get it?

    I suspect he's leaving because of an integrity attack, or that he thinks continued association with the Bush II administration would sully his reputation - the Colin Powell effect.  

    On the other hand, maybe he's taking a cannonball jump into one of Scrooge McDuck's money-filled swimming pools.  Let's see where he works next.  

  •  Federal Computer Week article (none)
    here details Bonner's major initiatives in office:

    • The Container Security Initiative (prescreening at foreign ports). "It also identifies high-risk containers using a targeting system that analyzes electronic data, makes extensive use of X-ray and gamma technology and radiation-detection devices."

    • A test program with radio frequency identification tags.  

    • The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a "voluntary partnership with industry," which, er, reduces inspections.

    • Automated Commercial Environment program, "an import and export trade processing system," whatever the hell that is.
    The article also says this:
    According to the Los Angeles Times, Bonner, a former federal judge and former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said he is considering returning to the Los Angeles law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, where he once supervised major white-collar crime investigations.

    P.S.:  Who knew something called "Federal Computer Week" existed?

    P.P.S.:  The DHS bio you link to says the "CBP is comprised of 35,000 federal employees, which includes 17,000 inspectors and canine enforcement officers."  Are some of them 17,000 officers actual doggies?

  •  Impotence is such a sad... (none)
    ...oh what was that...Bonner with two ns?

    ...never mind!

    "Wonderful things can happen ... when you plant the seeds of distrust in a garden of Assholes" -- Elmore Leonard

    by Blue Shark on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 04:27:48 PM PDT

  •  Hmm... (none)
    Maybe this is so Customs and Border Protection can be merged with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and then the unqualified Julie Myers (who happens to be Richard Myers' niece and who also happens to be married to Michael Chertoff's chief of staff) can be the head of both.
  •  Another interesting DHS departure today (none)
    From another story at FCW:

    Nuala O'Connor Kelly, the first chief privacy officer at the Homeland Security Department, announced today that she is leaving her position.

    Kelly is responsible for ensuring that new and existing technologies that DHS uses to protect the country do not infringe on individuals' privacy.

    "Kelly has done a commendable job as Homeland Security's first chief privacy officer considering the limited independence of the job as it was created by Congress," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Project.

    DHS should not use her departure as an excuse to weaken the position or leave it unfilled for a long time, said Timothy Sparapani, legislative counsel for the ACLU. Instead, the department should strengthen the position and make it report directly to Congress instead of the department's secretary, he said.

    Hmm.  Article says Kelly's headed for "the private sector," gave notice to Chertoff earlier this month, and the department hasn't yet started a formal search to replace her.

  •  Mixed reviews from union, report-writer (none)
    From Federal Times:

    "Good riddance," said Charles Showalter, president of the American Federation of Government Employee's National Homeland Security Council, a union that represents 108,000 bargaining unit employees at Homeland Security. "Mr. Bonner has not done a very good job of looking after employees and supporting them in getting their missions done."

    Showalter pointed to the One Face at the Border initiative, which brought officers from the former Customs Service, Agriculture Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service together to guard borders. The program was intended to train CBP officers to be familiar with the responsibilities of inspectors looking for illegal immigrants, drugs or other contraband, or pests or other agricultural substances.

    But Showalter said combining those three areas "watered down" the skills officers need to properly conduct each of those searches and has meant the best officers aren't where they are needed.

    "One Face at the Border is universally decried by employees," Showalter said.

    Former Rep. Jim Turner, D-Texas, wrote a September 2004 report that said CBP officers are forced to master too many laws, rules and regulations to do their job adequately. CBP officers have become "generalists," lacking essential language skills and other specific knowledge, Turner wrote.

    Turner, now a partner with the law firm Arnold and Porter LLP in Washington, said Sept. 28 that Bonner did a good job running an underfunded agency. He said CBP has improved since its rocky merger, and he credited Bonner's leadership.

  •  DHS Is A Mess (none)
    You begin to wonder whether Secretary Chertoff is part of the problem here.  The President is supposed to nominate a Chief Financial Officer for DHS under the provisions of the DHS Financial Accountability Act, but, apparently, President Bush likes having an unqualified CFO at DHS with no audit or public accounting experience running a $40 billion department (without counting the expenditures for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita).
  •  DEAWatch on Bonner resignation (none)
    DEAWatch is a watercooler site run by retired agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Bonner bails... again:

    Word on the street... Once again Boob (not misspelled) Bonner, former, disgraced DEA Administrator, is quitting another fed LE appointment in shame.

    Bonner all but destroyed BP just as he all but ruined our agency. Unfortunately, though we were able to force Bonner to resign after he misused DEA travel for personal reasons we have yet been able to convince Congress that Tandy committed an equal offense when she caused American taxpayers to fund her first-class vacation travel last year.

    I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or yours.

    by ben masel on Wed Sep 28, 2005 at 07:14:34 PM PDT

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