(CNSNews.com) - There is a “national security crisis” along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, head of Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ), told lawmakers on Thursday.
Nevertheless, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said that the southwest border is “as secure now as it has ever been” due to the Obama administration efforts.
“I reiterate my willingness to work with Congress generally and with this committee more specifically to address the public safety and national security crisis along our southwest border that has taken far too many lives,” said Holder during a contentious hearing on the botched gun-running Operation Fast and Furious held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Earlier this week, during her State of America’s Homeland Security address from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Napolitano said, “The Obama administration has undertaken the most serious and sustained actions to secure our borders in our nation’s history, and it is clear from every measure we currently have that this approach is working.”
The latest Drug Threat Assessment from DOJ conceded that Mexican criminals “control access to the U.S.-Mexico border” and the “smuggling routes across” it, “resulting in unprecedented levels of violence in Mexico” and allowing those drug trafficking organizations and their associates to “dominate the supply and wholesale distribution of most illicit drugs in the United States.”
On the Mexican side of the border, almost 50,000 people have died since Mexican President Felipe Calderon started a war against narco-traffickers in December 2006.
Operation Fast and Furious was headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), a component of the DOJ. It involved ATF knowingly allowing almost 2,000 weapons to walk into the hands of Mexican criminals with the intention of tracing the weapons to build cases. However, ATF lost track of the firearms.
One of the Fast and Furious weapons has been linked to the December 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.