in Houston, Texas
Private contractor’s wide-ranging role in Mexico border security detailed
Friday, Mar 16, 2012, 05:38PM CST
By Mark Lisheron

We’re coming to end of Sunshine Week and someone forgot to tell the Texas Department of Public Safety they were invited to join in the festivities.

Accepting the invitation would have undoubtedly spoiled the excitement of secretly developing a plan for border security with a private firm led by a former U.S. Army general and billing taxpayers more than $19 million for it.

This according to a lengthy story by the Austin American-Statesman and an equally detailed story from earlier this week on AlterNet. (Thanks to Grits for Breakfast for bringing the AlterNet story to our attention and for calling for more accountability journalism in Texas.)

Not unlike the Patriot Act and double secret probation, smuggling Abrams Learning and Information Systems Inc. into the state from Virginia, handing them contracts that no one bid on and keeping the details of the deal hush-hush at DPS’ public meetings was done for our own protection.

People can get badly injured or killed knowing what their state government is doing. The Statesman was apparently willing to take that risk by revealing the DPS plan through documents the paper got through the Texas Public Information Act.

According to the documents, the department’s Division of Emergency Management used a little known codicil in the Faber College constitution, no, no, I mean the state’s policy allowing for all sorts of questionable conduct in the event of an emergency.

During the 2006 election year, the boss of the DPS, Gov. Rick Perry, made border security a campaign issue. The Division of Emergency Management made it an emergency.

Well, if you had to know, you might as well thank the former general, John Abrams, for shoring up our high tech border crime mapping, our joint intelligence, and our National Guard troop movements under our very noses.

What kind of code name is John Abrams?

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo 'Looking South at Sunset' in Brewster County, Texas, by flickr user Jon Wiley, used via a Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, 03/20/2012 - 08:44AM

This guy writes like he has an associate's degree from Faber.

Friday, 06/08/2012 - 06:23PM


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