Homeland Insecurity

by Colin Berkshire

The Department of Homeland Security is probably the wrong name. This should come as no surprise.

An employee of ours needed to renew their passport. In the process they had their iPad stolen.

Now, the employee knew within a 5 minute time period when the iPad was stolen. And, it was stolen from a counter at the passport office. There is a camera directly above this counter. And, there are 14 other cameras with a view of the counter.

If this wasn’t enough, there were four HomeLand Security security guards in the room, which was perhaps 1,000 square feet.

Oh, and everybody who walks up to that counter presents ID and does a transaction.

So let me recap the situation:

  1. An iPad was stolen. We know the time, and there are 15 different cameras with a view of the location. One camera was 5 feet away. There are four homeland security guards on duty in this room.
    Everybody in the room is known. The thief would have been the next person to go to the counter after the iPad owner left. That thief would have presented identification.
  2. I don’t think a simpler-to-solve crime is possible. We can identify the thief. We have cameras recording the incident from a multitude of angles.

Oh, one more thing: The thief would be coming back to the counter to pick up their passport in about 5 hours. This is a rush counter for same-day pickup. So we have the theft, the evidence, cameras, and the thief is going to walk back. Plus, we know their name.

I am sure you can already guess what happened:

Homeland Security couldn’t have had less interest in this incident. The four security guards couldn’t be bothered to take down the iPad owner’s name or phone number. They couldn’t be bothered to look at the video recordings. And, because of “privacy concerns” they would not ask the counter representative who did the very next transaction.

The employee escalated the matter, demanding that a supervisor be called. Eventually, that supervisor’s manager was called. And, on our end the matter was escalated to me.

For me it was exciting. Here we had a thief absolutely trapped. I had the chain of command to the point of a manager who should be able to motivate his staff to catch the thief. This should be an open and shut case.

The best answer I could get was “we’ll see what we can do.”

And, nothing was done. Nothing at all.

The employee went back to collect their passport. The security people acted like they didn’t even recognize her. She went to them and inquired. They had heard nothing from the manager. Because of “privacy concerns” they could not look at the video recordings.

It’s just amazing how dysfunctional Homeland Security is. Worthless. Inept. And, ethically bankrupt.