Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2003 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Michelle Malkin

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Consumer Reports

Who's guarding our military equipment?



http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | On Oct. 3, an illegal alien truck driver from Canada was caught hauling a shipment of Humvees into northern Maine. They weren't just any Humvees. They were U.S. military Humvees scheduled for delivery from the Texas Army National Guard in Houston to the Maine National Guard facility in Limestone.

Well, why not? If we're going to allow "undocumented" workers into the U.S. military, we might as well let "unauthorized" foreign truckers deliver our Army vehicles, ammunition, and other vital equipment, too.

According to a Department of Homeland Security intelligence report I obtained, Raymond Levesque was driving northbound along the I-95 near Houlton, Maine when he was stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Thank heavens they're doing their jobs. The agents arrested Levesque for working illegally in the U.S. Levesque said he has been operating as a truck driver in the U.S. for 15 years. He was freed on his own recognizance from the Fort Fairfield Border Patrol station in Maine pending an immigration hearing. (Catch and release is still the order of the day.)

The investigative agents keenly noted that, "taken as an isolated incident, the violation concerning Levesque could be of minor interest, however a possible terrorism nexus here is clear…There are at any given time several hundred military vehicles on site and security is non-existent. The fact that undocumented foreign nationals are illegally transporting this equipment throughout the U.S. with access to the Limestone facility and other military facilities also would seem to pose a threat."

Alain Normand Transport, the Quebec-based firm which contracted out to Levesque, is not even bonded for U.S. military shipments. Rachel Gagnon, a company dispatcher, explained that she learned about the military load from an American freight broker who put out a bid on the Internet. "Nobody said we couldn't do this," Gagnon told me.

The U.S. Army's Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), which is responsible for contracting out surface transportation of military arms, ammunition, explosives, vehicles, and other motorized equipment, refuses to comment on what steps it takes to screen out frauds, felons, or potential terrorists. "We work very closely with commercial carriers, and all defense transportation partners to ensure the safety and security of all of our shipments," MTMC public affairs officer Corenthia Libby informed me last week. "To safeguard these operational security measures I will not elaborate on the details."

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One person who did talk openly about lax security measures involving the shipment of motorized U.S. military equipment is Gary Cleaves, general manager of the Maine National Guard maintenance center. The facility refurbishes and ships military Humvees and M109 mobile howitzers. Those howitzers, resembling large tanks, are capable of delivering nerve gas rounds and nuclear munitions.

Cleaves told investigators that no identification is required from drivers dropping off shipments at the National Guard site. The trucking company name and truck numbers on government bills of lading often do not match the trucks actually delivering loads. And no records are kept on who actually delivers shipments.

This is not the first time suspicious foreign nationals have been caught around the Maine National Guard site. In June, according to the Border Patrol, a Humvee was stolen from the Limestone facility. While searching for the missing vehicle, agents apprehended a Russian illegal alien nearby. He had a valid New York State commercial driver's license allowing him to haul hazardous materials and a pass that granted him access to sea ports along the East Coast — including high-level security bonded customs areas. Also this summer, two other Russian nationals, dressed in military battle dress uniforms, were stopped by Canadian authorities as they attempted to enter the U.S. at an unguarded crossing approximately 20 miles south of Limestone.

The open-borders crowd will shrug this off as another case of an innocent "undocumented worker" just doing a job that "no one else will do." Why bother going after Levesque? He was just trying to "put food on the table." According to House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, we shouldn't have our immigration law enforcement officers "terrorizing" and "terrifying" illegal alien workers.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Lock up the Border Patrol "terrorists," let the immigration outlaws loose, and hand over our Army Humvees and howitzers to whoever trucks across the border first. Homeland security, here we come.

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JWR contributor Michelle Malkin is the author of, most recently, "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores". To comment, please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate