The Candelaria Kidnappings: Why All The Secrecy?


December 08, 2003

By  Jon E. Dougherty

If a foreign invader crossed into the United States and committed a crime, threatened U.S. citizens and law enforcement, or planned other mischief, don`t the American people have a right to know about it? Furthermore, shouldn`t a documented foreign incursion invoke as serious a threat of retaliation from American leaders as, say, an Arab nation only suspected of aiding anti-U.S. terrorists? If such incursions have happened hundreds of times per year for several years—without evoking a U.S. response—would that kind of inaction qualify as the patience of Job or excessive negligence and dereliction of duty?

If you`re like most Americans, you feel you not only have a right to know about these incidents, you expect and demand your government expend whatever resources are necessary to ensure these incidents cease immediately—and if not, the violating country warned it will pay dire consequences.

On the other hand, if you`re a tenured manager at a federal law enforcement agency who works for the gargantuan corporation known as the U.S. government, Americans don`t have a right to know about such incidents, and are foolish to expect Uncle Sam to defend his borders and his constituents.

I was alone in reporting last week that, based on key and reliable sources, a squad of Mexican soldiers or paramilitary police crossed the U.S. border near Candelaria, Texas, about 170 miles southeast of El Paso, on Nov. 24 and kidnapped at gunpoint an entire family, then brought them back to Mexico. The validity of the story became clear when it was verified by local law enforcement officials, the U.S. Border Patrol and the FBI—information I included in a pair of news reports describing what happened. [Kidnapping in Candelaria, December 5, 2003, WorldNetDaily.com]

Within hours most of the five-member family—the mother and three minor children—were released, and local officials were notified. But Mexican authorities continued to hold the father for several more days, finally letting him go several days later.

It was obvious from the start no one in authority wanted to discuss this incident. The locals pushed me off on the FBI, which pushed me off on the Border Patrol, which tried to push me off on the FBI and local authorities again. Along the way, I managed to pry a few details about the incident from agency spokesmen.

Now, government agencies passing the buck is nothing new. But border intrusions by armed foreign military or paramilitary units is a serious international incident. This should not have been a “pass the buck” story.

To their credit the federal agencies did at least verify the incident. But each provided few other details; no one wanted to volunteer much of anything, except the phone number of the next agency “that was really handling the investigation.” One spokesman deflected my questions by suggesting the family might not be American but instead was Mexican—as if nationality were the issue instead of border integrity. Does it matter if the family is from the U.S. or from Botswana? The fact is, they were physically standing on American soil—reports said they were shooting at rabbits—when they were kidnapped by a foreign force.

Worse, there was little other coverage of this incident. To my knowledge, no other national news agencies, save NewsMax and WorldNetDaily, picked up the story, so to this day, most Americans are still in the dark about it.

Now I hear the bureaucratic masters are upset the story was broken in the first place. I hear they want someone`s head on a plate for leaking the incident to the press.

In other words, they`re upset that American citizens—the same people who pay their salaries—were told about this horrendous incident, which—again—occurred on American soil.

Officially, authorities told me, agencies are still investigating what happened because the details aren`t clear.

But according to details as they were related to me, indeed it is very clear what happened—for some reason, Mexican authorities crossed our recognized international border and abducted a family on U.S. soil, then took them back across the border—at gunpoint—before eventually releasing them.

Those facts were not disputed.

If what was reported was incorrect, however, doesn`t the government have a responsibility to step up to the plate and inform the American people what happened?

What is going on along the border is a scandal. I have been there; I have seen the vast illegal alien-created trash wastelands, the poorly constructed border fences (where they exist at all), the squads of armed Mexican soldiers, who patrol their own border mere feet away from the U.S.

On the American side, the border is inadequately protected. It is violated with regularlity, and with impunity, by Mexican nationals, troops, and police, as well as persons of “OTM”—“other than Mexican”—backgrounds and nationalities.

In short, the border is a national security disaster waiting to explode. 

To stem this tide, there are too few border agents and others assigned to protect and defend the U.S. Those who are there are largely dedicated, but they are outmanned (and at times outgunned). There are too many bureaucratic behinds rounded by years of sitting at a desk writing insane policies and regulations that essentially prohibit these fine agents (and other immigration-related federal employees) from doing the jobs they were hired to do.

And, when incursions do occur, there are too many corporate government managers assigned to make sure nobody finds out about them.

Except this time. The American people did find out. And Uncle Sam is looking to punish one of his own for it.

Is there ever a legitimate reason for a government to allow foreign forces to violate its borders? I`m guess no, but if there is, Washington needs to explain it to the American people.

The Bush Administration is going out of its way to defend sending 130,000 soldiers to fight in Iraq, despite a lack of evidence for the ostensible justification for invasion. Yet the Administration is faced daily with violations of U.S. borders—and rather deploy our armed forces here, the Administration wants to hide it.

Secrecy on the border isn`t the same as security. Why, then, is secrecy the priority?

Jon E. Dougherty [email him] is author of the upcoming book, Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border,”  published by WND Books, a division of Thomas Nelson.