Bordering On Danger
Michael Cutler, a former INS special agent, warns that our borders are wide open for another September 11-style attack.
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February 22, 2004

By Gina Salamone

When Michael Cutler, former senior special agent for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), passed the site of the World Trade Center last week, he started to cry.

Culter believes the attacks didn’t have to happen and blames both of the nation’s major political parties for not doing enough to safeguard the country against criminal aliens, he told members of the National Council of Jewish Women at the East Midwood Jewish Center last Tuesday.

“I was crying because I thought we could prevent this from happening after 1993 [previous WTC attack] and President Clinton did absolutely nothing but sit on his hands,” Cutler said.

Since his retirement, Cutler has testified as an expert witness at four congressional hearings on the enforcement of immigration laws. He has also testified before the presidential commission on the attacks of September 11.

“Here we are after 9-11— 3,000 horribly incinerated — and we’re still opening the front door and saying ‘come on down,’” Cutler said. “We stand on long lines while we wait to enter the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel as natives of Brooklyn while the police and other law enforcement authorities conduct searches allegedly to make us more secure.”

“If you’ve ever stood on those lines, you’ll notice that cars aren’t being inspected,” Cutler continued. “Has anyone heard of a car bomb? It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out how to secrete a bomb in the saddle tanks of those 18-wheelers. Is anybody looking in the tanks? I doubt it.”

The former INS agent said we are going through an illusory farce.

“So we wait on these long lines and we suck in truck fumes and we’re delayed in our travel, but God forbid we should slow the travel of aliens into our country who don’t even have an inherent right to be here,” Cuter said. “And we call this national security.”

Currently about 8 million people reside in New York City and it’s estimated that there are at least 8 million illegal aliens living in the United States today.

Cutler pointed out that recent mayors of New York like to say it’s the safest big city in the United States.

According to Cutler, the reason for that statistic is that there are 38,000 police officers, but only 2,000 immigration special agents to police the more than 8 million illegal aliens scattered across the country.

“What would happen to our crime rates in New York if tomorrow morning 36,000 police officers handed in their guns and badges,” Cutler asked. “How safe would we be? You wonder why we have a problem with illegal aliens.”

Cutler said there has been talk of putting more patrol agents on our borders. While he acknowledges they are needed, he compared border patrol to a game of hide and seek.

“The goal of the border patrol is to keep people from running the border,” Cutler said. “So imagine if Kings Highway was the border and we say ‘You can’t go north of Kings Highway.’ And you put a bunch of people there to block anyone trying to run north of Kings Highway. And if you catch them, you shove them two blocks south. What’s going to happen? You’re going to catch them and they’re going to go back. They will get past you. It’s inevitable.”

Cutler retired from the INS in 2002 after a 30-year career within the agency. He began in 1971 as an immigration inspector assigned to JFK International Airport. From 1973-1974, he worked as an examiner attempting to uncover fraud marriages and marriage rings.

In 1975, he became a criminal investigator special agent for the INS in New York City — rotating through almost every squad within the branch. His investigations involved everything from alien smuggling and large-scale fraud to apprehension of international terrorists from several nations.

In the 1980s, Cutler worked with former Senator Alfonse D’Amato to enhance the penalties for aliens deported after committing serious felonies and then caught re-entering the United States.

As a result, the penalty for such unlawful re-entry was increased from a two-year maximum to 20 years in prison.

With the backing of the senator, Cutler also contributed to a program requiring deportation hearings to be conducted in correctional facilities for aliens jailed for committing serious felonies.

When Cutler was promoted to senior special agent in 1991 and assigned to the organized crime drug enforcement task force, he worked with members of other law enforcement agencies including the FBI, US Customs and IRS.

Cutler said we have an administration that talks about waging war on terror, but fails to follow up with common sense measures.

The current visa-waiving program allows aliens from 28 different countries to enter the United States without visiting a US embassy or consulate.

Cutler was told that the those in the travel business don’t want these aliens to have to get visas, and that they have powerful influence over Washington.

“If I was in the travel industry, I’d be the guy screaming the loudest for visas because if there’s another attack and they use airplanes against us again, you’ll be able to turn runways into athletic fields because nobody is going to get on an airplane,” Cutler said.

When Cutler was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the unit did a study that found that in New York, 60% of those arrested by the DEA were identified as foreign-born. Nationwide, 30% were foreign-born.

He said there was a clear nexus in many cases between international terrorism and narcotics trafficking.

“Terrorists can’t accomplish their objectives without money,” Cutler said. “And they will do all sorts of crimes within our country to generate the money that they need to attack us, to attack Israel, to attack western Europe and we continue to be stupid.”

Cutler said people tell him we’re winning the war on terror since nothing has happened since September 11.

“There have been many terrorist attacks committed on our soil,” Cutler said. “The killing of Rabbi Meyer Kahane was a terrorist attack. The van with the yeshiva kids that was shot up at the Brooklyn Bridge was a terrorist attack. The guy they caught on the northwest border who wants to blow up LAX [Los Angeles International Airport] in his own distinctive way of celebrating the millennium would have been a terrorist attack. The prior Trade Center bombing, bombings at embassies, the downing of Pan Am [Flight] 103, the Arabs in Brooklyn who wanted to blow up a subway station — these are terrorist attacks.”

During the 1980s, Cutler worked with the NYPD and FDNY on several arson fires were committed in small grocery stores.

“These stores were bought by Arabs,” Cutler said. “They were doing coupon scams where they would grab the coupons in the Sunday paper and they would send them to General Mills and Kraft and all these companies and they got money back. And when they’d get tired of doing it, the way they got out of the business was they’d torch their stores in the middle of the night, take the insurance money and send it to that great man of peace, Yasser Arafat. And many of those fires resulted in people being burned and killed. I consider that a terrorist attack.”

Cutler said that it’s both Democrats and Republicans who are responsible for lax rules on alien entry.

“I really think that al-Qaeda, the Colombian cartel and the Russian mob — they should give our politicians the MVP award for being stupid,” Cutler said. “They should indict them as co-conspirators in terrorism committed against our country.”

The Brooklyn chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women hear from Michael Cutler, a retired Immigration agent warning of another impending terror attack.
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