The Washington Post reports today that Prince William County Police Chief Charles Deane has met with “nearly a dozen” foreign government officials since last June when the county’s Rule of Law Resolution was being discussed, confirming reports that I’ve received this week. The Post fails to mention that never were our elected officials informed about these meetings, many of which occurred at the same time the police department was determining what actions they would take to implement the Rule of Law Resolution that unanimously passed the Board on July 10th. Although Deane is quoted in the article as saying that no one objected to these meetings, he never informed the Board that he would be conducting them, making it impossible for them to object.
No one seems to have been aware that these meetings were happening, which certainly would have raised eyebrows particularly in that they have every appearance of an effort by foreign governments to influence the implementation plan for the Rule of Law Resolution during the 90 day period during which it was drafted. It is entirely inappropriate for the governments of Mexico, El Salvador, and other Central American nations to attempt to influence public policy and the implementation of public policy in Prince William County, and absolutely outrageous that Chief Deane would not only allow this to happen but hide from our elected officials the fact that this was going on. What possible benefit would it be for foreign governments to breach diplomatic protocols and inject themselves into the sovereign affairs of a locality in a deliberate attempt to subvert the democratic process?
Deane continues to hold that this is no big deal. In addition to possibly being a violation of the Logan Act, this could also put in jeopardy Deane’s ability to participate in regional Homeland Security initiatives. Since 9-11, it has been common for the chief law enforcement officers to be granted a security clearance in order to receive briefings and information from the Department of Homeland Security about potential terrorist threats. Those who hold security clearances are required to report contacts with agents of any foreign government to their sponsoring agency in order to track potential foreign espionage efforts and assess the ongoing suitability of a clearance holder to receive classified information. If Deane was given a security clearance, and failed to report these contacts with agents of foreign governments to the sponsoring agency, just as he failed to report these contacts to his superiors in the Prince William County Government, this would be serious grounds for a revocation of that clearance and a permanent exclusion of the Chief from access to any further classified information. If Deane’s ability to receive critical national security information regarding potential terrorist threats to our county is revoked, it makes it extremely difficult for him to effectively perform his job.
Chief Deane continues his refusal to disclose the specifics of these meetings with foreign agents to our elected officials and the citizens of Prince William County. We don’t know the full details of who Deane met with, when these meetings occurred, what happened at these meetings, nor whether Deane sought any authorization to conduct these meetings. The secrecy that surrounds all of this, and the disturbing strong potential that the enforcement plan for the Rule of Law Resolution may have been influenced by foreign governments that are hostile to our efforts to combat illegal immigration in Prince William County make it even more imperative that Deane provide a full accounting of his activities involving foreign governments. The citizens have the right to know whether our public officials have been compromised in their official duties by foreign agents.
As the full story about this outrageous behavior slowly gets exposed, it hopefully will cause Supervisors who have been so eager to come to Deane’s defense to start realizing that the instant immunity they are trying to provide him with is reckless and irresponsible. The Board of Supervisors needs to know what our public officials have been doing before they grant their approval, and rubber-stamping these actions without knowing what the facts are creates an environment where our public officials can assume that no matter how wrongful their actions are, the Board will never hold them accountable. Our public officials have quite clearly been given a very long leash by the Board of Supervisors, and instead of dropping that leash the Board of Supervisors would be well advised to think about whether their lack of effective oversight is serving the public interest. So far it’s clear that oversight has allowed foreign governments an opportunity to subvert our democratic process, and ultimately the responsibility for that outrage falls upon the Board of County Supervisors.
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