The Senate confirmed Gil Kerlikowske to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection, allowing the White House “drug czar” to take on his new post overseeing the Border Patrol, the Los Angeles Times reports. Kerlikowske came to the White House as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the job commonly known as “drug czar,” after serving as chief of police in Seattle from 2001 to 2009. He will take over an organization under fire on several fronts, including secrecy surrounding incidents in which agents shot people suspected of throwing rocks at them from the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Legislators have criticized Customs and Border Protection officials for not fully disclosing when border agents are allowed to use deadly force, and what disciplinary actions, if any, have been taken against agents who violated existing policies. In his confirmation hearing Jan. 15, Kerlikowske promised that if confirmed he would make the agency more transparent. “I have not been in a law enforcement agency in which the specifics of the use of force were not made available … to the general public, and I would work very hard to see that that is done” with the Border Patrol, Kerlikowske said.