Border as terror route worries U.S.
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Speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress that members of terrorist groups that intend to harm the country enter the U.S. through Mexico “from time to time,” confirming an inconvenient truth that many have been aware of for years.
During the July 25 hearing, Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) asked Napolitano: “As you know, Madam Secretary, there have been anecdotal reports about material evidence of the presence of terrorists along our southern border. My question is, is there any credible evidence that these reports are accurate and that terrorists are, in fact, crossing our southern border with the intent to do harm to the American people?”
With none of the assurance that one would hope the head of DHS would convey, Napolitano answered: “With respect, there have been — and the Ababziar matter would be one I would refer to that’s currently being adjudicated in the criminal courts — from time to time, and we are constantly working against different and evolving threats involving various terrorist groups and various ways they may seek to enter the country.”
She continued: “What I can tell you, however, is that that southern border–the U.S.-Mexico border–is heavily, heavily staffed at record amounts of manpower, materiel, infrastructure and the like, and we are constantly making sure we’re doing all we can to make that border as safe as possible.”
It’s difficult to determine how closing nine Border Patrol stations across four states, including six in Texas, is making the border “as safe as possible.” Or how the Obama administration’s decision to end program 27(g), which allowed local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law without assistance from federal agencies, is making the border “as safe as possible.”
Watch the video of the hearing via CNSNews here:
According to an audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2009, Customs and Border Protection reported “there were three individuals encountered by the Border Patrol at southwest border checkpoints who were identified as persons linked to terrorism.”
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In April 2010, CNSNews.com reported that FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, “In Detroit, Mahmoud Youssef Kourani was indicted in the Eastern District of Michigan on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to Hezbollah. … Kourani was already in custody for entering the country illegally through Mexico and was involved in fundraising activities on behalf of Hezbollah.”
Five years ago, in an August 2007 interview with the El Paso Times, then-Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell echoed what Napolitano told Congress last week about terrorist coming into the U.S. across the Mexican border.
“So, are terrorists coming across the Southwest border?” McConnell said in that interview. “Not in great numbers.”
“There are some cases?” asked the El Paso Times.
“There are some. And would they use it as a path, given it was available to them? In time they will,” said McConnell.
“If they’re successful at it, then they’ll probably repeat it,” asked the reporter.
“Sure,” said McConnell. “There were a significant number of Iraqis who came across last year. Smuggled across illegally.”
“Where was that?” asked the reporter.
“Across the Southwest border,” said McConnell.
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