Oblivious to Terror Threat

Oblivious to Terror Threat

The White House is disturbingly oblivious to the growing terrorist threat that is growing exponentially.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) recently outlined the issue. He noted that the White House is “deaf, dumb and blind to the national security threats we face. Whether it is the collapse of Afghanistan where the Taliban now reigns or a completely broken southern border that could be easily penetrated by international terrorists, the Biden Administration is failing.”

The U.S. Office of the Inspector General found that “After meeting with more than 130 individuals from the Department of Homeland Security, we determined DHS encountered obstacles to screen, vet, and inspect all Afghan evacuees arriving as part of Operation Allies Refuge (OAR)/Operation Allies Welcome (OAW). Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not always have critical data to properly screen, vet, or inspect the evacuees. We determined some information used to vet evacuees through U.S. Government databases, such as name, date of birth, identification number, and travel document data, was inaccurate, incomplete, or missing. We also determined CBP admitted or paroled evacuees who were not fully vetted into the United States.”

Senator Graham’s comments came in response to a hearing in which National Security Division of the Department of Justice admitted that it did not know the number of border crossings, which is in the millions, from special interest countries designated as such because of their ties to terrorism. In addition, dozens of individuals have been apprehended at the southern border who are on terrorist watch lists.

His concerns were echoed by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), along with a number of her colleagues, who expressed concern to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas that

“The most devastating event would be an organized terrorist attack, originating from Afghanistan, against our homeland via our southern border … We are tremendously exposed, as the unrelenting surge of illegal immigration on our southern border is tying up resources, and taking our eye off the ball when it comes to terrorism, drugs, and crime. The Border Patrol union and others have raised concern regarding the diversion and misuse of resources at the border. We must not ignore their concerns.”

The letter noted that Terrorist groups that have already found a foothold in Central and South America, including in the Tri-Border area and elsewhere, now have an opportunity to enter the United States by way of Mexico. In the past nine months, the Border Patrol has apprehended at least 56 individuals who were on the Terrorist Screening Database. Given the unprecedented number of “got-aways” – 500,000 that known about since last October – it is a “near certainty” that other individuals on the Terrorist Screening Database have entered the United States undetected, via our open southern border.

The Senator’s concern is shared by Texas Governor Abbot, who recently tweeted “80+ terrorists on the Terrorist Watchlist have been encountered along our southern border since Pres. Biden took office.”

Abbott shared information from the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Fusion Center that revealed that 66 non-U.S. citizens on the federal Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) have been encountered in areas between U.S. ports of entry (POEs) just in the 2022 fiscal year.

American Military News notes that the 81 terrorist watchlist encounters outside of the points of entry at the southern border since the start of fiscal year 2021 are more than seven times the number of those types of encounters from fiscal years 2017 through the end of fiscal year 2020. During those years, there were 11 recorded terrorist watchlist encounters between points of entry at the Southern border.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government

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