***UPDATE//3:53 pm/8 October***
Judicial Watch claims that four of the suspected ISIS operatives caught along our southern border have been detained in the last 36 hours. Sources tell the organization that the four suspects were arrested in the McAllen-Pharr area, in Hidalgo, County, just miles from the Mexican border.
During his recent interview with "60 Minutes," FBI Director James Comey fielded several questions on the threat posed by ISIS. Here's one exchange with correspondent Scott Pelley:
Pelley: How many Americans are fighting in Syria on the side of the terrorists?
James Comey: In the area of a dozen or so.
Pelley: Do you know who they are?
James Comey: Yes.
Pelley: Each and every one of them?
James Comey: I think of that, dozen or so, I do. I hesitate only because I don't know what I don't know.
Pelley: With American passports, how do you keep them from coming home and attacking the homeland?
Comey: Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport's
revoked, is entitled to come back. So someone who's fought with ISIL,
with American passport wants to come back, we will track them very
That's meant to sound reassuring to an American public that is increasingly on-edge about transnational threats ranging from terrorism to Ebola. But what if--as many fear--the terrorists are already here? Just last month, various Texas law enforcement officials said they had received advisories from the feds, warning of potential border-crossing activity by ISIS terrorists. And, in a story that received virtually no attention outside El Paso, the new commanding general at Fort Bliss quickly upgraded security measures at the base, amid reports of ISIS operatives less than 10 miles away in Juarez, Mexico.
The Islamic State--like every other terror group--is well aware of our porous southern border, and views it as a pipeline into the American homeland, useful for smuggling fighters, weapons and God-knows-what-else onto our soil.
While everyone agrees that ISIS is "interested" in the
border region, members of the Obama Administration have tried to
downplay the threat. But there are new indications that the terror Army
is actually infiltrating across our border with Mexico. In an
interview with Fox News, Congressman Duncan Hunter
of California said that 10 ISIS fighters have been apprehended along
our southern border in Texas. From the Daily Caller:
“ISIS is coming across the southern border,” Hunter told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren.
“You say that they’re coming in the southern border which changes all the dynamics. Do you have any information or any evidence that they are actually coming in the southern border now?” asked the host.
“Yes,” said Hunter.
“Tell me what you know,” said Van Susteren.
“I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas,” said Hunter, who received the information from a confidential border patrol source.
Mr. Hunter is not the only lawmaker to make such claims. Last month, Utah Congressman Jason Chafetz asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about information that four men (with terrorist ties) were apprehended along our southern border on 10 September. Secretary Johnson said he had "heard" those reports, but did not elaborate.
At this point, a bit of vague math may be helpful. Most of the individuals who illegally enter our country from Mexico are never caught. The percentage who are detained is rather small--as low as 10%, particularly along remote border areas in Texas which lack double fences and other entry barriers. If those estimates are accurate, then a significant number of ISIS operatives crossed the border undetected and may be at safe houses or holding points inside the U.S., awaiting orders for future operations, or gathering information on future targets.
It's a very scary scenario and it may get a lot worse. Speaking yesterday at the National Defense University, Marine Corps General John Kelly, the leader of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) predicted an Ebola outbreak in Latin America would trigger a mass migration that would make "the 68,000 undocumented minors" look like a small problem. He also predicted that smuggling and terror networks could "introduce infected individuals" into the U.S., hastening the spread of the disease. General Kelly also noted that nations like Haiti (and those in central America) have "virtually no capability" to deal with the disease.