Skip to comments.U.S. official: Al-Qaida is exploring border
Posted on 02/18/2005 11:37:09 AM PST by SwinneySwitch
WASHINGTON Rep. Solomon Ortiz has been sounding an alarm since last summer that al-Qaida might exploit the porousness of the nation's southern border and now the Department of Homeland Security agrees with him.
Admiral James Loy, deputy Homeland Security secretary, said in written testimony he gave the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that "recent information from ongoing investigations, detentions and emerging threat streams strongly suggests that al-Qaida has considered using the southwestern border to infiltrate the United States."
Loy said that al-Qaida operatives believe they can pay to get into the country through Mexico and that entering illegally is "more advantageous than legal entry."
But Loy also said there's no conclusive evidence that al-Qaida operatives have entered the country illegally through those methods.
Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, has been urging the federal government to end its practice of releasing non-Mexican immigrants awaiting deportation hearings after they've been arrested for illegally entering the country. The majority of the non-Mexican immigrants released are from Latin American countries.
Officials have said that detaining the immigrants would be costly.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement keeps in custody those that have committed crimes or are considered a public threat and on average have about 21,000 people in custody daily nationwide.
Cathy Travis, a spokeswoman for Ortiz, said some who are arrested and released are from "countries of interest."
"Brazil is one. It's a visa waiver country with Mexico. A bad guy who wants to go to the United States, can first go to Brazil, and then go to Mexico and at that point it's easy to go north and cross illegally and not be caught or be caught" and released, Travis said.
Countries with visa waiver agreements allow each others' citizens to enter their countries without visas.
Last summer, Ortiz said that "credible sources" told him that a Border Patrol agent found on a watch list the name of a woman arrested at the McAllen airport with a damaged passport. Federal officials continue to deny that claim.
Earlier this year, he suggested the MS-13 gang, which has its roots in El Salvador and is also known as Mara Salvatrucha, may have links to al-Qaida.
Loy named MS-13 as one of several violent criminal groups that pose a legitimate threat to homeland security, though those groups are "not necessarily connected to transnational terrorist groups."
Loy also said the United States is a "harder target" for terrorists and undocumented immigrants than in the past because of improvements in security since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"There is much evidence to convince us that interdiction measures have improved; intelligence is working, technology has helped and far fewer illegal immigrants are now able to enter our ports of entry or cross our border than in the past," Loy said in his testimony.
It's not a question of "if". It's a question of how many have entered and when.
Southern Sieve Ping!
Please let me know if you want on or off this South Texas/Mexico list.
Officials have said that detaining the immigrants would be costly. <<
I believe it could be more costly if they don't. I am SICK & TIRED of Elected Officials shirking their duty to protect this country!
I love it!
Explore? Hell, right now he can wade across like the thousands who do so on a daily basis. Can we please close the borders Mr. President?
POLL STILL ACTIVE!
Do you believe securing U.S. borders should be the first priority of homeland security?
Yes 93% 4296 votes
No 7% 309 votes
Total: 4605 votes
ALSO, more on what was said about your article on Dobbs last night.
One of the key issues facing the new director of national intelligence is the possibility that radical Islamist terrorists could infiltrate this country from Mexico. Yesterday, Admiral James Loy, the deputy secretary of homeland security, testified to Congress that al Qaeda may have considered using the Mexican border as an entry point.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Admiral James Loy, the deputy chief of homeland security, gave this standard testimony when he spoke before Congress, warning that al Qaeda is still a threat.
But buried in his written testimony were new details of how the terrorist group might try to buy its way into the country through Mexico.
Quote, "Recent information from ongoing investigations, detentions and emerging threat streams strongly suggests that al Qaeda has considered using the Southwest border to infiltrate the United States. Al Qaeda leaders believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons," end quote.
Senator Dianne Feinstein highlighted the passage in questioning Admiral Loy.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I've looked at the statistics for each country, and the so-called countries of concern -- Syria, Iran, others -- the numbers are up of penetrations through our southwest border.
SYLVESTER: When Mexican illegal aliens are caught, policy is to transfer them back across the border, but illegal aliens not of Mexican descent are freed, with only the promise that they'll return for a court date, a gaping security hole.
REP. SOLOMON ORTIZ (D), TEXAS: This is just common sense that once they pay $900 or $1,000 to a coyote, you think they're going to come back in three months and say, "Here I am. Send me back"?
SYLVESTER: Admiral Loy blames limited resources.
ADMIRAL JAMES LOY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL SECURITY: We are releasing because of the resource implications attendant to keeping them, and bedding them and detaining them until resolution can come of their -- of their individual cases.
SYLVESTER: But lawmakers worry that among those released in the American population could be a terrorist who simply walked across the border from Mexico.
SYLVESTER: Last year, there were nearly 45,000 illegal aliens not of Mexican descent who were released into the United States. That's up 48 percent from 2003 -- Lou.
DOBBS: The admiral -- did he make any specific recommendation, like, for example, taking control of our borders?
SYLVESTER: Well, he just reiterated some of the policies and the things that they've already been doing that you're well aware of, US- VISIT, for instance, using unmanned aerial vehicles, but no new ideas, Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you very much.
Nor, apparently, a new commitment.
That brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. The question: Do you believe securing our borders should be the first priority of national security -- homeland security? Yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results later in the broadcast.
Who could possibly be surprised that some terrorists
might stroll across our out-of-control borders? I (and
others) have been posting for a long time that Bush and
Congress will have been CRIMINALLY NEGLIGENT if these
amnestied hordes coming into the U.S. include terrorists
that kill thousands of Americans. The illegal immigration problems
we are now facing -- bankrupt school districts, insolvent
hospitals, prison incarceration costs, welfare and
social service financial burdens -- all will be as nothing
after the terrorists strike!
I know this is a terrible thing to say... but it's the only medicine that will suffice.
It's working in Israel against determined terrorists with the fence. I cannot believe that a single terrorist attack the size of 911 would not be much more expensive than to fence and man our entire border with Mexico.
Does anyone know of any estimates that have been made of the cost of 911, including lost jobs in the travel industry etc?
The window of opportunity to close the border is nearly over. Anyone notice the Mexican gobernatorial elections lately? The PRD (?) - made up of extreme leftists - is starting to win elections over the old (anti-American)PRI and the (kind of pro-American) PAN. The next presidential election (I think 2006) could see a PRD president who would basically be in bed with Chavez and Castro. At that point, facilitating illegal crossings will become part of official Mexican government policy and the danger will be much higher.
HAS CONSIDERED? What color is the atmosphere on the planet these idiots inhabit?
I've been thinking the same thing.
I sure as well don't want it to happen either.
But there's a growing complacency among some sectors of our govt regarding the threat to our borders.
I'd pay and move back to Texas for the privelege.
bump / ping!
Fortunately Al Qaida is restricted to communicating by secure messenger now. They know were listening in to cell phones and internet commo.
Thank you, National Security Agency.
So am I. Preferably Hollywood or San Francisco. That's where the foot dragging is coming from.
More on this & sad to say I never saw this story reported even in the Dallas news.
Not only 'catch & release'......FREE TAXI SERVICE !!
"Border Patrol Releases Immigrants at Bus Station"
Nonsense on both counts. The nation is already serious about the WOT, and the illegal immigration crisis is being dealt with already.
See my link in # 25......
Looks like TX, ONLY, is releasing 30K OTM's yearly, 70% NEVER show up for their hearing.
Also note, BP provides free taxi service to the bus station.
Officials have said that detaining the immigrants would be costly. <<
Maybe these same *officials* could tell us the *costs* at tracking down the 70% (in TX ONLY) that choose to never show up for their hearing.
THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION/TERRORIST CONNECTION, PART XXXVIII
By Michelle Malkin · February 17, 2005 03:34 AM
The New York Times reports:
New intelligence information strongly suggests that Al Qaeda has considered infiltrating the United States through the Mexican border, top government officials told Congress on Wednesday....
In the past, law enforcement officials have said Al Qaeda might try to use the Mexican border, but the testimony on Wednesday seemed to suggest increasing concern. In response to questions from the senators, Admiral Loy described it as a "very serious situation...."
Good thing the White House is on the case. Not.
For more on the vulnerability of our southern border to terrorism, see here, here, and here.
"Can citizens SUE elected officials?"
An attorney on this forum said one would have to sue "agencies" rather than the officials. Much of what many citizens are going through with II would have to fall under the category of a "taking". I'm surprised someone (enviro's) hasn't sued under the Environmental species act because of the
degredation of "protected habitat" with the foot traffic from the south. Have you seen some of the pictures of what they do to the environment? The latino gangs are raising crops of marijuana in national parks in California. It's crazy.
You've been here for almost a month and THIS is your first post?????
The possibility that a terrorist could enter from Mexico and attack us?
The possibility that the attack will come from a sleeper that has been in this country all along?
Just a politician playing one group against another. The justification used to be "It's for the children", now it's "It's for for security"
How many of the Saudi 9/11 bombers were notified by mail to renew their voter registration - SIX MONTHS AFTER 9/11 - and AFTER THEIR MISERABLE MUGS WERE PLASTERED ON EVERY MEDIUM KNOWN TO GOD AND MAN!
I'm amazed they were on the voter registration rolls, seeing as how they were trying to keep a low profile. They've said part of the problem is the various spelllings (intentional and unintentional) of the foreign names too.
If you haven't seen that move, it is a MUST SEE.
You're right about that! They'll be neatly packed away in the side of a mountain hoping to come out when the dust settles. Hope they pack a big lunch. The next CW will likely be long and brutal. JMO. Blackbird.
"seeing as how they were trying to keep a low profile. "
Hiding in plain sight. Good registered voters. Part of the community.
Yeah, but they could wind up on jury duty, etc. I think they probably didn't understand the various systems in the U.S.A. But it's hard to tell. Your scenario is also plausible.
Either way, I'm sure there are probably more here.
That was inevitable. 'Bout time someone started to look into it.