The Campaign Spot

Is There an ISIS Threat on the Texas-Mexico Border or Not?

From the Thursday Morning Jolt:

Is There an ISIS Threat on the Texas-Mexico Border or Not?

Yesterday we noted the surprising statement from Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, that “at least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the border in Texas” by the U.S. Border Patrol.

That statement generated a pretty firm denial from DHS Wednesday:

“The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the Southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement today. “DHS continues to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.”

But then a few hours later, the government watchdog group Judicial Watch released a shocking statement with some more specific claims about ISIS members being caught — but with no named sources attached to it:

Islamic terrorists have entered the United States through the Mexican border and Homeland Security sources tell Judicial Watch that four have been apprehended in the last 36 hours by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.

Judicial Watch’s release also noted:

In late August JW reported that Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources confirmed to JW that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Because we haven’t heard about any car bombs in cities near the U.S.-Mexican border, one might conclude this is merely chatter and rumors.

But then there’s this wrinkle, from KVIA, the ABC affiliate in El Paso, Texas, August 31, 2014:

Fort Bliss officials announced Sunday morning that several recent security concerns have forced them to increase security at the entry gates.

Officials told ABC-7 that their concern for safety will affect vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian access to the installation through 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

ABC-7 asked Fort Bliss spokesperson Lt. Col. Lee Peters if this was related to the alleged Islamic State threat in Juarez.

He said, “Based on [Department of Defense] guidance from recent nationwide incidents, and our own internal assessments coupled with recent media reporting, we decided to implement increased security measures on Bliss. These changes are not as a result of a specific threat but rather to simply get prudent security measures in place to protect our military, employees and visitors.”

Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, is directly across the border from Ciudad Juarez:

So apparently someone in our government was indeed on alert about “several recent security concerns” in late summer.

UPDATE: In today’s Washington Post, another embarrassing scandal story for the U.S. Secret Service:

“We were directed at the time . . . to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement.

So the Department of Homeland Security wants us to trust them when they say there’s no evidence for a congressman’s claim of a dangerous threat at the border . . . the day before we learn that the same DHS told its inspector general to delay an investigation for political reasons. Rather difficult to take them at their word, hmm?

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