Border Fact Check

Separating Rhetoric from Reality

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Are terrorists crossing the border “from time to time?”

“[T]here have been [terrorists crossing our southern border with the intent to do harm to the American people] from time to time.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

This “time to time” quote was Secretary Napolitano’s response to a question from Rep. Ron Barber (D-Arizona) at a July 25 hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee. The full exchange was as follows:

Rep. Barber: “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?”

Secretary Napolitano: “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.”

The Facts:

Six days after this exchange, the Department of State released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism report. Within the opening paragraph of its Mexico chapter is the following:

“No known international terrorist organization had an operational presence in Mexico and no terrorist group targeted U.S. citizens in or from Mexican territory.”

It would seem that the State and Homeland Security Departments need to get their story straight on this very important national security issue.

By Adam Isacson

Filed under Terrorism Border Security U.S. Congress DHS

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