In light of today's Charlotte Observer article about my boss' letter to the Department of Homeland Security expressing her concern about potential ties between terrorist groups and drug cartels on the Southern border, following is a similar article that ran this week in The National Review. This reporter did a little more research than the Observer reporter and I think makes a stronger case for the issue. Enjoy.
Re post from National Review online:
June 28, 2010 12:00 A.M.
A Moving Sidewalk for Terrorists
Muslim extremists have penetrated our southern border.
While Americans march against Arizona’s new restrictions on unlawful immigration, hundreds of illegal aliens from countries awash in Muslim terrorists tiptoe across the U.S.-Mexican frontier.
According to the federal Enforcement Integrated Database, among the deportable aliens apprehended along that border from FY 2009 through April 20, 2010 were two Syrians, seven Sudanese, and 17 Iranians, all nationals from the three Islamic countries that the U.S. government officially classifies as state sponsors of terrorism.
Federal authorities also track “Special Interest Countries” from which terrorism could be directed against America. Over the aforementioned period, 99 of those nations’ citizens were nabbed on the border. They were: two Afghans, five Algerians, 13 Iraqis, ten Lebanese, 22 Nigerians, 28 Pakistanis, two Saudis, 14 Somalis, and three Yemenis. During FY 2007 and FY 2008, federal officials seized 319 people from these same countries traversing America’s southwest border.
Some such characters were confined in Arizona, which recently adopted a controversial law that lets cops ask the citizenship status of those they suspect of other possible violations. Atlanta’s WSB-TV recently publicized an April 15, 2010, “population breakdown” of immigrants detained at a Florence, Ariz., facility. While 198 of the 395 males behind bars there were Mexican, 18 hailed from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
Perhaps these gentlemen simply want to pursue the American dream. Worrisome signs suggest, however, that some may have arrived via blistering, cactus-adorned deserts so that they could blow Americans to smithereens.
Besides Iranian currency and Islamic prayer rugs, Texas Border Patrol agents have discovered among the possessions of illegal immigrants an Arabic clothing patch that reads “martyr” and “way to immortality” and another clothing patch that shows a jet flying into a skyscraper.
“Members of Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist organization, have already entered the United States across our southwest border,” declares A Line in the Sand, a 2006 report by the House Homeland Security Investigations Subcommittee, then chaired by Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas).
“The same disturbing problem we identified four years ago still exists today,” Representative McCaul tells me. “The number of undocumented aliens coming across our southwest border from special-interest countries that have ties to terrorism continues to increase, and unless we get serious about securing our borders, the terrorists will exploit this region as a way to slip into our country undetected so they can network, radicalize, and plot against us.”
Rep. Sue Myrick (R – North Carolina) wrote Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on June 23 and urged her to launch a task force to focus on Hezbollah’s activities in and around the US/Mexican border.
Myrick’s letter makes for rather chilling reading:
Across states in the Southwest, well trained officials are beginning to notice the tattoos of gang members in prisons are being written in Farsi. We have typically seen tattoos in Arabic, but Farsi implies a Persian influence that can likely be traced back to Iran and its proxy army, Hezbollah. . . .
Former intelligence officials have pointed to the terrain that makes up our border, especially in the San Diego border sector, as a reason why drug cartels have been partnering with Hezbollah. This terrain is very much like the areas around Israel’s borders. As we well know, Hezbollah is extremely skilled in the construction of tunnels. Israel has time and again found Hezbollah tunnels leading into Israel, some of which are large enough to accommodate trucks. Likewise, these intelligence officials say that the drug cartels, in an effort to dig larger and more effective tunnels are employing the expertise of Hezbollah. . . .
Experts believe Iranian agents and members of Hezbollah are going to Venezuela to learn Spanish. When somewhat fluent, they obtain false documents in hopes of crossing the US border as Hispanics. If stopped by border agents when trying to cross, they try to pass off as Mexican. Only well trained border agents can detect that their Spanish accent is Venezuelan, not Mexican. If this is not detected they are merely sent back into Mexico where they try to cross into the US again, rather than being detained for more questioning. . . .
One high ranking Mexican Army officer, who asked not to be named for security reasons, states they believe Hezbollah may be training the Mexican drug cartels’ enforcers in the art of bomb making. This might lead to Israel-like car bombings of Mexican/USA border personnel or National Guard units in the border regions. This militant threat could be exacerbated by the current tensions between the US and Iran, since Iran directs Hezbollah.
Also disturbing are the uninvited terrorists and terror suspects who were arrested after entering America through our permeable underbelly.
Mahmoud Youssef Kourani pleaded guilty in March 2005 to providing material support to terrorists. First, Kourani secured a visa by bribing a Mexican diplomat in Beirut. He and another Middle Easterner then hired a Mexican guide to escort them into America. Finally, Kourani settled into the Lebanese-immigrant community in Dearborn, Mich., and raised cash for Hezbollah.
Miguel Alfonso Salinas was picked up in New Mexico near the international border in 2006. As Sara A. Carter reported in the June 8 Washington Examiner, one week of FBI interrogation exposed Salinas as an Egyptian named Ayman Sulmane Kamal. Evidently, he remains in federal custody.
Then–national intelligence director Mike McConnell said that in FY 2006 and FY 2007, at least 30 potentially dangerous Iraqis were found trying to penetrate America via Mexico. As McConnell told the El Paso Times: “There are numerous situations where people are alive today because we caught them.”
The Department of Homeland Security issued an April 14, 2010, “Intelligence Alert” regarding a possible border-crossing attempt by a Somali named Mohamed Ali. He is a suspected member of al-Shabaab, a Somali-based al-Qaeda ally tied to the deadly attack on American GIs in 1993’s notorious “Blackhawk Down” incident in Mogadishu.
Captured in Brownsville, Texas, Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane, 24, pleaded not guilty in San Antonio on May 14 to federal charges that he “ran a large-scale smuggling enterprise” designed to sneak East Africans through Mexico into Texas, including “several AIAI-affiliated Somalis into the United States.” Al-Ittihad al-Islami is yet another Muslim-extremist organization.
Daniel Joseph Maldonado, a convert to Islam, also has Somali ties. Maldonado, a.k.a. Daniel Aljughaifi, was picked up in Kenya in 2007 after fleeing a Somali camp where he received terrorist training. According to a February 13, 2007, criminal complaint signed by FBI special agent Jeremiah George, Maldonado — a.k.a. Abu Mohammed — had “no problem” with the September 11 attacks. Maldonado was returned to Houston for prosecution and is serving a ten-year federal prison sentence. As Rice University’s Joan Neuhas Schaan told KHOU-TV: “They had plans for him to come back to the United States and recruit female suicide bombers.”
All this involves only the bad guys who the authorities nailed. Those who have remained undetected after crossing the U.S.-Mexican border to murder Americans are still — by definition — invisible.
— Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.