US-Mexican border as a terror risk


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walking arsenal
March 22, 2005, 03:52 PM
US-Mexican border as a terror risk

Tue Mar 22, 3:00 AM ET

New intelligence indicates that the 1,400-mile boundry is becoming the main entry point for would-be terrorists into the US.

By Faye Bowers, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON - Concern is growing at the top levels of government about the US-Mexican border becoming a back door for terrorists entering the United States. While Al Qaeda infiltration across the nation's southern border has been a constant concern since 9/11, US officials cite recent intelligence giving the most definitive evidence yet that terrorists are planning to use it as an entry point - if they haven't already.

As a result, a number of Republican and Democratic lawmakers - mainly from border states - are pushing to tighten checkpoints and other ways of monitoring the porous 1,400-mile boundary. The subject will also be central to President Bush (news - web sites)'s summit in Texas Wednesday with Mexican President Vicente Fox (news - web sites) and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.


"I'm worried about our border," Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) (R) of Arizona said at a March 17 Senate hearing on threats facing the US. "We have now hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are crossing illegally every year. And we are now seeing a larger number of people cross our southern border who are from countries of interest as opposed to just Latin American [countries]."


The "countries of interest" that Senator McCain refers to are those so designated by the US government as known to house radical, if not terrorist, groups.


One of the biggest concerns is that terrorists may exploit the current crossing procedures to make their way into the US. One way they might do this - and members of Congress say evidence is mounting that terrorists are trying this - is by paying smuggling networks, especially organized gangs.


The other is through a loophole in the system to separate the large number of illegal Mexican migrants, who are automatically turned back at the borders, from citizens of other countries who are allowed in, pending immigration hearings. These others are referred to as "other than Mexicans," or OTMs, by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). They come from other Latin American countries as well as other parts of the world, many of them designated by the government as countries of "special interest." In 2004, some 44,000 OTMs were allowed into the US.


It's not clear how many terrorists or people having connections to terror groups may have entered the US as OTMs. But FBI (news - web sites) Director Robert Mueller, in a House Appropriations Committee hearing March 9, said he was aware that individuals from countries with known Al Qaeda ties had entered the US under false identities.


Furthermore, in a Feb. 16 Senate hearing, Mr. Mueller cited the case of Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, who paid to be smuggled across the US-Mexico border in 2001. He pleaded guilty on March 1 to providing material support to Hizbullah and was sentenced to no more than five years in prison.


The most recent sign, though, that terrorists may be thinking of entering the US from the south came from the mastermind of many of the terror attacks in Iraq (news - web sites), Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Last week, US officials revealed that Mr. Zarqawi may be planning to broaden his campaign to include strikes in the US - and suggested it would be easy to infiltrate the US through the southern border.


Of the 44,000 OTMs who entered the US last year, it is not known how many were detained and how many remain free. Members of Congress are continuing to lean on government officials, asking for clear assessments of numbers as well as policies intended to thwart the entry of those who would harm the US.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record) (D) of California asked the DHS's Adm. James Loy at a hearing last month about the numbers of OTMs detained and those set free. He replied that he didn't have the numbers, and as of the end of last week, the senator's office said the DHS still hadn't provided her those numbers.


But in response to a request from Rep. Solomon Ortiz (news, bio, voting record) (D) of Texas, the DHS supplied numbers of OTMs registered, by country of origin, who had been released on their own recognizance for fiscal years 2002, 2003, and 2004. The totals were 5,775, 9,139, and 30,756 respectively.


Some countries, such as those known to export gang members, showed dramatic increases in numbers entering the US. The DHS document, for instance, shows 1,463 OTMs entering the US from El Salvador (news - web sites) in 2002. That number increased to 7,963 in 2004. Some 2,539 OTMs entered the US from Honduras in 2002, and that number increased to 12,549 in 2004.


Representative Ortiz, though, disputes many of the DHS numbers. He says he regularly hears reports of much higher figures from border patrol officials from his district in Texas, which includes the border-crossing area of Brownsville.


"In the Brownsville sector alone, border patrol officials reported they caught 23,178 OTMs crossing through August 2004," Mr. Ortiz says. "Of those, 16,616 were released."


Ortiz also points out that another loophole is entering Mexico through Brazil, where a visa is not required to travel to Mexico.


"We believe there is an international Salafist jihadi movement with a goal to attack the near enemy and far enemy - the US," says Richard Shultz, an international security expert at Tufts University's Fletcher School in Medford, Mass. "These terrorists are smart. They study these issues and learn from one other. And one way in is right through the southern security perimeter."


:banghead: well, duh!

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TallPine
March 22, 2005, 04:00 PM
Possibly an effect already from the "Minuteman Project" ....?

These politicians didn't give a damn about the border last week. :rolleyes:

Waitone
March 22, 2005, 04:02 PM
Why is it 3-1/2 years after 911 the southern border is suddenly an entry point terrorists coming into the US. Why suddenly the concern when it has been obvious to anyone with 2 functioning brain cells that the border will be an entry point. Is it because we now believe AQ has changed it tactics and is using the most obvious access point?

The cynic in me says US intel now knows as conclusively as is possible in the intel bidness that terrorists have long ago cross the border into the US and that we are being tee'd up for a hit by these people. In other words, I believe the federales in general and Bush in particular are engaged in that time honored political tradition of CYA. Interestingly enough, toward the end of last year the federales picked up an AQ operator who crossed the border at McAllen, TX. Seems the woman was real high up in north American operation of AQ. Maybe she is singing and Bush et al are experiencing a very high pucker factor. I am of the opinion that if we get hit from the southern border, Bush ought to be summarily impeached.

Time will tell.

jefnvk
March 22, 2005, 04:59 PM
That is pretty much the same thing as saying that standing between a mommy grizzly and her cubs and food is a threat to your health :rolleyes:

DRZinn
March 22, 2005, 05:01 PM
Concern is growing at the top levels of government Well, except for the very top.

Sean Smith
March 22, 2005, 05:02 PM
The most porous border in the known universe might be a way for terrorists to get in? Surely you jest! :rolleyes:

In related news, I hear sharing heroin needles with San Francisco crack whores might be dangerous, too.

Standing Wolf
March 22, 2005, 06:26 PM
Concern is growing at the top levels of government about the US-Mexican border becoming a back door for terrorists entering the United States.

See? I told you we're getting our money's worth from the federal government. As soon as the F., the B., and the I. get done writing up the saga of the daring Patty Hearst capture, they're going to get right on it.

Lennyjoe
March 22, 2005, 06:50 PM
The Tucson city mayor on the news last night even hinted that him and Dubya had a conversation about the borders. This happened while in the limo on the way to the speech. No other details of course.

motoman
March 22, 2005, 06:58 PM
Put landmines on the US/Mexico border. That will put A significant dent in the problem.

Bear Gulch
March 22, 2005, 07:02 PM
Turn the zone into a 1500 mile long shooting range.

Vern Humphrey
March 22, 2005, 07:03 PM
Paradoxically, the problem is not at the border, but internally, where various states and cities forbid police to inform the INS when they arrest an illegal alien, where state police are not trained to enforce immigration laws, where social workers are not allowed to turn in illegals who apply for services and so on.

We have what amounts to a conspiracy among state and local governments to conceal illegals. As long as illegals knowthat once across, they're home free -- and that there is no penalty for being caught, all talk of "sealing the border" is just hot air.

Shweboner
March 22, 2005, 07:09 PM
Concern is growing at the top levels of government about the US-Mexican border becoming a back door for terrorists entering the United States.


If thats the back door... whats the front?

Bear Gulch
March 22, 2005, 07:13 PM
Our border withCanada is equally porous (if not more so) drugs are routinely smuggled in. Canada is caught in socialist policies that let just about anyone immigrate there. So the BGs can easily gaina visa to Canada an slip across the longest unguarded border in the world.

R.H. Lee
March 22, 2005, 07:14 PM
Golleee, Sgt Carter! Sooprise sooprise!
http://www.stevenshiles.com/gomer11.jpg

What will they think of next?
:rolleyes:

White Horseradish
March 22, 2005, 08:37 PM
No, really? :banghead:

Smacking one's head with a hammer hurts, film at 11.

Tom Servo
March 23, 2005, 12:36 AM
Well, duh. I've been saying this for awhile. Let's play prospective terrorist for a minute:

I want to do a great deal of harm to a large number of people and/or the infrastructure. Fine. Mexico is my point of entry. I mean, how hard is it to get INTO Mexico? It's not like they've got crack law-enforcement, and given the economy down there, it'd be VERY easy to bring ordinance in and persuade a few malcontents to do some damage to those rich snobs up north.

Give them a few thousand USD, some weaponry or explosives and send them across the border. Lots of folks know the way well. I walk away never having had to do anything directly, and I get to sip tequila while nuclear plants in NM or a dam in the midwest blows up. For all we (and the Mexican officials) know, Al Qaida could be running recruiting camps left and right down there right now.

Even better, I could make some friends in the drug trade and set up a very nice and profitable network built on the suffering of the "infidels." Hell, there are probably a whole bunch of ex-Stasi, KGB and who knows what else hiding down there with whom I could share expertise.

Hey, if I've thought of this, and folks in the highest levels of US intelligence haven't, then the CIA needs to give me a call and a salary offer.

EghtySx
March 23, 2005, 12:47 AM
I hope this is the beginning of what we have been wanting for years. I really want to feel that sense of relief I've been anticipating for so long.

LiquidTension
March 23, 2005, 01:24 AM
While effective, land mines would be horribly expensive. Think about it - we'd have to replace thousands of them before word spread.

I've been thinking about some sort of uh, "natural" solution. Venomous snakes perhaps, outfitted with the same sort of gizmo that dogs wear to keep them in that invisible fence thing. Breed about 50,000 of the things, cut 'em loose. The great thing about them is they work more than once, unlike the mines.


Seriously though, I wish my tax money would go towards tighter border security instead of that TSA nonsense or funding parts of the DEA and ATF. As usual, the only way to fix the problem is to put me in charge :uhoh:

harvester of sorrow
March 23, 2005, 02:42 AM
<Quote>Interestingly enough, toward the end of last year the federales picked up an AQ operator who crossed the border at McAllen, TX. Seems the woman was real high up in north American operation of AQ. Maybe she is singing and Bush et al are experiencing a very high pucker factor.<Quote>

Look again, Waitone. According to the San Antonio Express News from a week or so ago, she was not tried for any crime but was simply deported back to wherever she came from. Furthermore, the Border Patrol (who caught her) retracted their statement about her involvement in any AQ activities, and the US Attorney's office consistently denied that she had been on any "watch list." I remembered the attention that her arrest had received when I saw that update the other day. :rolleyes:

EghtySx
March 23, 2005, 02:57 AM
I've been thinking about some sort of uh, "natural" solution. Venomous snakes perhaps, outfitted with the same sort of gizmo that dogs wear to keep them in that invisible fence thing. Breed about 50,000 of the things, cut 'em loose. The great thing about them is they work more than once, unlike the mines.


How about sharks with frikkin laser beams attached to their heads? :D :neener: :D

waterhouse
March 23, 2005, 03:05 AM
here's my standpoint:

In february of 2002 I applied to be a border patrol agent. I was graduating in may, and decided I wanted to do my part to protect the country, but due to a serious illness in the family I wanted to stay close to home, which ruled out the armed services.

I passed the test, oral interview, physical, and 11 month long background check. In October of 2003 I received a letter saying that I had met all of the requirements and that I would be contacted shortly for training. I called religiously for about a year, and was told "congress hasn't approved the money for training new agents. We have a fully staffed academy, but we aren't allowed to send anyone there, because we don't have the money."

They just started training new agents in february, after a year long hiring freeze. And people wonder why the border is so porous.

Also, I've heard that the background costs about 4,000 to do. Well, guess what. . .I just got a letter last week that my clearance has expired, so they are starting another background check on me. I've also had to repeat the $300 drug test 3 times and the $600 physical twice. There are several hundred other applicants in the same boat. Do the math, it's your tax money hard at work.

sorry, had to vent. the bright side is that I've opened my own gun store, which is a pretty good way to pass the time.

waterhosue

Joey2
March 23, 2005, 08:01 PM
This government is well aware of what is going on with our borders.

Its part of the plan to split our society into hostle camps of language, culture, religion, etc.

The same thing is going on in Europe with the muslims.

We are facing a New World Order take over of this country and all english speaking countries. The powers to be are determined to bring us down to the level of third world countries- a service economy with the elimination of the middle class.

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