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Al Qaeda And ISIS Members From Afghanistan Could Resurface On Southern Border
Al Qaeda And ISIS Members From Afghanistan Could Resurface On Southern Border, Experts Say
by Anna Giaritelli, Homeland Security Reporter
Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists sprung by the Taliban from an Afghan prison could enter the United States via the porous southern border, security experts said, lending grim legitimacy to concerns raised by Republicans.
Feds patrolling the 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border are increasingly on alert for foreigners on the terror watch list, given the situation in Afghanistan, a senior official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Washington Examiner.
“I believe CBP and the Border Patrol are both taking it very seriously, but I can’t say the same as far as the administration,” the official wrote in an email. “If I was a bad person that wanted to do harm to the U.S., I know now is the time to illegally enter the border. You have sectors and stations that cannot fully man their areas of operation and people are getting through.”
More people were encountered by law enforcement while illegally attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico in July than any month in the past 21 years, and those numbers show no sign of declining. As a result, roughly half of the thousands of Border Patrol agents who work on the southern border have been pulled inside to process and take care of migrants in custody, resulting in fewer agents patrolling the border.
Border Patrol agents have been asked to consider going overseas to screen Afghan refugees, which would leave even fewer agents on the southern border. In addition, recently retired Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott warned agents earlier this month that suspected terrorists are crossing “at a level we have never seen before.”
The CBP official said the upcoming 20th anniversary of 9/11 “increases the potential threat” of an attack. Kenneth Gray, a retired Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent of 24 years who worked in counterterrorism, said 9/11 is the government’s “big event” of the year, in terms of looking out for additional acts of terrorism.