The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which continues to believe there is not an imminent danger of ISIS breaching the nation’s southern border, has nevertheless confirmed the Islamic State may be thinking about making such a move.
According to a Bloomberg report on a hearing in Congress, Francis Taylor, the undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, provided that assessment to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“There have been Twitter and social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor said.
A related AP report said Taylor’s assessment included the opinion that Islamic State “doesn’t pose an immediate threat,” but the terrorist organization that has bulldozed through Syria and Iraq, setting up what it calls a caliphate, can attack American targets overseas without warning.
Taylor explained during the hearing that ISIS has “capabilities” that most jihadist groups lack.
Taylor’s warning was echoed by Nicholas Rasmussen, the deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who explained that there already have been attacks in France and Belgium by those who have fought with ISIS.
“The United States is not immune,” Rasmussen warned, according to an AP report, because ISIS has been willing to target anyone “apostate,” an individual, group or people not following ISIS’ version of Islam.
WND reported only days ago that a Washington watchdog organization warned there was an ISIS presence in Mexico, just across the border from Texas.
The warning was followed by an increase in security imposed at Fort Bliss, Texas, which analysts suggested indicated an increasing threat.
“It’s a significant issue when this is done,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin said of the higher security measures at Fort Bliss, which is just across the border from Juarez, Mexico
“That means they’re getting a threat stream. Fort Bliss had to have a clear and present threat,” said the former Delta Force commander, who also spent four years as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
Spokesman Lt. Col. Lee Peters said that 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,” the statement said.
The move was made shortly after Judicial Watch said 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.”
The report said high-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources confirmed to Judicial Watch 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.”
The organization said the sources “reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.”
The report said commanders at Fort Bliss were briefed.
The concern was heightened because of the looming anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by Muslim terrorist on New York and Washington.
At the online news source Policy.Mic was the comment, “Forget immigration: The Islamic State may be the best reason yet to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.”
The report noted that Texas Gov. Rick Perry had warned a Heritage Foundation audience weeks ago that ISIS militants “may have already slipped across the Mexican border.”
While he said there was no clear evidence of terrorists being in the U.S., he said, “I think there is the obvious, great concern that – because of the condition of the border from the standpoint of it not being secure and us not knowing who is penetrating across – that individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be,” Perry said.
While many commentators dismissed the idea, the fact that ISIS could be planning a border breach is consistent with what DHS previously reported, Policy.Mic said.
“In 2012, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress that terrorists enter the U.S. from Mexico ‘from time to time.’ And a 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office noted that U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoints reported that ‘there were three individuals encountered by the Border Patrol at southwest border checkpoints who were identified as persons linked to terrorism,’ in 2008,” the report said.
“If there are ISIS fighters that may already be in the United States, or in your area who’ve crossed the border, what’s your message to them?” CNN’s Don Lemon asked Midland County Sheriff, Gary Painter.
“If they rear their ugly heads, we’ll send them to hell,” Painter said.
A former top U.S. Defense Department analyst under President Bush says ISIS could use the Mexican border to infiltrate America, and it could happen “sooner rather than later.”
At a time when thousands are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally each day, the risks might never be higher, said Michael Maloof, now a senior staff writer for WND and expert on the Middle East.
He said there are risks to the economy and the nation’s health. And he warned the Iraq crisis easily could turn into a global issue.
In the Middle East, the radical jihadists in the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Greater Syria), or ISIS, have been conquering northern portions of Iraq. They’ve been executing, crucifying and beheading as they burn through the fragile nation. They now threaten to overthrow the government of Iraq and its neighbors to build a caliphate to use as a launching pad for attacks on the U.S. and its allies.
At the same time, some 1,500 illegal aliens are crossing the Mexico-U.S. border each day and the Obama administration has done little, if anything, to stop the influx.
Putting the two together should raise alarms, he said.
“ISIS may be working to infiltrate” the U.S. with the aid of transnational drug cartels, he said, citing the violent Mexican criminal gang MS-13 as a highly likely candidate for the partnership.