Top DHS official refuses to answer whether Biden’s border policies invite terrorists

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Joe Biden speaks with Border Patrol agents as he receives a briefing on technology used in monitoring and securing the border, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the U.S.-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)
Joe Biden speaks with Border Patrol agents as he receives a briefing on technology used in monitoring and securing the border, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the U.S.-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Hudson Crozier
The Daily Signal

Under questioning from lawmakers, an intelligence official at the Department of Homeland Security refused to say Wednesday whether the Biden administration’s border policies increase security threats to America.

Republicans asked Ken Wainstein, DHS under secretary for intelligence and analysis, about recent reports of illegal border crossers with ties to terrorists.

Wainstein acknowledged during testimony to the House Homeland Security Committee that America is in “a very fraught time” regarding security threats, as lawmakers pressed him on record rates of illegal immigration.

“Nobody seems to want to say [that] opening the doors on the border has exposed us tremendously,” Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., told Wainstein.

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Bishop mentioned this month’s arrest of eight illegal aliens with suspected connections to the terrorist group Islamic State, or ISIS, as well as 400 border crossers whom DHS recently identified as part of an ISIS-affiliated smuggling operation.

“Are you prepared to say that opening the border has subjected the United States [to an] … extravagantly increased risk of significant terrorism?” Bishop asked.

“I’m prepared to say that we’re hyperfocused on the threat coming across the border,” answered Wainstein, an appointee of President Joe Biden.

He added that “we’re not trying to sugarcoat” the problem.

Wainstein, a lawyer, previously was assistant attorney general for national security under President George W. Bush and later his homeland security adviser.

Wainstein also told Bishop that no evidence exists that those who entered the U.S. via an ISIS-tied smuggling network in the past three years “are terrorist operatives.”

Bishop pressed further, asking why Wainstein would blame Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel and blame “domestic violent extremists” for terror threats in America but “keep quiet” about the Department of Homeland Security’s management of the border.

Wainstein avoided the question, saying that Oct. 7 “energized” bad actors in the U.S. to target Jews. He promised that lawmakers could hear more details about the border situation in a classified briefing.

Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., asked Wainstein whether America’s potential vulnerability to terrorists at the border is a “self-inflicted wound.”

Wainstein replied that he doesn’t “buy into” that idea.

Crane followed up: “Wouldn’t you say, sir, that you can have all the intelligence in the world, but if you don’t have leaders who are willing to execute on that intelligence, it doesn’t really matter, does it?”

The DHS under secretary replied that his agency “could use more resources” to keep terrorists away from the border, but didn’t mention Biden’s immigration and border security policies.

DHS didn’t respond before publication to a request for comment on Republicans’ criticism. The department reportedly hasn’t found 50 of the 400 migrants smuggled through the ISIS-affiliated network, Fox News reported.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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