Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jihadists Swarming Over Mexican Border like Killer Bees?

Or perhaps they have discovered our porous neighbor to the North? Hugh Hewitt has excerpts from San Antonio News Express reporter Todd Bensman's series on illegal aliens that concern border violaters from the Middle East and other Muslim countries:
People from 43 so-called "countries of interest" in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa are sneaking into the United States, many by way of Texas, forming a human pipeline that exists largely outside the public consciousness but that has worried counterterrorism authorities since 9-11.

These immigrants are known as "special-interest aliens." When caught, they can be subjected to FBI interrogation, detention holds that can last for months and, in rare instances, federal prison terms.

The perceived danger is that they can evade being screened through terror-watch lists.

The 43 countries of interest are singled out because terrorist groups operate there. Special-interest immigrants are coming all the time, from countries where U.S. military personnel are battling radical Islamist movements, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and the Philippines. They come from countries where organized Islamic extremists have bombed U.S. interests, such as Kenya, Tanzania and Lebanon. They come from U.S.-designated state sponsors of terror, such as Iran, Syria and Sudan.

And they come from Saudi Arabia, the nation that spawned most of the 9-11 hijackers.

The rule of thumb is that you catch one out of ten terrorist suspects, given the porous nature of our borders and special planning that trained operatives might have received. Some more snippets to keep you from sleeping soundly:
Though most who cross America's borders are economic migrants, the government has labeled some terrorists. Their ranks include:

Mahmoud Kourani, convicted in Detroit as a leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah. Using a visa obtained by bribing a Mexican official in Beirut, the Lebanese national sneaked over the Mexican border in 2001 in the trunk of a car.

Nabel Al-Marahb, a reputed al-Qaida operative who was No. 27 on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list in the months after 9-11, crossed the Canadian border in the sleeper cab of a long-haul truck.

When Iraq war refugee Aamr Bahnan Boles crossed the Rio Grande, authorities assumed the worst about him. In the current climate of uncertainty and fear, they had little choice. For Boles, it was literally a test of faith.

Farida Goolam Mahammed, a South African woman captured in 2004 as she carried into the McAllen airport cash and clothes still wet from the Rio Grande. Though the government characterized her merely as a border jumper, U.S. sources now say she was a smuggler who ferried people with terrorist connections. One report credits her arrest with spurring a major international terror investigation that stopped an al-Qaida attack on New York.

The government has accused other border jumpers of connections to outlawed terrorist organizations, some that help al-Qaida, including reputed members of the deadly Tamil Tigers caught in California after crossing the Mexican border in 2005 on their way to Canada.

One U.S.-bound Pakistani apparently captured in Mexico drew such suspicion that he ended up in front of a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.

"They are not all economic migrants," said attorney Janice Kephart, who served as legal counsel for the 9-11 Commission and co-wrote its final staff report. "I do get frustrated when people who live in Washington or Illinois say we don't have any evidence that terrorists are coming across. But there is evidence."

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehension numbers, agents along both borders have caught more than 5,700 special-interest immigrants since 2001. But as many as 20,000 to 60,000 others are presumed to have slipped through, based on rule-of-thumb estimates typically used by homeland security agencies.

"You'd like to think at least you're catching one out of 10," McCraw said. "But that's not good in baseball and it's certainly not good in counterterrorism."

There is a persistent rumor that a major terror event in the USA had been scheduled in 2005 by Osama, but somehow was nixed---or postponed---by Dr. Zawahiri, the Dr. Moriarty that we haven't found the Sherlock to toss over the falls. But the assets may be in place in a sleeper-cell mode, probably in the Detroit area, just across the river from indulgent Canada, which allows "political asylum" to whomever claims they need it. The Millenium Bomb Plot to blow up LAX was thwarted only by an alert US border patrol agent---her suspicions were aroused by the nervous behavior of the Canadian-based terrorist. And it's not just the border patrol that nabs Middle East Border jumping potential perps:
Other federal agencies besides the Border Patrol have caught thousands more of the crossers inland after it was discovered they were in the country illegally, including 34,000 detainees from Syria, Iran, Sudan and Libya between 2001 and 2005, according to a homeland security audit last year of U.S. detention centers for immigrants. Then there is an unknown number caught by Mexico — an inveterate partner, as it turns out.

Texas accounts for a third of all the special-interest immigrants caught by the Border Patrol since 9-11, including 250 apprehended between March 2006 and February.

Efforts to stop the traffic are, in some ways, beyond U.S. control. Corrupt foreign officials and bureaucrats in Latin American consulates and in the Middle East have sold visas. Others hand them out without taking U.S. security concerns into account.

Anti-U.S. sentiments run deep in nations across the globe, creating steppingstones to America for those whose illicit travel plans sometimes are abetted with delight.

You have to read the entire series to discover why Todd Bensman should be nominated for a Pulitzer for a story that took six months to put together. But the Pulitzers are in the domain of the Columbia School of Journalism, an institution that has become a byword for shoddy ethics and ultra-left bias.

Let's hope that Todd gets national recognition for a job well done.


Audacious Epigone said...

It's only anecdotal, but I'm told by friends in Michigan that illegal Iraqi aliens are becoming more and more common a sight in the streets of Dearborn.

Norman MacIntyre said...

Some joke that they doubt jihadists are going to swim across the Atlantic to kill Americans. They won't swim across but they might go to Iran, fly to Venezuela and trek up to our southern border. I am the loudest proponent of big government when it comes to US security (military, border patrol, et. al).