John McCaslin

Capitol Hill's top watchdog on illegal immigration, Rep. Tom Tancredo, is not a happy camper these days.

"I guess al-Qaida wants to fill a few jobs no American will take," said the Colorado Republican, reacting to word that an al-Qaida suspect crossed the Mexican border into the United States as thousands of other illegal aliens do every month.

Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, a woman reported to have close ties to al-Qaida, was arrested in McAllen, Texas. She'd flown from London to Mexico City, then entered the United States by crossing the Rio Grande. Reports said she was on a "watch list" and possibly entered the United States as many as 250 times in the past.

"Is it going to take another September 11 to get our leaders in Washington to wake up and start minding the store?" wondered Tancredo, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus.

If illegal immigrants aren't enough to worry about, the congressman has now sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. In it he asks what safeguards exist to ensure that none of the 11,000 Muslims legally eligible for refugee status will turn out to be the next Yassin Aref, one of the two men recently detained after reportedly attempting to obtain shoulder-fired missiles as part of a terrorist plot.

"To hear reports about anyone being granted unconditional citizenship . . . is troubling to say the least," writes. Tancredo. "How can we sleep at night not knowing that our government isn't doing everything possible to prevent another terrorist attack on our own soil?"

BICYCLE ONE

Yes, that mountain bicycle tied to the bike rack of a Suburban on the busy Beltway Sunday afternoon belonged to President Bush, who was a few cars up ahead.

After returning from his tour of hurricane-battered Florida, Bush and his 11-vehicle motorcade, with little traffic control, sped around the outer loop of the Beltway to the Secret Service training center in Beltsville for yet another presidential bike ride.

DEMOCRATIC OBSERVERS

Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, smells "politics" as the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe apparently prepares to arrive in the United States to monitor the 2004 presidential election.

In fact, 10 congressmen sent a letter yesterday to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell demanding answers "within one week," including who had requested the OSCE's presence.

In a recent letter to Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas Democrat, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Paul V. Kelly indicated that the OSCE would be observing the federal elections this fall.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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