Terry Jeffrey

Taken at face value, DOJ's National Drug Threat Assessment seems to say that even though some alien smuggling organizations now cater to illegal aliens coming from countries that pose a potential terrorist threat to the United States, none of these aliens "have been documented to be known or suspected terrorists."

An August 2009 GAO report on Customs and Border Protection checkpoints erected on highways flowing north from the Mexican border said the opposite. "CBP reported that in fiscal year 2008, there were three individuals encountered by the Border Patrol at southwest border checkpoints who were identified as persons linked to terrorism," the report said.

The GAO report also said there were hundreds of other illegal aliens from "special interest countries" intercepted at Border Patrol checkpoints just north of the Mexican border who were not tied to terrorism. "In addition," said the report, "the Border Patrol reported that in fiscal year 2008 checkpoints encountered 530 aliens from special interest countries, which are countries the Department of State has determined to represent a potential terrorist threat to the United States. While people from these countries may not have any ties to illegal or terrorist activities, Border Patrol agents detain aliens from special interest countries if they are in the United States illegally and Border Patrol agents report these encounters to the local Sector Intelligence Agent, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations and the CBP National Targeting Center."

In written testimony presented to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Feb. 16, 2005, FBI Director Mueller said a man indicted for providing material support to Hezbollah had illegally entered the United States through Mexico.

"In Detroit, Mahmoud Youssef Kourani was indicted in the Eastern District of Michigan on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to Hezbollah," said Mueller. "Kourani was already in custody for entering the country illegally through Mexico and was involved in fundraising activities on behalf of Hezbollah."

Kourani later pleaded guilty. "According to federal prosecutors, Kourani was a fighter, recruiter and fundraiser for Hezbollah and operated in both Lebanon and the United States," The Associated Press reported when he was sentenced in June 2005. "Prosecutors said his brother, Haidar, was chief of military security for the group in southern Lebanon and directed Kourani's U.S. activities."

On Aug. 22, 2007, the El Paso Times published an interview with Mike McConnell, then-director of national intelligence. "So are terrorists coming across the Southwest border?" McConnell asked rhetorically. "Not in great numbers."

"There are some cases," asked a reporter.

"There are some," said McConnell. "And would they use it as a path, given it was available to them? In time they will."

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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