Thursday, September 11, 2014

ISIL and the U.S. Border

In response to a question from John McCain, a DHS official said that some ISIS "adherents" were saying on Facebook and Twitter that they should infiltrate the U.S.-Mexico border.

 Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told senators during a hearing that ISIL supporters are known to be plotting ways to infiltrate the United States through the border. 
“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in response to a question about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.” 
“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said, explaining that border security agents are working to tighten measures that would prevent this from taking place. 
“I’m satisfied we have the intelligence and the capability on our border that would prevent that activity,” Taylor said.

Hmm. They said this publicly, knowing full well that plenty of people, including those in the United States government, would read it. They are either a) trying to spark a reaction; or b) so stupid that clearly they don't have the capability anyway.

This is never going to end. There will always be terrorist groups trying to get the U.S. riled up to overreact. It's just the names that change.

Such an operation is harder than you think. You have to get into Mexico and get to the border region without attracting attention, which means being fluent in Mexican Spanish. Then you have to avoid getting the attention of all the many individuals, gangs, etc. involved in getting people across the border, all of whom are talking a lot. There is no guarantee of any kind that they'll view you kindly, even with bribery. Even then they may rat on you. Then you have to traverse the same awful lands that have killed thousands of other people.

As with many other issues, this one falls under the category of "stay vigilant and don't overreact."


Roque 9:50 AM  

Washington Free Beacon got this story horribly wrong (if you click on the link again now you'll see their "correction"). The DHS's position is that there is no credible evidence that ISIS is planning an attack through the U.S.-Mexico border. That's clear in the opening remarks and clear in the interaction with Sen. McCain, who was hell bent on forcing an admission from Taylor that it was "possible" for ISIS to cross the border. I wrote about it on HuffPost from a more rational point of view. CBP officials say it's far more likely that, if ISIS was planning an attack, they'd just take a plane.

Greg Weeks 11:42 AM  

good to know. And of course no govt official can say categorically that something is impossible even if it is wildly improbable.

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