Thursday, June 08, 2006

Texas homeland security chief hyping phony border threats

I've written before how politicians and law enforcement officials have been hyping unsubstantiated claims of terrorist-related border crossings along the Rio Grande, but never provide any proof. Well, somebody else has noticed the discrepancy. Reports Mariano Castillo in the San Antonio Express-News' "Beyond the Border" blog:
Last Friday, Texas Director of Homeland Security Steve McCraw told GOP convention delegates in San Antonio about an undocumented immigrant who was picked up in Texas with "links to a terrorist organization." No newspaper or other media had reported such an arrest of such significance.

One of our Austin reporters pressed McCraw on his comment, but he declined to elaborate, but noted that "links" could mean two or three degrees removed from a direct tie to a terrorist organization.

I asked W. Ralph Basham, who was sworn in as CBP commissioner on Monday, if he had knowledge of McCraw's remarks.

"I have not been briefed on this particular issue you bring up," Basham said.

To his knowledge, no terrorists have been captured along the southern border, Basham said.

"I am not aware of a direct nexus to terrorists or terrorist organizations," he said, adding, "If they have, I have not been briefed on it."

This is not the first time that local or state officials have touted the capture of terrorists who crossed illegally from Mexico, but to date they have all been debunked or unconfirmed by the FBI.
Zilch. Zero. Nada. Nothing. No documentation at all confirms hyped claims that Al Quaeda or other terrorist organizations are crossing the Mexican border. Why would they? The 9/11 hijackers all entered the country through airports. Like half of all illegal immigrants - they can just come here legally and overstay their visa - it's absurd to think an Al Quaeda operative would ever need to swim the river.

So when you hear Texas' homeland security director, Governor Perry and others mentioning terrorism and the Mexican border in the same breath, remember that such claims "have all been debunked or unconfirmed by the FBI." Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the border security mavens seem to think they're entitled to their own facts.


Anonymous said...

Well, you didn't think that Task Force money would be spent on non-law enforcement issues, did you?

And when the terrorism bug dissipates, there will be another threat, somehow, from somewhere.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I don't mind that federal money going for law enforcement purposes. It has to, though my choice would be for drug courts and stronger supervision of probationers. But Operation Linebacker is throwing money down an unaccountable sinkhole. And the terrorism stuff on the border is bunk.

Governor Perry's announced $15 million in new border spending so far - almost $10 million for Linebacker, $5 million for cameras - with little hope for any positive result. This is a Grade A Boondoggle, or to put it in Texanese, "All hat, no cattle."

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@Janettx: First, illegal immigrants pay plenty of taxes - for the most part with few exceptions, the same ones you do - but they receive many fewer governemnt benefits. Second, if you go to the emergency room and can't pay as a citizen, they'll treat you, too. It's the law. Finally, I'm CERTAIN illegal immigrants would rather have their status legalized, pay all taxes, get drivers licenses and auto insurance, etc. It's folks like you who want them culled out from society so they can't participate in those aspects of public life, then complain about the consequences. Honestly in that sense your comments are bizarre to me, though I know yours is a common sentiment.

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you all. I am a delegate and heard Steve McCraw speak at a briefing at the GOP convention in San Antonio. He is a brilliant man. Regardless of what any of you think, at least he is part of trying to fix the problems we have in Texas. He is trying to protect WE THE PEOPLE as all these government people should be doing.

Anonymous said...

Director MrCraw is doing the best he can to bring safety to Texans. Not all infomation is going to be revealed to the public due to its sensitive nature.

The Texas-Mexico border is one of the longest land/water borders in the country. The federal government hardly gives Texas the adequate funds it needs to securely border this corridor between two countries. Illegal immigrants are not just a problem. It is true that many terrorists know of this hole in security. If illegal immigrants can make it over the border, don't you think that a terrorist can too?