Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ted Cruz of Texas wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to share worry about the presence of the terrorist group Hezbollah in Central America and the threat posed to “the safety and well-being of the American people.”
The senators asked to be briefed by officials about the possibility that terrorists may attempt to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border and the nature of the government’s efforts to combat narcoterrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering by Hezbollah.
Their renewed interest comes after Secretary Pompeo’s confirmed during a Feb. 6 interview with Fox Business that terrorist groups, particularly with ties to Iran, are active in the increasingly chaotic country of Venezuela.
“People don’t recognize that Hezbollah has active cells – the Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela and throughout South America,” he said in early February.
While critics of strong border control mock the notion of terrorists infiltrating the U.S. via the southern border, Cruz and Grassley, both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, view effective border security as the one stone to kill the two birds – illegal immigration and international terrorism.
“Effective border security not only addresses the ongoing problem of illegal immigration, but also prevents the cross-border movement of Special Interest Aliens (SIAs) and known or suspected terrorists,” they wrote. “Should the U.S. government not address these concerns head-on, it would be an absolute abdication of our primary responsibility to provide for the common defense.”
The letter, which was also sent to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, seeks answers to questions about what the Obama administration knew about any terrorist cross-border threats and what steps are being taken now to prevent nefarious forces from Russia, China, Cuba, and Iran infiltrating refugee populations coming from Mexico and Central America.
According to a 2017 Politico report, the Obama administration was aware that vulnerabilities along the southwest border exposed the U.S. to the potential illegal crossing of terrorists. The idea that terrorists would seek to exploit Venezuela’s devolving economic and political situation is not isolated to the administration.
Annette Idler, a senior fellow at Oxford University’s Pembroke College, warned in a 2017 Washington Post editorial that the disintegrating political environment in Venezuela might be viewed as an opening for drug and human traffickers, as well as international terrorist organizations. “Venezuela is a strategic transit zone for drugs, arms and ammunition, gasoline smuggling and human trafficking,” she wrote. “Terrorists also may take advantage of the crisis. The U.S. government sanctioned Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami earlier this year for his purported involvement in the drug business. El Aissami allegedly has ties to Hezbollah and was accused of issuing fraudulent passports to individuals from Middle Eastern countries. However truthful these accusations, they indicate the potential for Venezuela to become a safe haven — and new gateway — for unwelcome guests in the Americas.”
Even if Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro is removed or leaves office, there is no guarantee that Hezbollah would follow.
“Whatever the benefits of replacing the current Venezuelan regime with Washington’s preferred alternative, there’s reason to doubt that it would change the country’s problematic relationship with the terrorist group,” warned Foreign Policy’s Colin Clarke after Pompeo’s remarks.
The media will continue to scoff at and ignore the threats approaching the border, but that will matter little as long as those in positions to affect efforts to secure our border heed the call to action.
How long does it take to figure out…our 9/11 Allah warriors looked just like from south of our border?
I would feel better if I knew that Trump is aware of this because I’m not happy AT ALL with how “interested” he is with Venezuela right now. The “LAST” thing I want is for those communists to start swarming in here like all the rest of the disgusting unwanteds. The only thing you ever hear about those gross people is them insulting us (funny LOL) and never never NEVER do I want those scumbags laying on their azz for us to support them here when we can’t trust them for one second.
Venezuela is in Dire Straits Because of Fascism Socialism
My friend has family there and they are in FAR WORSE shape there than Central America. It is a Humanitarian Crisis that makes Central America look like a joke in comparison. Vice President Pence is flying to Columbia today to help get American Army supplied food to the starving folks under fascism there. This is comparable to gassing children in Syria IMO. No, we’re not taking asylum immigrants, but we will provide camps and food for them in S.America. Columbia is helping us.
WALLs Are For Security
Food is for eating….simple logic five year olds understands all this, but the Open Border Party (OBP) refuses to acknowledge.
The “walls don’t work” people are woefully ignorant or deliberately ignoring reality. Claiming that the great wall of China ” didn’t work” ignores the fact that it was not some one time project built in a short time, but instead a series of walls that were beginning to be constructed many centuries BC. The reason they kept building was that they worked. They allowed the areas on the Chinese side of the wall to be stable agricultural lands, safe from the raids of the northern tribes. It was not a breach of the wall that led to the fall of the Ming dynasty but a Chinese general who opened the gates.
Hadrian’s Wall in Britain was constructed in the early 2nd century by the Roman occupiers. It kept out the Scots to the north for three centuries. It was never breached but abandoned by the Romans when they completely withdrew from Britain with the barbarian takeover of Rome.
Then there are always the clueless wonders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez for one, who talk about the Berlin Wall, which had nothing to do with keeping people out but keeping them in East Germany. When this country puts up a wall stopping anyone from leaving this country, then it’s a valid comparison. Until then you’re and idiot.
What? Ideologically-driven terrorists [aka Muslims] might exploit weakly defended borders? The Democrats didn’t see THAT coming!
We also need physical barriers along our southern border to block the importation of fentanyl from China that is fueling the opioid epidemic in the US, the rest of the fentanyl from China entering the US directly through the mail.
China’s goal is to overtake the US as the most powerful country in the world and to kick the US out of the Western Pacific. A strong and healthy society is the foundation of our economic and military power. China’s government is very aware of how an increase in the supply of opium/opioids weakens a country internally, especially when there are a lot of people in the country who will make the bad decision use the drugs, given what a big part of China’s history over the past two centuries the 19th century First and Second Opium Wars with Britain were.
A good and well-made movie that deals with the issue of British colonialism in China in the early 20th century and China’s dislike of Western, foreign imperialists is “The Painted Veil” with Naomi Watts. I think that if a person watches this movie they will gain an insight into China’s psyche, because the past is very much a part of the present.
I thought I would let you know that I will not be posting comments on your site anymore and will leave the writing to the pros, given that upon reflection I realize that anyone can easily misconstrue anything that I have to say, which is not a good thing in the current climate. But I will still be involved. Keep up the great work!
Actually your comments are very incisive and accurate. There is no doubt that a lot of drugs are coming in through the ports of entry on the southern border, but it is also undeniable that a lot are brought in directly by drug mules who carry them unimpeded across the areas with no barriers. A barrier would be a deterrent against that. What the open border advocates of no barriers deliberately choose to ignore is that the Border Patrol says that barriers allow them to maximize the effectiveness of the manpower they have. It’s common sense. Which the other side lacks in any measurable amount.