DALLAS – Texas' top homeland security official said Wednesday that terrorists with ties to Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaida have been arrested crossing the Texas border with Mexico in recent years.
"Has there ever been anyone linked to terrorism arrested?" Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw said in a speech to the North Texas Crime Commission. "Yes, there was."
Security chief says terrorists have been arrested on Texas border, by Jeff Carlton, AP; Houston Chronicle, September 12, 2007.
This is something that periodically happens. Tom Tancredo noted another example in his book In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border amd Security.
But, as Tancredo also noted, the federal government always seems to want to bury the news. True to form, AP's Carlton reports that
Leticia Zamarripa, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, said Wednesday she was unaware of any border arrests of people with terrorist ties. An ICE spokeswoman in San Antonio did not return phone messages left by The Associated Press. U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Lloyd M. Easterling was unable to comment.
Which is very odd. Isn't the Bush Administration desperate for rationales for its Iraq War? Is marrying Mexico through de facto open borders really more important to the Bush dynasty? Is it because Tancredo has publicly said that if there's a terrorist attack traceable to an illegal alien crossing the border, he will move to impeach Bush? (A fact still inexplicably absent from Wikipedia's Movement to impeach George W. Bush entry).
Similarly, the federal government continues to tie itself in knots about one intercepted alien with alleged terrorist ties, Farida Goolam Mahomed Ahmed. Carlton writes:
McCraw identified the most notable figure captured as Farida Goolam Mahomed Ahmed, who was arrested in July 2004 at the McAllen airport. She carried $7,300 in various currencies and a South African passport with pages missing. Federal officials later learned she waded across the Rio Grande.
After her arrest, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a release saying she was wanted for questioning about the bombing of a U.S. Consulate office, jibing with similar statements from a U.S. congressman.
But the department quickly retracted the terrorism connection, calling it "inaccurate on several levels." Michael Shelby, then the U.S. attorney in Houston, said in January 2005 that any suggestion Ahmed was involved in terrorism "is in error."
According to federal court records, Ahmed pleaded guilty to improper entry by an alien, making a false statement and false use of a passport. She was sentenced to time served and deported to South Africa. Other details of the case were sealed.
But on Wednesday, McCraw described Ahmed as having ties to an insurgent group in Pakistan and whose specialty was smuggling Afghanis and other foreign nationals across the border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel could not confirm details about Ahmed on Wednesday.
Well, was she or wasn't she? Only the Bush Administration knows for sure. Presumably.
Hat tip, JC.