Homeland Republicans Probe DHS, FBI Following ISIS-Connected Smuggler at Southwest Border
September 7, 2023
“The Committee reiterates its requests and expects full compliance”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN), Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability Chairman Dan Bishop (R-NC), Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX), and Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement Chairman Clay Higgins (R-LA) demanded answers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) following recent reports that Uzbek nationals were smuggled to the Southwest border by an individual with ties to ISIS.
In the letter addressed to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Chairmen note the homeland security threat posed by the record number of individuals on the terrorist watchlist apprehended at the Southwest border under the Biden administration and request compliance with unsatisfied Committee requests for a staff-level briefing on the matter and information pertaining to intelligence sharing on these threats.
Read more in the Daily Caller.
In the letter, the Chairmen state, “The reporting, which cited multiple U.S. officials, states that a group of individuals from Uzbekistan and additional countries sought asylum at the southwest border and were granted entry into the United States after they were screened by DHS. Initial screenings did not uncover their smuggler’s connection to ISIS at the time. Subsequently, the FBI learned about a human smuggling network with connections to ISIS that helped the Uzbek and other nationals travel to the United States. According to counterterrorism officials, this incident shows the United States is ‘deeply vulnerable to the possibility that terrorists could sneak across the southern border by hiding amid the surge of migrants entering the country.’”
The Chairmen continue, “The Committee repeatedly expressed warnings about the security of our southwest border and the potential for terrorists to exploit the vulnerabilities due to the Biden administration’s open-border policies. For instance, on May 23, 2023, the Committee wrote to both DHS and the FBI requesting information related to the reported arrests of foreign nationals on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist who illegally crossed the U.S-Mexico border in May 2023, which included a Pakistani national who was apprehended by Border Patrol agents in southeastern Arizona a day after Title 42’s expiration. To date, beyond a half-page interim response letter acknowledging the Committee’s request with an assertion that DHS leadership considers the May 23 letter ‘a high priority,’ DHS and the FBI failed to produce any substantive materials in satisfaction of eight categories of information or provide Committee staff a briefing. The Committee reiterates its requests and expects full compliance.”
The Chairmen conclude, “The Committee has serious concerns about security at our southwest border and the potential for terrorists to take advantage of the glaring vulnerabilities created by the Biden administration’s open border policies.”
Read the full letter here.