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Homeland Republicans Probe DHS, FBI, DOD on Attempted Breach of Marine Corps Base by Jordanian Nationals in U.S. Illegally

May 23, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN), along with other Committee leaders, issued a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray, requesting information on an attempted breach of Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCB Quantico) earlier this month. 
The attempted breach was reportedly conducted by two Jordanian nationals alleged to be in the United States unlawfully. Per some reporting, at least one of the individuals had entered illegally through the Southwest border. In addition, reports indicate one of the individuals was on the terrorist watch list. Co-signers of the letter are 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). Read the full letter here.

Read more from Stephen Dinan via The Washington Times

In the letter, the Chairmen write, “The Committee on Homeland Security (Committee) is investigating the attempted breach of Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCB Quantico) by two individuals on May 3, 2024. According to public reports, two men drove a truck to the main gate of MCB Quantico, where guards attempted to redirect the truck after the two men could not provide access credentials. The driver ignored the guards’ orders, and moved the truck forward until officers stopped the truck by deploying vehicle denial barriers. The two individuals were subsequently detained and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Reporting suggests that one occupant of the truck is a Jordanian foreign national who recently crossed the U.S. Southwest border and one occupant is on a federal terrorist watchlist. It is unclear if the descriptions apply to the same occupant.”
The Chairmen continue, “The Committee previously expressed concern to you about hostile foreign nationals released into the United States in a September 19, 2023, letter, requesting information about possible breaches of U.S. military installations and critical infrastructure. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to provide any substantive response. The Committee’s letter highlighted its concern regarding Chinese nationals attempting to access U.S. sensitive sites, a concern now heightened by historically high numbers of Chinese nationals attempting to illegally cross the U.S. Southwest border in the past year. On March 27, 2024, a Chinese national who was illegally present in the United States, entered Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms without authorization or valid identification, drawing parallels to the May 3, 2024 incident at MCB Quantico.”
The Chairmen conclude, “The attempted breach at MCB Quantico, however, reflects a possibly more dire reality for the state of U.S. national security. As Director Wray stated in a recent Senate hearing, “a wide array of very dangerous threats . . . emanate from the border,” requiring “much greater vigilance” to protect the country. The Committee fears that the Department of Homeland Security’s relaxed vetting standards, which complement President Biden’s avowed desire to “surge the border” with inadmissible migrants, have created an environment ripe for exploitation by individuals aiming to undermine the United States at its most critical points. If individuals on the terrorist watchlist are so emboldened to attempt to breach a Marine Corps base, the Department of Homeland Security and the entire executive branch must act swiftly to identify, apprehend, and detain such hostile actors on American soil.”

In September 2023, Chairmen Green and Pfluger sent a letter to Secretary Mayorkas, Director Wray, and Secretary Austin, probing the agencies’ responses to threats from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) identified in a Wall Street Journal exclusiveThe report detailed how Chinese foreign nationals, sometimes posing as tourists, have attempted to access U.S. military bases and other sensitive sites as many as 100 times in recent years.
Public records indicate that DHS, under President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas has failed to properly vet individuals on the terrorist watchlist, or Terrorist Screening Data Set (TSDS). In June 2023, the DHS Office of Inspector General released a shocking report showing that in April 2022, CBP officials had released an illegal alien on the terror watchlist into the country. DHS’ 2024 Homeland Threat Assessment makes the growing national security threat clear, stating, “Terrorists and criminal actors may exploit the elevated flow and increasingly complex security environment to enter the United States.” In a November 2023 hearing, Secretary Mayorkas repeatedly refused to answer when asked by Chairman Pfluger whether DHS continuously detains those found to be on the terrorist watchlist. 
Earlier this year, nearly one year after being released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, the Federal Bureau of Investigation notified that an Afghan illegal alien was associated with the terrorist group Hezb-e-Islami. Most recently, an Uzbek illegal alien associated with ISIS, who had been apprehended and released by Border Patrol after crossing the border in Arizona, was arrested in April after living in the country freely for over two years.