Terrorists connected to the Islamic State are considering crossing the southern border as one possible way to infiltrate the United States, a senior Department of Homeland Security official told Congress on Wednesday.
DHS Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Francis Taylor confirmed that “there have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about” infiltrating the U.S. by crossing the southwestern border.
When asked if he viewed the possibility of Islamic State terrorists entering the U.S. via the southern border as a “threat,” Taylor responded, “Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat.”
However, Sen. John McCain (R-Airz.) pressed the official when he claimed that he was “satisfied we have the intelligence and the capability on our border that would prevent that activity.”
McCain also noted that conservative activist James O’Keefe dressed up as Osama bin Laden and crossed into the U.S. from Mexico without encountering any law enforcement officials.
But Taylor argued that O’Keefe did not cross the border “undetected” and border security agencies were aware of his presence.
“Why didn’t they stop him when he came across?” McCain asked.
“Sir, I can’t answer that question,” the DHS official replied.
(H/T: Free Beacon)
“You can’t answer it because they weren’t there to stop him,” McCain shot back.
U.S. Sen. John McCain speaks at The Arizona Republic Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Emmanuel Lozano)
The Arizona senator went on to say that “there are thousands of people who are coming across our border who are undetected… and for you to sit there and tell me that we have the capability or now have the proper protections of our southwestern border, particularly in light of the urgings over Facebook and Twitter for people to come across our southwestern border is a great concern to the citizens of my state.”
Taylor assured McCain that border security is of “great concern” to DHS and clarified that the southwestern border is not as secure as it needs to be.
“If I gave you the impression I thought the border security was what it needed to be to protect against all the risks coming across the state that’s not what I meant to say,” he added.
Watch the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing here.