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Great Reset

Terrorists Welcome: Chronic counterterrorism lapses at the border demand investigation


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Published April 22, 2024 by the Claremont Institute’s The American Mind

Author: Todd Bensman

The latest release into the American interior of an FBI terrorist suspect who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border—a twice-freed Afghan national man free to roam America for 11 months until his capture—demands that the federal government regard this patterned problem as a chronic national security emergency requiring elevation to the highest priority within the intelligence community, federal law enforcement, and Congress.

The case of the 48-year-old Mohammad Kharwin, whom an overwhelmed Border Patrol freed into America on March 10, 2023 before agents could confirm the FBI watch list hit that initially flagged him and whom a swamped Texas immigration court freed a second time in February, is the seventh example of its kind that can establish, just from disparate public records, a mortally dangerous failure pattern.

More cases of accidental Border Patrol releases of illegally crossing terrorism suspects, who did not reach the public record, are highly likely if not certain.

But this latest miss-and-release propels the problem well beyond the critical mass threshold justifying coordinated high-priority government intervention, even if Congress must politically force it, before the next one—or those still roaming the country lost to authorities even now—needlessly kill and maim Americans.

By current public accounts, an initial Border Patrol database check flagged Kharwin for membership in Hezb-e-Islami, which the U.S. Director of National Intelligence describes as a “virulently anti-Western insurgent group,” when he illegally crossed the California border in March 2023. He was among 23,286 illegal aliens caught crossing that month in what would turn out to be a record-breaking year for the agency’s San Diego Border Sector. All told, there were 230,941 illegal crossers caught in 2023, up nearly 60,000 from 2022 and 90,000 more than 2021.

That extraordinary traffic no doubt strained all normal Border Patrol counterterrorism and vetting processes.

Instead of keeping Kharwin detained as a “special interest alien,” tagged until standard face-to-face interviews and corroboration of the initial hit was complete, Border Patrol agents under orders from Washington, D.C. waved him through like millions of other illegal crossers on “Alternatives to Detention” (ATD) personal recognizance papers, where they agree to voluntarily report later to ICE in a city of their choice.

NBC reports that Border Patrol never even informed ICE of the initial FBI watch list flagging; that’s evidently how the same collapsed border management system missed a second opportunity to catch Kharwin in late January of this year, when he showed up before an immigration judge in a Pearsall, Texas, ICE detention facility for a hearing. Perhaps because ICE still didn’t have the initial terrorism flag hit, that agency’s court lawyer representative did not report it to the judge, or appeal, when Kharwin was ordered released on $12,000 bond for a distant 2025 hearing.

“The judge placed no restrictions on his movements inside the U.S.” in the meantime, NBC reported.

Somehow, the FBI figured all of this out and got word to ICE agents to find and arrest Kharwin, which they did a month later, on February 28, in nearby San Antonio.

An Established New National Security Threat Pattern

Terrorism threat border lights have been blinking red for some time now in a non-specific way, especially since the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency in March 2022 began publishing “Terrorist Screening Data Set Encounters” by the month on its public-facing website. Those began breaking all national records when the Biden government took office in January 2021, when apprehended illegal border crossers on the FBI watch list ballooned from three during Trump’s last fiscal year in office to 15, then by another 98 in fiscal 2022, then 169 in fiscal 2023, and another 75 so far in fiscal 2024.

Through March 2024, Border Patrol caught 342 while partnered federal agencies like the FBI and ICE intelligence presumably investigated and dealt with each. That they did so is less a good national security story than an unacceptable sampling of much bigger flows of watch-listed illegal aliens coming into America who are not caught and handled. If some two million of these so-called “got-aways” went through since 2021 (like Kharwin evidently tried to), more suspected terrorists on the FBI watch list are almost certainly among them.

But short of vastly reducing the millions-per-year border crossings by restoring former president Donald Trump’s discarded policies, the Biden Administration could at least be forced to triple down on its counterterrorism resources at the southern border.

In recent months, the terrorism threat at the border has generated some public concern, but never explicitly about the preventable accidental releases of terrorist suspects authorities later had to chase down.

In September 2023, for instance, I testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Judiciary about the accidental releases I knew about at the time. Mine was indeed a rare warning that named the accidental-release problem in juxtaposition with my 2021 book America’s Covert Border War, which revealed counterterrorism programs at the border that have kept the nation safe from infiltrated attacks for nearly 20 years. I told the members that Biden’s border crisis had severely compromised those old programs, caused a spate of accidental terror suspect releases, and elevated the threat of terror attack as a result.

The Biden Administration’s own 2024 Homeland Threat Assessment warns, with far less specificity, that “terrorists may exploit the elevated flow and increasingly complex security environment to enter the United States” and that “individuals with potential terrorism connections continue to attempt to enter the Homeland illegally between ports of entry…via the southern border.”

With even less specificity, in his latest testimony to Congress about what he regards as a rising terrorist border infiltration threat, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that a “wide array of very dangerous threats…emanate from” the southwest border, including the designated terror group ISIS.

Despite the variably specific warnings about the border infiltration threat, the ever-growing number of known accidental-release cases like Kharwin’s and the ones I told the subcommittee about remain broadly unrecognized as the unique emerging threat problem these cases indicate. Probably because no one has been killed yet as a consequence, few federal agencies or homeland security committee lawmakers seem interested in calling it out.

Case Candidates for Investigation

To date, only one federal investigation has produced a public report branding the problem, remarkable but forgotten or given short shrift by major U.S. news media, although I did write about it. That eye-opening document was the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office report about the April 19, 2022 crossing and mistaken release of a Colombian on the FBI watch list. ICE agents were not able to track him down to Florida for two long weeks.

Its key finding was that Border Patrol and ICE agents couldn’t do normal counterterrorism protocols because they were simply too “busy processing an increased flow of migrants.”

But these six other cases qualify as investigation-worthy:

Read the rest here

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Lawmakers press investigation into DEI agenda at the Pentagon

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Marines in amphibious task force gunnery exercise in the East China Sea.   

From The Center Square


A Department of Defense official recently reported that in fiscal year 2023, all branches collectively fell short of their recruitment targets by more than 40,000. But that shortfall came even after recruitment targets were lowered significantly.

A coalition of lawmakers is pushing forward the ongoing investigation into just how much taxpayer money Pentagon officials are taking away from national defense and putting toward diversity, equity and inclusivity initiatives.

The Pentagon has been under increasing scrutiny for its focus on DEI, even as the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars continue.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion Chair General (Ret.) Lester Lyles expressing concerns that the focus on DEI was a distraction and was hurting recruitment.

“DoD’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion over mission effectiveness and capability concerns our nation’s national security and safety,” the letter said.

The letter comes ahead of an expected report from that committee on its work for DOD.

Military branches have struggled to meet recruitment goals in recent years. A Department of Defense official recently reported that in fiscal year 2023, all branches collectively fell short of their recruitment targets by more than 40,000. But that shortfall came even after recruitment targets were lowered significantly.

“Stand Together Against Racism and Radicalism in the Services (STARRS), an educational organization that includes retired military members, assembled a study of over one thousand unsolicited comments from military service members, veterans, and their respective families,” the letter said. “Their findings showed that many did not feel comfortable recommending military service because of the DEI policies instituted throughout DoD.”

As The Center Square has previously reported, the Pentagon has embraced an array of equity initiatives, from training on white privilege to guidelines on gender pronouns. Recently, the DOD asked for more than $100 million just for DEI initiatives, sparking backlash.

House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs Chairman Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., and House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel Chairman Jim Banks, R-Ind., led other Republicans on the letter.

The lawmakers want a full explanation of what the DEI efforts at the Pentagon are, in detail.

“The Subcommittee remains concerned that under the guise of DEI, promotions are being rewarded based on sex, gender, ethnicity, and race at the expense of merit,” the letter said.

The lawmakers expressly called for transparency in the upcoming report.

“Americans have the right to expect that their sons and daughters in uniform are led, trained, and equipped by the very best,” the letter said. “The Subcommittee understands that the STARRS report was provided to DACODAI, but it is unclear the extent to which DACODAI will incorporate that information into its final report.”

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Censorship Industrial Complex

Australia passes digital ID bill, raising fears of government surveillance without accountability

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From LifeSiteNews

By David James

Critics argue the legislation, enacted under the guise of increased security, ramps up government surveillance and control, with no accountability mechanisms for public sector misuse.

The Australian Parliament has passed the Digital ID Bill 2024 and Digital ID (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Bill 2024 which, it claims, will provide “certainty” for the expansion of the existing Australian government digital ID system.

The move is being presented as a way to improve “privacy and security” for people when interacting online by “verifying” users’ identities. The government claims that the legislation will reduce fraud and other malpractice by private actors, but the bill says nothing about the public actors, the government. The implication is that that the public sector will never do anything wrong with its increased powers, raising the suspicion that it is yet another move by state and federal governments to increase surveillance and control over the lives of citizens.

Australia is a paternalistic society and there is no mechanism to hold the executive branch of government accountable – indeed the possibility is rarely raised. There is thus nothing to stop more intrusions into people’s privacy by the government.

Commenting on the passing of the bill, Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts from the One Nation Party said that, while the voluntary system has been presented as a measure for security and convenience it could lead to significant privacy breaches, cyber-attacks, and government overreach. He described it as a potential attack on Australians’ “freedom, privacy, and way of life,” especially if it eventually becomes mandatory.

Roberts pointed to the Digital ID bill, the Online Safety Act, the Identity Services Verification Act, and the Misinformation and Disinformation Bill as elements of what looks like a coordinated plan by the federal government “to identify, punish and imprison anyone who resists this slide back into serfdom.” In the initial inquiry into the Digital ID bill, he said, the Human Rights Commission “drew attention to the lack of protection of privacy and human rights in the bill,” but it was ignored. Roberts added that the bill is very similar to legislation being implemented in other Western nations.

A significant proportion of the Australian population has concluded that politicians and the public sector cannot be trusted and that they fail to scrutinize their own actions. As if to underline this unaccountability, the Digital ID bill was passed using “tricks used to stifle debate and public discussion,” according to former federal senator Craig Kelly. He said on X (formerly Twitter) that the way the bill was passed was “contrary to precedent, the spirit of the Constitution and [the] Westminster tradition.”

“Labor introduced the Digital ID in the Senate (the House of review) instead of the House of Representatives,” Kelly wrote. “Then they guillotined debate in the Senate. And in House of Representatives, Labor shifted debate to the Federation Chamber where the Liberals put up token resistance with only one Liberal MP and two National MP’s bothering to speak on the Bill – and they didn’t even try any amendments to protect privacy or to try and safeguard against it being made compulsory.”

The government mendacity continues – at a time when federal laws against “disinformation and misinformation” are being debated. There is constant propaganda in government-funded media outlets about what an effective job was done against the “pandemic” by pursuing lockdowns and mass vaccination. It is false; there was no pandemic. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 2020 and 2021 had the lowest number of deaths from respiratory diseases since records have been kept.

The federal government, in a statement, is giving the impression that the move is merely a way to protect vulnerable Australians, to give certainty for providers and services, and to provide transparency in order “to build public trust.” But what is not said is more important than what is said. There is no mechanism for Australians to redress wrongs committed by the government.

What should happen is something that has never existed in Australia: the establishment of a way for Australians to hold the public sector accountable and stop their governments becoming a menace, as occurred during the “pandemic.” Unless public servants are at risk of being penalized, or at least of having their actions constrained, there is a strong likelihood that fears about the Digital ID Bill will ultimately be realized.

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