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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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Great Reset

Canadian MP warns new WHO pandemic treaty may enshrine COVID-era freedom restrictions

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MP Colin Carrie

From LifeSiteNews

By Emily Mangiaracina

Colin Carrie recounted the freedom-throttling measures the Canadian government took during the COVID outbreak, warning that the WHO’s Pandemic Agreement may help make such measures permanent.

Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) Colin Carrie warned this week that proposed World Health Organization (WHO) agreements with a passing deadline of late May could “institutionalize” freedom-throttling COVID “pandemic mistakes.”

Carrie recounted the liberty-crushing COVID-era events that took place in Canada as well as around the world during the first-ever Sovereignty Summit held at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, an event protesting the WHO’s pending threat to the sovereignty of its member nations, attended virtually by political leaders from around the world.

“Since COVID-19’s lockdowns and mandates, Canadians have seen our sovereignty, our charter rights and our civil liberties tested,” said Carrie, going on to point out that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has  admitted that he admires the “basic dictatorship” of China.

It was under such a leader as Trudeau that “freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of consent and freedom of medical treatment were all enthusiastically challenged” by the government through “COVID dictates centrally controlled and communicated by the WHO,” Carrie noted.

Trudeau, moreover, “intentionally created an identifiable minority group — anti-vaxxers — and gleefully used all the power of the Canadian government to marginalize, dehumanize and keep over 6 million Canadians from fully participating in Canadian society,” Carrie declared.

He recalled how the Emergencies Act was “used to freeze bank accounts” while “businesses were shattered, seniors and loved ones died alone,” “children’s education was compromised and churches were closed,” affirming that Canadians do not want to relive this scenario during another real or supposed health emergency according to the dictates of the WHO.

Carrie went on to question why the WHO is saying the new Pandemic Agreement is “non-binding” when, according to the MP, the term “non-binding” was removed from the definitions of the treaty.

“Why would any country sign on to a new treaty when we haven’t conducted a serious evaluation of the last pandemic policy response? Will this treaty institutionalize WHO’s COVID pandemic mistakes?”

In a March 20 press release, the WHO called for an “urgent agreement from international negotiators on a Pandemic Accord … to bolster the world’s collective preparedness and response to future pandemics.”

A growing number of public figures as well as U.S. states and elected officials have raised the alarm about the so-called Pandemic Agreement in recent months.

In a letter dated May 22, almost half the U.S. governors, all of them Republicans, signed a letter to President Joe Biden declaring that they will resist any efforts of the WHO to control public policy in America through its proposed “Pandemic Agreement” and amended International Health Regulations (IHRs).

Earlier this month, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also rallied every Republican in the U.S. Senate to sign an open letter imploring the Biden administration to reject the pending agreements being considered at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in late May.

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COVID-19

Biden’s Navy secretary says he has ‘no regrets’ about firing 5,000+ unvaxxed sailors, Marines

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Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro

From LifeSiteNews

By Doug Mainwaring

“You’re firing qualified people who are well-trained, and you sit here so smugly [and] act like none of that has any impact on the readiness of our Navy.”

The secretary of the U.S. Navy told senators that he has “no regrets” about the firing of thousands of sailors and Marines who declined to take the COVID-19 shots.   

During a Capitol Hill hearing, Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Missouri) pressed Secretary Carlos Del Toro on the impact that both DEI (“Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion”) training courses and COVID jab mandates have had on Navy recruitment and pushed back against the Navy’s prioritization of “climate change” over keeping pace with America’s adversaries.    

Schmitt asked Del Toro about the 1,878 sailors and the 3,746 Marines who were fired for not taking the COVID shot: “Do you regret that?”  

“I have no regrets,” declared the Navy chief.  

“You have recruitment challenges,” said Sen. Schmitt. “You’re firing qualified people who are well-trained, and you sit here so smugly [and] act like none of that has any impact on the readiness of our Navy.”  

Del Toro, a Biden appointee, added that “we recontacted 3,500 of the 4,800 people who were fired. You know how many actually decided to come back to the Navy? Two.”

“Shocker,” declared Schmitt, who indicated that it was no wonder the disenfranchised personnel all but unanimously chose not to return because of “the level of disrespect they received from their government.”  

The Navy has attained less than 70% of its recruitment goal for the first half of 2024, according to a statement from Sen. Schmitt’s office, and is expected to be short roughly 6,700 sailors from its 2024 recruitment goal of 40,600.   

In 2023, the Navy fell short of its recruiting goal by 20%.  

Sen. Schmitt suggested that the COVID-19 jab firings aren’t the only reason that recruiting is down.   

“Do you believe that the obsession that the political leadership has right now with DEI has helped or hurt recruiting efforts?” Schmitt asked Del Toro.  

“I don’t think DEI has hurt recruiting efforts at all,” claimed the Navy Secretary.  

Schmitt went further and suggested that the Navy is indoctrinating its personnel through its DEI 101 materials, promoting “cultural Marxism.” 

Last June, Secretary Del Toro hosted a Department of the Navy DEI Summit with senior Navy and Marine Corps leaders.   

“In order to maintain our strategic edge, the Navy and Marine Corps team must operationalize innovative and cohesive initiatives, rooted in DEI’s goals,” insisted Secretary Del Toro at the DEI summit, according to Sen. Schmitt’s office.   

“The Navy’s DEI 101 online training facilitator guide focuses on the need to nurture a culture that ‘values diversity and emphasizes inclusion,’” despite the fact that a recent Department of Defense survey reported that “just 2% of the workforce lists racism as a problem,” noted Schmitt’s staff. 

Schmitt’s office also noted that the Navy ceded the title of the world’s largest Navy to Communist China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in 2020 and that currently, the Navy is retiring more ships than it is building, shrinking the Navy as the PLAN continues to grow. 

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