Was the United States closer to a terrorist attack on home soil on the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, than Americans realize?
At a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, questioned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about a report that four men with known ties to Middle East terrorist groups were apprehended on Sept. 10, as they tried to cross the Texas border.
“I’ve heard reports to that effect, but I don’t know the accuracy of the reports or how much credence to give them,” Johnson said nonchalantly, while scratching his nose.
Again, this is coming from the man whose task is to “secure the nation from the many threats we face,” as the department defines its mission.
Chaffetz was a guest Wednesday on “The Kelly File,” and after noting that Johnson did not confirm or deny the report, host Megyn Kelly explained that Chaffetz had earlier asked Johnson if any suspected or known terrorist have ever been apprehended on the southern border.
“Sitting here right now, no specific case comes to mind,” Johnson answered, according to Kelly. “That doesn’t mean there is none, perhaps FBI director [James] Comey can think of one.”
Feeling more secure now?
Chaffetz noted that 466,000 people have been caught illegally crossing the U.S. border over the last 351 days, with 157,000 getting away, according to Homeland Security — those captured came from 143 different countries, including Syria, Iraq and Iran.
“We have a porous border […] I’m worried about [Islamic State militants] actually coming to the United States and crossing that porous border and getting into the homeland,” he told Kelly.
The New York Times reported Monday that that Homeland Security pushed back on such concerns.
“There is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIL to attempt to cross the southern border,” Homeland Security officials told the Times in a written statement.
See the full exchange between Kelly and Chaffetz on the Fox News video here.