FIRST ON FOX: Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich – the latest Republican to link the border crisis to the situation in Afghanistan – is warning of a potential terrorist threat via the southern border from prisoners being freed by the Taliban.
In a letter to President Biden, Brnovich pointed to comments made by former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott about the threat of terrorists potentially making their way through the southern border amid the ongoing migration crisis facing the U.S.
“I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis,” Scott said in a video message to agents, as reported by The Washington Examiner. “Immigration is just a subcomponent of it, and right now, it’s just a cover for massive amounts of smuggling going across the southwest border — to include TSDBs at a level we have never seen before. That’s a real threat.”
TSDBs refers to migrants whose names match those on the Terrorist Screening Center Database. It is not publicly available how many migrants have names on the TSDB, but in March, Fox News reported that at least four migrants whose names match those on the terror watch list had been picked up by U.S. Border Patrol since the beginning of the fiscal year.
Brnovich linked Scott’s statements to the Taliban’s freeing of thousands of prisoners – including terrorists – as they take control of Afghanistan ahead of the U.S. withdrawal at the end of the month.
“These statements from a high-ranking Border Patrol official are frightening — especially as Americans are watching news coverage of thousands of prisoners, including many terrorists, being released by the Taliban in Afghanistan,” he wrote to Biden. “Americans are now facing an unprecedented terrorism threat level in their own backyards.”
Brnovich urges Biden to visit the Arizona-Mexico border, which he says is the “front lines of this border catastrophe.” More than 212,000 migrants were encountered in July, an increase from the already high numbers encountered in June.
“We need to take decisive action to secure our border and prevent terrorists, gang members, and hardened criminals from accessing our ports of entry,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Republicans on the House committees on Homeland Security, Armed Services and Foreign Affairs last week wrote to national security adviser Jake Sullivan about reports that thousands of prisoners – including Taliban fighters and al Qaeda and Islamic State members – had been released.
“The rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan suggests that the region may once-again return to being a terrorist safe-haven, serving to train foreign fighters while allowing terrorist groups to plot, direct and inspire attacks against the United States and the American people,’ the letter from Reps. John Katko, R-NY, Michael McCaul, R-Texas and Mike Rogers, R-Ala., said.
In their letter, they also referenced the southern border as well as the Border Patrol chief’s comments, and expressed concern about an overwhelmed Border Patrol missing a terror threat.
“While U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plays a critical role in identifying and mitigating terrorist travel, the agency is currently strapped for resources as it manages the fallout from the administration’s disastrous border policies,” they said.
They requested information from the White House including how the U.S. is tracking released prisoners who may pose a threat, what steps are being taken to mitigate foreign travel by released prisoners and whether individuals are being added to the Terror Screening Database.