By Sandy Fitzgerald
“At least 10” Islamic State (ISIS) fighters were captured trying to cross the Mexico border into Texas, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California claims, but the Department of Homeland security has called his statements “categorically false.”
Hunter told Fox News he learned the information from the Border Patrol, saying “they aren’t flying B1 bombers bombing American cities, but they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.
The Border Patrol “caught them,” Hunter said, but “you know there’s going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol.”
A senior Department of Homeland Security spokesman said Wednesday that suggestions that people with ties to ISIS have been apprehended at the southwest border are “not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground.”
The spokesman also said there is no credible intelligence suggesting any terrorist organizations are “actively plotting to cross the southwest border.”
Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper said the information about the individuals “with known ISIS affiliations” came from a “high-level source within the Border Patrol,” and the congressman is merely “conveying what he knows, and what he was told.”
Kasper said “the left hand of DHS doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. It’s been that way for a long time and we don’t expect that to change.”
Hunter is not alone in saying the Islamic State agents have crossed the border. Last month, former CIA agent Bob Baer told CNN that there are already ISIS cells in the United States, and he has learned from intelligence services that some of the extremist group’s agents have crossed the Mexican border.
While DHS maintains there is no evidence that anyone with terrorist ties has come across from Mexico, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged to Fox News last week that four men with suspected ties were stopped at the border and questioned, although officials found “no evidence that these individuals were tied to terrorism.”
Johnson also emphasized at a hearing last month that there was “no specific intelligence or evidence” showing the Islamic State is trying to come across the Mexican border.
National Counterterrorism Center head Matthew Olsen, during the same meeting, said there have been some ISIS sympathizers posting social media messages, but “we’ve seen nothing to indicate there is any sort of operational effort or plot to infiltrate or move operatives” across the border.