It has been said that the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge the existence of the problem. It has also been said that where there is a will, there is a way.
The nexus between immigration and terrorism is well established, however, the currently fashionable denial of that nexus by globalists from both parties has prevented the application of remedies to address the vulnerabilities in the immigration system that terror sleeper cells are known to exploit — particularly the lack of resources for the interior enforcement of our immigration laws.
On April 17, 2018 the House Committee on Homeland Security, Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman Peter King of New York, conducted a hearing on the topic, “State Sponsors Of Terrorism: An Examination Of Iran’s Global Terrorism Network.”
The Subcommittee’s website posted this paragraph in announcing the hearing:
Iran, a State Sponsor of Terrorism, continues to invest in proxy terrorist and militant organizations that threaten the Homeland and US interests and engage in activities that impede US counterterrorism goals. This hearing will examine trends in Iran’s external operations and capabilities and consider the near-term and long-term security implications of Iranian support for Shia militants and terrorist groups operating in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Latin America.
The prepared testimony of one of the witnesses, Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, included this excerpt:
In recent years, Hezbollah’s Latin American networks have also increasingly cooperated with violent drug cartels and criminal syndicates, often with the assistance of local corrupt political elites. Cooperation includes laundering of drug money; arranging multi-ton shipments of cocaine to the United States and Europe; and directly distributing and selling illicit substances to distant markets. Proceeds from these activities finance Hezbollah’s arms procurement; its terror activities overseas; its hold on Lebanon’s political system; and its efforts, both in Lebanon and overseas, to keep Shi’a communities loyal to its cause and complicit in its endeavors.
This toxic crime-terror nexus is fueling both the rising threat of global jihadism and the collapse of law and order across Latin America that is helping drive drugs and people northward into the United States. It is sustaining Hezbollah’s growing financial needs. It is helping Iran and Hezbollah consolidate a local constituency in multiple countries across Latin America. It is thus facilitating their efforts to build safe havens for terrorists and a continent-wide terror infrastructure that they could use to strike U.S. targets.
I urge you to watch the video of the hearing and read the prepared statements of all four expert witnesses, although you should not do this before bedtime, if you value a good night’s sleep.
The Washington Free Beacon published a report about the hearing with the unambiguous and disconcerting headline, Iranian-Backed ‘Sleeper Cell’ Militants Hibernating in U.S., Positioned for Attack.
Generally “sleeper cells” are comprised of “sleeper agents,” that is to say, foreign nationals (aliens) who enter the United States either legally or illegally maintain a very low profile while they go about their deadly preparations and await instructions to carry out deadly terror attacks inside the United States.
While the four expert witnesses at this hearing were not in complete agreement about all of the issues discussed, particularly expressing somewhat divergent perspectives on U.S. participation in the Iranian nuclear agreement, they all agreed about the threats posed to U.S national security by Iranian sleeper agents and the ability for additional enemy combatants to easily infiltrate into the U.S. to carry out deadly terror attacks.
Now that President Trump has, understandably, withdrawn from the Iran agreement we can’t ignore the possibility that at some point, Iran may activate its sleeper cells in the United States.
However, concerns about terror sleeper cells poised to strike in the United States are anything but new.
Shortly after the terror attacks of 9/11 politicians and journalists frequently made reference to the threat posed by sleeper agents. However, as efforts mounted by various globalist organizations and immigration anarchists ramped up, the term “sleeper” disappeared almost as quickly as the term “alien” had been expunged from the vernacular in the immigration debate, along with any reference to the 9/11 Report. The obvious goal has been to obfuscate the nexus between immigration and terrorism. Hence, the disingenuous term “homegrown” frequently describes alien terrorists who, since entry into the United States, acquired lawful immigration status, including United States citizenship.
Page 263 of the 9/11 Commission Report contained references to concerns that al-Qaeda sleeper cells were likely embedded in the United States.
Here is the relevant paragraph:
Clarke mentioned to National Security Advisor Rice at least twice that al Qaeda sleeper cells were likely in the United States. In January 2001, Clarke forwarded a strategy paper to Rice warning that al Qaeda had a presence in the United States. He noted that two key al Qaeda members in the Jordanian cell involved in the millennium plot were naturalized U.S. citizens and that one jihadist suspected in the East Africa bombings had “informed the FBI that an extensive network of al Qida ‘sleeper agents’ currently exists in the US.” He added that Ressam’s abortive December 1999 attack revealed al Qaeda sup- porters in the United States. His analysis, however, was based not on new threat reporting but on past experience.
Not only did Richard Clarke make note of the presence of “sleeper agents” agents in the United States, but also that “two key al Qaeda members in the Jordanian cell involved in the millennium plot were naturalized U.S. citizens[.]”
That naturalized citizens had been involved in terror plots illustrates failures of the vetting process and background investigations that, by law, are supposed to demonstrate that applicants for U.S. Citizenship possess “Good Moral Character.”
In the years after the attacks of 9/11 we have seen other naturalized citizens participate in terror attacks, including one of the Tsarnaev brothers who committed the savage attacks at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. They had all likely committed fraud in their applications for visas and various immigration benefits that went undetected.
The 9/11 Commission Report and the companion report, 9/11 and Terrorist Travel warned about how international terrorists used immigration and visa fraud as primary methods of entry and embedding into the United States.
A succession of hearings conducted in both the Senate and House of Representatives have also focused on the threats posed to America and Americans by international terrorists. I have testified before a number of those hearings and I have raised concerns about sleeper agents and how they have exploited vulnerabilities in the immigration system.
My recently published booklet, Immigration Fraud, Lies That Kill explores the issue of immigration fraud in great detail, particularly where such fraud undermines national security and public safety, facilitating the entry and embedding of sleeper agents.
My recent article, Jihadis and Drug Cartels At Our Border focused on the threats posed to American national security by the presence of terrorists in Latin America primarily in terror training camps in the Tri-Border Region of Brazil operated by Hamas and Hezbollah and likely includes members of al-Qaeda and perhaps ISIS and by the constant flow of Iranian Quds Forces into Caracas, Venezuela from Tehran.
According to information provided by expert witnesses at the hearing, globally, Hezbollah and Iranian Quds Forces are comprised of more than an astounding 200,000 well-trained, well-equipped and “battle-hardened” members.
Yet, inexplicably, America’s borders still serve as little more than “speed bumps” to human traffickers and drug smugglers (often these criminals are one and the same). We continue to have an ever-expanding Visa Waiver Program that should have been terminated the afternoon of September 11, 2001 and an abject lack of resources to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States, while Sanctuary Cities Endanger – National Security and Public Safety.
Even after the publication of the 9/11 Commission Report and other such reports, even after a seemingly endless succession of hearings about the sleeper agents and an extensive list of failures of the immigration system, and even after deadly terror attacks around the United States, nothing of consequence has been done to fix the dysfunctional immigration system.
America still has yet to hire more ICE agents and other personnel to conduct investigations and field operations from within the interior of the U.S. even though the 9/11 Commission identified a lack of effective interior enforcement of the immigration laws as vital to combat terrorism.
Congress has yet to provide funding for construction of a wall to secure our southern border to stop the flow of drugs and international transnational criminals and gang members into the United States.
The only conclusion that can today be reached, is not that our “leaders” are not aware of the threats- but they obviously don’t give a damn!
Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 I have testified before more than 15 Congressional hearings on immigration and have often thought that Congress should stop holding “hearings” and begin holding “listenings!”
My mom used to say, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Election Day is coming and with it, the opportunity for us to act, in our own best interests and those of our nation.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.