Authored by Autumn Spredemann via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Hamas's terror attack on Israel is having ripple effects around the world, and the porous U.S. borders are again in the spotlight.
"The same terrorists that just carried out this horrific attack in Israel—their hatred and their unwavering commitment ... to do harm to the United States, is alive and well," Mark Morgan, who served as acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the Trump administration, told The Epoch Times.
"Nobody in their right mind can say that our border is secure."
There's a real concern that terrorists have already crossed the U.S. border, particularly within the group of more than 1.6 million illegal immigrants who evaded Border Patrol upon entry and are unknown to officials, Mr. Morgan said.
In the past 11 months, 151 people on the terror watchlist have been arrested by Border Patrol after crossing illegally, while tens of thousands of other "special interest aliens" have entered and been released, he said. "Special interest" means that they hail from countries with direct ties to state-sponsored terrorist groups, including Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, and Pakistan.
Another terror attack inside the United States like the 2013 Boston bombing or the 2015 San Bernardino, California, mass shooting and attempted bombing, is imminent, Mr. Morgan warned.
"It's coming. It's coming. No one can predict, but what I will say is, there could already be a cell in the United States planning the next terrorist attack, and we would have no idea," he said. "That's a fair statement; that's not hyperbolic."
Terror concerns in the United States are escalating, especially as thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets around the country.
FBI Director Chris Wray, in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego on Oct. 14, encouraged law enforcement officers to stay vigilant.
"You’re often the first to see the signs that someone may be mobilizing to violence," he said.
"In this heightened environment, there’s no question we’re seeing an increase in reported threats, and we’ve got to be on the lookout, especially for lone actors who may take inspiration from recent events to commit violence of their own."
Meanwhile, the FBI issued a statement on Oct. 9, saying that it doesn't have "specific and credible intelligence indicating a threat to the United States stemming from the Hamas attacks."
The lack of intelligence may not mean a lot, because the attack on Israel showed a "colossal intelligence failure," Mr. Morgan, who also served as an FBI agent for 20 years, said.
He said that a terror event such as Hamas's attack that killed 1,400 Israelis, including children, on Oct. 7 can serve as a trigger event.
"We have people in our own country that are actually supporting Hamas, supporting the actions of babies being decapitated, of being burned alive, of women being savagely raped and videotaped," Mr. Morgan said.
"When you have this deep-rooted, irrational ideology, to be inspired to move to radicalization, then action can be very quick. Generally, it takes an event—and we have that now."
Hamas sympathizers brandishing Palestinian flags stood outside of the White House on Oct. 14 chanting "Free Palestine." Some demonstrators wore head and face coverings commonly associated with jihadist groups.
National security lawyer and regional analyst Irina Tsukerman said much the same about the threat that Hamas agents pose to the United States.
“There is significant pro-Hamas support in the United States already, both among leftist radicals and apologists in academia, and Palestinian activists and their allies, such as the crowds rallying with Hamas in various big cities around the United States in the past few days,” she told The Epoch Times.
Ms. Tsukerman said she disagrees with the FBI's Oct. 9 statement that suggests there's no current specific threat to the United States.
“The FBI is wrong. Khaled Meshaal called for his supporters to attack Western and other targets. ... That could well include the United States or at least Jewish and Israeli targets in the United States,” she said.
Mr. Meshaal is the former chief of Hamas. In a cryptic recording sent to international media outlets, initially reported by Reuters on Oct. 11, the terrorist commander said, "To all scholars who teach jihad ... to all who teach and learn, this is a moment for the application [of theories]."
On Oct. 8, an Iran proxy terrorist group called Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) warned the United States against getting involved in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
"Palestine is not Ukraine," the terror group stated.
"Any direct American entrance into the conflict for the crumbling entity [Israel] will make all American positions in the region legitimate targets."
The fanatical group is one of many through which Iran pushes its political agenda in the region. Another one of these is Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is reportedly holding an Israeli captive amid the newest conflict with Hamas.
Like Hamas and KSS, Hezbollah is an Iranian-funded Islamic terrorist group. In 2020, the U.S. State Department stated that Iran provides $100 million in annual aid to Hamas and another $700 million to Hezbollah.
However, while most of these organizations’ actions are limited to the Middle East, Hezbollah has terrorist cells operating in the Americas.
Wave of Mobilization
In Latin America, Hezbollah has quietly been putting down roots for decades, and the U.S. government is aware of it.
“It is important to note that the relationship Hezbollah has developed with criminal and terrorist groups in Latin America has escalated from one of mutual accommodation and benefit in the spheres of money laundering, contraband, and financing to more direct and deadly forms of collaboration,” a 2012 U.S. Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence report noted.
On Sept. 12, the U.S. Department of Treasury enacted sanctions on three people associated with Hezbollah’s illicit financial activities in Latin America.
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