Adm. James Loy, former Homeland Security deputy secretary, declined to comment on the specific plot outlined in the FBI memo, but earlier this year he suggested that such a threat is real.And not just a dirty bomb, how about actual functioning nuclear weapons?
"Entrenched human-smuggling networks and corruption in areas beyond our borders can be exploited by terrorist organizations," Loy said in written testimony at a congressional hearing in February. "Several al-Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons."
But law enforcement officials discounted the suggestion that terrorists would use the rugged Big Bend area to transport explosives - especially in a tractor-trailer that would glaringly stand out.
"I think there would be easier ways to get explosives inside the United States," said Benjamine Carry Huffman, assistant chief patrol agent for U.S. Customs & Border Protection in Marfa, Texas.
But the intelligence bulletin noted that the alleged terror plot, as relayed by the informant, was still a work in progress, leaving open the possibility that less conspicuous vehicles might be employed. And the FBI memo said that "one possible smuggling route Traca wanted to use was through Big Bend National Park."
The border patrol's Marfa sector is its largest, covering 510 miles of border with Mexico, including part of Big Bend National Park, and bordering the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Coahuila. With some 200 agents, it has the smallest force of any sector along the Mexican border, according to Bill Brooks, the sector spokesman.
Much of the area is desert and mountainous terrain, dotted by at least a dozen informal crossings known as Class B ports of entry. These consist of makeshift bridges capable of carrying foot and some lighter vehicle traffic. Authorities tried to seal them off after Sept. 11, 2001, but several have been re-established. Officials acknowledged that agents cannot regularly police the informal crossings.
"Who ever imagined that terrorists would use passenger planes to crash into tall buildings?" Hoffman said. "After September 11, we have to operate on a different mindset, one in which we take absolutely nothing for granted. Is it possible terrorists can come across this border with explosives or a dirty bomb? Absolutely."
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Close the Southern Border
Charles Johnson (the Blogfather) at LGF has posted the reason why, Possible Terrorist Plot at Texas Border. More from Charles' links news article;