Report: 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists planned to attack Fort Huachuca? Update: Fort vulnerable?

After infiltrating the United States through the Mexican border, of course. Seems thin, but still thick enough to get the attention of the FBI, CIA, DIA and Border Patrol. Tancredo 1, Levy 0.

Fort Huachuca, the nation’s largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.

Fort officials changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were to be smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high-powered weapons to attack the Arizona Army base, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times…

According to the FBI advisory, each Middle Easterner paid Mexican drug lords $20,000 “or the equivalent in weapons” for the cartel’s assistance in smuggling them and their weapons through tunnels along the border into the U.S…

According to the source who spoke with DEA intelligence agents, the weapons included two Milan anti-tank missiles, Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles, grenade launchers, long guns and handguns.

“FBI Comment: The surface-to-air missiles may in fact be RPGs,” the advisory stated, adding that the weapons stash in Mexico could include two or three more Milan missiles.

Supposedly some of the jihadis are already here and in a safe house in Texas. DHS calls the secondary source credible but “none of the information provided by the sub-source in the past has been corroborated.” In fact, the DEA suspects that this is one cartel’s attempt to get the U.S. to crack down on another cartel by tying it to a phantom terror plot.

Riddle me this: Why would 60 terrorists, having successfully infiltrated and armed themselves to the teeth with high explosives, waste their efforts in an assault on a fort? Even a juicy target like the intel center at Huachuca isn’t going to suffer much damage before troops stationed at the base put down the attack. With 60 guys you could fan out and send teams of 10 to hit Phoenix, Vegas, Albuquerque, Houston, etc etc. Why waste a cell like that on such a futile attack? Better yet, why send so many guys in the first place? The bigger the crew, the more likely that someone will talk or some lead will be picked up and the whole thing will unravel. If they’re intent on a symbolic attack on the base, 10-20 guys would be smarter.

Also, don’t the national identities here seem a tad convenient? The 9/11 hijackers were from all over the region. The car-bomb plotters this summer were from different countries too, as were the airline plot bombers last year. It’s rare, especially for a huge cell like this, that it would be so limited by nationality. Sounds more to me like a tall tale cooked up by a guy who doesn’t know much about terrorism but does know which countries the U.S. invaded.

Update: I imported a few comments from yesterday’s headline about this into the thread below.

Update: Another thing. The report was issued in May. What have our jihadi friends been up to since then? You’d think they would have gone to Plan B by now.

Update: Alas, the Foxies picked this one up and ran with it this morning.

Update: Another good point, from MB4 in the comments:

Why would Mexican drug cartels be involved in this? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as they are making mucho dinero now and an act like this might well tip the balance to shutting down the border along with their mucho dinero.

Update: An interesting e-mail from a reader.

I just wanted to provide some basic (public domain, unclassified) information about Ft. Huachuca to put the threats in context. I’m a former Army interrogator, and worked at Ft. Huachuca following the end of my enlistment as an instructor at the intel school. First, there are no combat arms units stationed at Ft. Huachuca. The vast majority of the personnel belong to one Signal Brigade and the intel school. This isn’t Ft. Bragg, with a few hundred soldiers carrying around live ammunition at any given time, to effectively respond to a serious attack.

Secondly, I would like to address the stories about soldiers “unable” to interdict illegals crossing the border through Huachuca. Ft. Huachuca southern edge runs along the Huachuca Mountains, which for all intents and purposes border Mexico. There are a number of crossings made along the mountains in hopes that the rough terrain will discourage active enforcement by the Border Patrol (a vain hope, but that’s tangential.) The majority of the field training sites for the base are at the base of the mountains, and as a result, occasionally trainees at the intel school, most of whom have not been in the Army for even six months, will encounter a party crossing. Since the field exercises are focused on intel training, and not combat operations, rarely will these soldiers have lethal tools available to them. Coyotes, on the other hand, frequently carry handguns and more when crossing the border. As such, these trainees are instructed prior to the exercises *not* to interdict potentially armed individuals, nor attempt to engage in law enforcement operations they are neither trained nor credentialed to carry out (please note that military forces are explicitly banned from general law enforcement activities under the Posse Comitatus Act.) Rather, they are ordered to report immediately to instructional personnel, who in turn immediately report the sighting to both Military Police and Border Patrol. Fort Huachuca is not a large installation, and such crossing parties don’t get far after being sighted by trainees.