There’s something of a disconnect going on out in Colorado this week, where Governor John Hickenlooper has apparently missed a few memos from his law enforcement community. The headline for the Governor was his rejection of the position taken by 26 other state executives in insisting that, contrary to the blaring horns of reality, his state would welcome Syrian immigrants. (Denver Post)
Colorado will not join states where governors are asking to block the White House from sending them Syrian refugees in the wake of the terrorist attack on Paris Friday.
“A few short days ago we witnessed another senseless act of terrorism,” Hickenlooper said in statement. “Our hearts go out to the families, friends and loved ones of those lost and injured in Paris, and in other acts of terror around the world.
“Our first priority remains the safety of our residents. We will work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure the national verification processes for refugees are as stringent as possible. We can protect our security and provide a place where the world’s most vulnerable can rebuild their lives.”
Certainly a compassionate outlook, but perhaps not terribly realistic. Also, one normally expects a chief executive to consult with his experts when formulating any policy decisions. When it comes to ensuring the “safety of our residents” during tense times such as these, perhaps the Governor should have checked in with his sheriffs. There’s a bit of mental association required here, but it was just this week when a collection of his top law enforcement officials fired off a letter to the President of the United States expressing their concerns over an ISIS presence here in America. (Judicial Watch)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has nearly 1,000 active probes involving the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside the United States, dozens of law enforcement officials disclose in a letter to President Obama.
The officials are elected sheriffs in Colorado making a case against the administration’s plan to transfer terrorists held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to facilities in the state. Forty-one of Colorado’s elected sheriffs fired off the letter after two federal prisons in Florence (Supermax and the U.S. Penitentiary) along with a state complex near Canon City were reviewed by the Pentagon for the potential transfer. The plan is part of the president’s longtime promise to close the top-security compound at the U.S. Naval base in southeast Cuba.
Granted, what the sheriffs are talking about is the President’s half baked plan to transfer Gitmo detainees to mainland locations, potentially including Colorado. It’s a valid concern and one worth bringing to the attention of the White House. But at the same time, the sheriffs have shined a rather glaring light on a different problem, even if it was done inadvertently. Consider this comment from their letter.
“We believe it would be dangerously naive not to recognize that a civilian prison with an untold number of enemy combatant inmates, located in our state, would provide a very tempting target for anyone wishing to either free these detainees or simply wishing to make a political statement.”
They’re worried about one specific target: a prison where some of the ISIS moles might organize a strike in an attempt to free Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his friends. But while that’s a valid concern, (as it most assuredly is) when the FBI suspects that there are already numerous ISIS cells setting up shop here, why would you risk bringing in some battle hardened terrorist veterans who would find material and logistical support from those cells? And once armed, they would have any number of easier (read: “soft”) targets to choose from rather than striking at a Supermax which is crawling with armed guards. Which way do you suppose they would choose to go, particularly in light of the warnings coming from the home office that Paris style attacks are coming to a town near you?
Hickenlooper should digest the information being provided by his sheriffs and fit that into his larger strategy decisions. More than two dozen governors are already bucking the White House and saying they don’t need the additional risk of these migrants in their states. There is every reason for Colorado to join that list unless political posturing is taking precedence over the Governor’s responsibilities to his citizens.