It appears that a report in late August in which it was revealed that Texas authorities had learned that ISIS terrorists may have been planning to infiltrate the United States through the porous southern border where they would execute attacks on American targets was not merely chatter. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the threat of ISIS infiltration via Mexico was and remains real.
The Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo reported on Wednesday that Francis Taylor, undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, testified before Congress about the scope of the threat.
“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in response to a question about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.”
“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said, explaining that border security agents are working to tighten measures that would prevent this from taking place.
“The security at the southwestern border is of great concern to the department and I certainly understand the concerns of the citizens of your state,” he told McCain. “If I gave you the impression I thought the border security was what it needed to be to protect against all the risks coming across the state that’s not what I meant to say.”
As disturbing as that report is, some might say it pales in comparison to another which surfaced in Foreign Policy on Tuesday. A laptop belonging to a Tunisian chemistry student recovered from ISIS custody was recently revealed to have contained rudimentary plans to manufacture and distribute biological weapons. Those were not the only plans for unconventional weapons that this device contained.
One 21-minute clip, featuring former American Nazi Party member Kurt Saxon, offers instructions for how to obtain the deadly toxin ricin from castor beans. Saxon provides a detailed description of the process, producing the ricin on camera. “Now you really have some lethal stuff here!” he exclaims, once he is finished. “Now this is fan-tas-tic stuff!”
Muhammed also compiled speeches by 112 other jihadi leaders. They include Juhayman al-Otaybi, who led the attack on the Kaaba in Mecca in 1979; Sayyid Qutb, an important ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood; Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s mentor and one of the main ideologues of al Qaeda; and Abdullah al-Nafisi, a Kuwaiti professor notable for calling for massive anthrax attacks within the United States and saying on Al Jazeera Arabic that he hopes American white supremacists succeed in attacking a nuclear power plant. “May Allah grant success to one of the militia leaders,” he said.
The laptop’s contents make it clear that its owner has one huge passion: destruction. The folders are meticulously organized: In one folder marked “explosives” — a sub-folder within another marked “terrorist,” which is itself in a sub-folder marked “Jihadi” — Muhammed had gathered 206 documents. They include publications by Western authors for commercial sale, such as How to Make Semtex, Chemistry and Technology of Explosives, CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices, and The Car Bomb Recognition Guide. Also among the documents is A Guide to Field-Manufactured Explosives, which American author William Wallace begins by writing, “This book is for academic study only.”
The Islamic State apparently has a penchant for following the works of American neo-Nazis, a deep interest in chemical, biological, and radiological warfare, and are actively attempting to infiltrate the United States. These are exactly the kind of people you don’t want to provoke. After all, according to Chris Matthews, if you were to execute military strikes against them, they may get mad.
Correction: An earlier iteration of this post indicated that ISIS was planning to infiltrate the U.S. via the southern border. The United States is not aware of a plan, but the possibility of infiltration exists.