Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Terrorists at the Border

My article from the Sept. 19, 2014 issue of FrontPage magazine:

Terrorists at the Border

By Matthew Vadum

A Democratic congressman tried to use the might of the federal government to crush an investigation into reports that an Islamic terrorist group is using the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez as a base for launching an attack on the U.S. using car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).

The Islamofascist group in question is the extraordinarily brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) that has been conquering swathes of the Middle East with the long-term goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate. (ISIS is also known as the Islamic State group and by the Obama-preferred acronym ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.)

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, Texas, contacted the local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) “in an effort to identify—and evidently intimidate—sources that may have been used by” Judicial Watch, federal law enforcement sources told the  nonprofit good-government group.

Judicial Watch, which has been legally recognized by the courts as a media outlet, reported on the terrorist conspiracy on August 29. Citing high-level federal law enforcement, intelligence, and other sources, the group reported that the federal government was bracing for an imminent terrorist attack on the southern U.S. border.

Agents in the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Justice are all reportedly on alert and have been directed “to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat,” Judicial Watch reports.

O’Rourke’s office denies wrongdoing, but according to Judicial Watch the congressman’s telephone calls were followed by “a memo that came down through the chain of command threatening to terminate or criminally charge any agent who speaks to media of any kind.”

According to the Obama administration, Islamic terrorists are not operating in Ciudad Juarez. But the administration isn’t known for truth-telling. The White House has long downplayed the wave of violent crime, much of it committed by drug cartels, that rages along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The U.S. Border Patrol instructed its officers to steer clear of the most crime-infested portions of the border because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could lead to an “international incident” involving a cross-border shooting, Judicial Watch previously reported.

Yet a parade of Democratic politicians including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have declared the southern border to be secure despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

In addition to being soft on immigration and national security issues, left-wing lawmakers also don’t like being exposed by reporters.

In the Obama era Democratic politicians have a habit of punishing pesky journalists for doing their jobs. Many suspect the Obama White House played a decisive role in investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s abrupt departure from CBS News this past March after several of her news stories proved embarrassing to the administration.

Eric Holder’s Justice Department cracked down on investigative reporter Matthew Boyle, compounding its wrongdoing by unethically coordinating with the George Soros-funded character assassins at Media Matters for America.

And the Obama administration, in the words of CNN’s Jake Tapper, has used “the Espionage Act to go after whistleblowers who leaked to journalists … more than all previous administrations combined.” At least twice federal investigators have meddled in newsroom practices and put journalists in legal jeopardy.

Obama’s hostility to press freedoms doesn’t end there. His Federal Communications Commission wanted to place federal observers in newsrooms, ostensibly to study the news-gathering process. The media cried foul and the study has been dropped, at least for now.

Federal Election Commission chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, warns that his Democratic FEC colleagues could try to ban books during election season by regulating book publishers. “We have wounded the free-press clause of the First Amendment,” Goodman said earlier this year after the commission failed to rule that a book by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was entitled to a routinely granted so-called media exemption.

This is “the same exemption that typically lets newspaper editorials, television channels and other outlets say what they want about political figures without worrying about campaign finance laws,” Fox News reported.

Many leftists want to go even farther in regulating the media by abolishing private news organizations altogether.

While the Obama administration dithers, the Australian government dramatically dismantled an ISIS plot to murder Australians for propaganda purposes.

Police in Sydney, Australia thwarted a plot Thursday by Islamic State supporters down under to randomly behead Australians.

“The raids involving 800 federal and state police officers – the largest in the country’s history – came in response to intelligence that an Islamic State group leader in the Middle East was calling on Australian supporters to kill, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said,” according to the New York Post.

“Abbott was asked about reports that the detainees were planning to behead a random person in Sydney. ‘That’s the intelligence we received,’ Abbott told reporters. ‘The exhortations – quite direct exhortations – were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country.’

Will the Obama administration be as conscientious and effective as Australia has been when U.S.-born jihadis fighting for ISIS begin to return to America?

We’re going to find out, and probably sooner than you think.

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