I guess this wouldn't have anything to do with the latin american sector head of Hamas caught in Tijuana...nah.
Texas gov. warns of car bombs on border
Governor wants Obama to address the 'threat' to TX
Updated: Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010, 8:25 AM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010, 8:25 AM CDT
* Josh Hinkle
AUSTIN (KXAN) - The surveillance video shows a slightly blurred image of a semitruck slowly winding down a roadway. Cars pass by the truck as normal. Suddenly, the truck erupts into a ball of fire, the explosion reaching at least 600 feet away. The camera begins to shake violently then goes black.
That scene from Iraq seemed common during the war there, but now Texas officials worry the same thing could happen closer to home.
In a letter delivered to President Barack Obama Monday on the tarmac at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Gov. Rick Perry wrote, "The Mexican cartels have recently added a new deadly weapon to their arsenal: Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED), which they use to attack their rivals and the police."
Citing car bomb examples from recent weeks just across the Texas-Mexican border in Juarez and Ciudad Victoria, Perry received no immediate answer from the president. The governor urged federal action before Texas communities suffer the same fate.
"An unsecured U.S.-Mexico border is a serious national security threat, menacing the safety and security of our citizens, and the federal government is obligated to secure it." Perry said Monday in Austin. "Our citizens deserve the best possible effort to protect them from this advancing network of criminal gangs."
In recent years, Mexican drug cartels have threatened the safety of people living in border towns. The governor requested 1,000 Title 32 National Guard troops for Texas, in addition to other resources, and said 286 National Guard personnel along the 1,200 mile border were not enough.
"Since 2006, this war has taken 28,000 lives," Perry included in his letter. "We cannot afford to allow these cartels to believe they're free to extend their reach across the border onto American soil."
Federal drug enforcement agents have told Austin officials during the last year these Mexican cartels are recruiting local gang members to push their products north into the U.S. So far, they have an increase in this practice in Austin , San Antonio and Houston.
On Tuesday, Perry met with border sheriffs in San Antonio to discuss that matter and the safety issues facing their cities.
"With all the resources we can put at their disposal, these law enforcement personnel constitute our first line of defense against the growing drug-related violence that is tearing apart northern Mexico," Perry said.
Perry also declined a border-security briefing from the National Security Council , which is chaired by Obama and his key Cabinet members. Perry said he "doesn't need to meet with some more down-level staff people."
The White House stated on Monday that the president has done more to secure the border than previous administrations. Perry's office said most of the money Texas has used to combat border issues came from the state, not federal funds. His office said Texas has committed more than $230 million during recent years for that purpose.
The U.S. State Department said journalists are particularly at risk in northern Mexico. Officials have warned journalists to wear body armor and hire security to do their jobs. They also said 30 have been killed there since 2006 , most of them Mexican journalists.
On July 15, three people died in Juarez after a car exploded there. STRATFOR , a global intelligence agency based in Austin, reported two of those deaths were federal police agents. Last week, a second car bombing in Ciudad Victoria damaged two police cars, but no deaths or injuries were reported.
STRATFOR also said drug cartels have recently threatened the use of VBIEDs. So far, the cartels have only used small car bombs (IEDs), armed assaults and grenade attacks.
A recent STRATFOR report states: "One other intriguing point about the security at the U.S. Consulate in Juarez and its closure -- due to La Linea's VBIED threat -- is that the incident did not occur at a diplomatic post in a far-away terrorist hotspot like Yemen, Iraq or Pakistan. The U.S Consulate in Juarez is located less than seven miles from downtown El Paso, Texas."
Contradictory to the governor's mention of VBIED use, STRATFOR said such a device has not been deployed in Mexico, although exlosives needed for such a detonation are readily available in the country. STRATOR said, based on the two recent smaller car bombings in northern Mexico, drug cartels could very well use the same technology to "craft a larger device, even a VBIED."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security classifies VBIEDs as potential weapons of mass destruction.
DHS officials said the devices typically carry 110 pounds up to 1,100 pounds of explosives, though they can be much bigger. In war zones, such as Iraq, VBIEDs have been driven into a target area and detonated.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives outlines the following car bomb ranges of impact as follows:
* Full-size sedan: 125 feet
* Passengar van: 200 feet
* Semi-trailer: 600 feet
EXCLUSIVE: DHS Caught and Released 481 ‘Fugitive’ Illegals from State Sponsors of Terror and ‘Countries of Interest’
Thursday, August 12, 2010
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer
U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal
(CNSNews.com EXCLUSIVE) - In the three fiscal years from 2007-2009, the Department of Homeland Security caught and released 481 illegal aliens from nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism and “countries of interest,” and those 481 aliens are now fugitives, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement database obtained by CNSNews.com as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request.
The four state sponsors of terrorism, as determined by the State Department, are Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba. The “countries of interest” are those additional countries whose citizens have been subjected to enhanced screening on U.S.-bound flights by the Transportation Security Administration as a result of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253.
On Jan. 3, 2010, TSA said in a statement that the agency was “mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world who holds a passport issued by or is traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening.” TSA did not specify which nations it considered “countries of interest.”
But a Jan. 4, 2010 New York Times report, citing Obama administration officials, identified them as Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.
A report in USA Today that day, citing the TSA as the source, described the full list of nations whose citizens would be targeted for enhanced security checks as “14 countries with terrorism problems.”
The database that ICE provided to CNSNews.com includes the date that each illegal alien was taken into custody (booked in) by the federal government, the date they were released (booked out), which of the 24 regional ICE jurisdictions they were booked in, the status of the case (whether the person has been deported, the case against him has been withdrawn, or whether the case is still active, etc.), the category of the case (which includes whether the person is a fugitive), the gender of the alien and his or her country of citizenship. DHS withheld the names and birthdates of the aliens.
Attorney General Eric Holder, right, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, center, and New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, during a news conference to update the attempted bombing in Times Square, Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
For the three fiscal years 2007, 2008 and 2009, the database shows that there are 481 “active” cases for “fugitives” from the 4 state sponsors of terror and 9 of the 10 “countries of interest.” There are no active fugitive cases for Libyan nationals.
The total number of active fugitive cases involving citizens from the four state sponsors and the 10 countries of interest include:
ICE Spokeswoman Gillian Brigham told CNSNews.com that a “fugitive” as listed in the database is defined as an individual who has been found legally deportable and has evaded authorities.
“A fugitive is an individual who has a final order of removal and has absconded,” Brigham said.
Although Cuba is named by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism, under U.S. law Cubans who escape from their native country and successfully reach U.S. soil are allowed to remain in the country. After one year and one day, they can apply for permanent resident status, which is granted unless the individual has committed a crime that could lead to deportation.
Brigham and Barbara Gonzalez, another spokeswoman with ICE, told CNSNews.com that the special status given to Cubans can be revoked for criminal conviction, but they could not confirm whether or not the 137 Cubans that were in ICE custody in fiscal 2007-2009 and are now listed as “fugitives” had criminal records.
When asked why illegal aliens from “countries of interest” or those from state sponsors of terrorism were released inside the United States after being detained, Brigham said that the number of illegal aliens undergoing immigration-law processing in the United States makes it impossible to keep all of them in custody.
“On any given day, the immigration detention system has about 32,000 beds available for people going through immigration proceedings,” Brigham said. “There are 1.6 million people going through some kind of immigration court proceeding. So you can’t detain everyone.”
Brigham said individuals that meet “mandatory detention” requirements, such as conviction for a certain classes of crimes, or who are determined to be a flight risk are the first to be assigned a detention space.
“We have to prioritize who we put in detention,” she said.
Of the 481 illegal aliens from state sponsors of terrorism and countries of interest who were initially detained in fiscal years 2007-2009 and who are now fugitives, 430 are male, 50 are female and the gender of one, according to the database, is “unknown.”
--Edwin Mora contributed to this report.
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