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Authorities have seen no signs of al Qaeda trying to insert operatives into the United States from Mexico, but the militant group has considered doing so, a U.S. intelligence official said on Friday.
The comments by Charles Allen, Homeland Security undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, could undercut one argument by advocates in and out of government for get-tough tactics to fight illegal crossings at the southern U.S. border -- that they are needed to fight terrorism.
"We know of no trained al Qaeda operatives who have crossed over our southern border," Allen told reporters.
"We do know that going back to 2004, the southern border is something that al Qaeda's central leadership has looked at. But we know of no specifics of where al Qaeda has really endeavored to cross our borders in the south," he said.
"The flow of illegal traffic through the border region imperils our ability to fight terrorism by stopping the illegal entry of terrorists," the Homeland Security department said earlier this month in justifying the latest waivers, for 500 miles of potential fencing.
Allen said there have been militant "sympathizers and fund-raisers for Hizbollah" trying to cross from the south, but no trained operatives have been discovered.
A Homeland Security Department official said those crossings, and the potential for operatives to cross, are sufficient threats to help justify the fence construction's urgency.
When was the last terrorist attack on US soil? How many years ago?
Originally posted by biggie smalls
So much for terrorists coming through the southern border.
As long as al qaeda has "considered" invading the US, I guess its ok to build the fence, right? The border fence is not going to stop illegal immigration. Where there is a will, there is a way.