MADISON, Wis. — As the world lays to rest another bloody year of terrorist attacks, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee says the risks at home continue to grow.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said the information revealed in the committee’s 13 hearings on border security during his tenure is increasingly grim.
“The conclusion, and it’s an obvious conclusion: Our border is not secure,” the Oshkosh Republican told Wisconsin Watchdog recently on the Vicki McKenna Show on NewsTalk 1310 in Madison. “If I’m looking at all potential threats of having Islamic terrorist operatives coming to this country, I would look no further than our southern border.”
The United States Southern Command has testified about the growing numbers of SIAs, or Special Interest Aliens, immigrants from nations like Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, many with known or potential terrorist ties.
Border security organizations have picked up several members of known Islamist terrorist groups crossing the southern border in recent years, Texas law enforcement officials reported in February.
Meanwhile, former U.S. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey testified that law enforcement only interdicts about 10 percent of illegal drugs coming into the southern border, and as little as 11 percent from U.S. maritime borders. Johnson said that metric shows how dangerously porous U.S. borders are.
“The border is not secure because on a bipartisan basis we have not made a commitment to do it,” the senator said. “That is, from my standpoint, our greatest threat of Islamic terrorism operatives coming into this nation. Of course, we’ve got an enormous threat of the ISIS-inspired attacks on our homeland by homegrown terrorists like we just saw in San Bernardino.”
In an interview with National Public Radio’s Steve Inskeep, President Obamaresponded to his plummeting polls on his handling of ISIS and homeland security by asserting that things are better than they appear. ISIS, or ISIL as he calls the terrorist organization, benefits by “savvy media operations.”
“Well, I think what’s fair is that post-Paris you had a saturation of news about the horrible attack there. And ISIL (ISIS) combines viciousness with very savvy media operations,” Obama said. “And as a consequence, if you’ve been watching television for the last month, all you have been seeing, all you have been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you.”
“And so I understand why people are concerned about it, and this is a serious situation, but what is important is for people to recognize that the power, the strength of the United States and its allies are not threatened by an organization like this; in the same way that al-Qaida was able to carry out one spectacular attack, we ended up making some significant changes to harden homeland defenses,” Obama added.
Johnson said the president may have deluded himself, but he certainly has attempted to delude the American people about the ISIS threat.
Total terrorist attacks worldwide have dramatically increased in recent years. Attacks grew from 6,700 in 2012 to 11,500 in 2013, killing nearly 22,000 people, according to the U.S. State Department.
Last year, between January and September there were some 13,000 terror attacks orchestrated, killing 31,000 people, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress in February.
“The threat of terrorism, the statistics, are growing at an alarming rate, and we’ve got President Obama, the chief executive of the world’s super power, really deluding the American public, not being honest with them about the threat ISIS poses because the bottom line is he doesn’t want to deal with it,” Johnson said.