UPDATE, April 6, 2021: Tuesday evening, The Western Journal received the following response from a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection:
“The news release in question was not properly reviewed and contained certain disclosure and policy information related to national security that required CBP to remove it from our website.”
This article remains below as published:
If there’s an innocent explanation, Republicans would love to hear it.
A news release issued Monday by Customs and Border Protection about the arrest of terror suspects along the southern border brimmed with brio about agents’ fulfilling their mission of protecting the American people from alien threats entering the country illegally.
By Tuesday, the release had been disappeared — and Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee want to know why.
As reported by The Washington Times, DHS removed, without explanation, its own report about two Yemeni nationals detained in separate incidents in January and March after the men crossed into the United States from Mexico.
When processing the men, according to an archived version of Monday’s news release, Border Patrol agents found their names matched those on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List as well as the No-Fly List maintained by the bureau’s Terrorist Screening Center.
The first suspect, a 33-year-old, was arrested Jan. 29. The second was arrested March 30. Both were in federal custody, the release stated.
“Part of the Border Patrol’s mission states we will protect the country from terrorists,” Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino said in the release.
“Today, like every other day, our agents did that. These apprehensions at our border illustrate the importance of our mission and how we can never stop being vigilant in our everyday mission to protect this great country.”
A day later, it seems, illustrating the importance of protecting the border from terrorists wasn’t all that important. As National Review media reporter Tobias Hoonhout noted Tuesday, at the link where the release had been, viewers got a different message entirely:
A Twitter post published Monday announcing the arrests was also apparently deleted, and House Republicans are not amused. In a Twitter post published Tuesday, GOP representatives on the House Homeland Security Committee demanded answers.
“Why did you take down your previously public tweet & press release announcing that two people on the terror watch list were apprehended exploiting President Biden’s open border policies?” asked the post on the House Homeland GOP Twitter account, in a question addressed to the Department of Homeland Security and CBP.
“Transparency in name alone is not transparency.”
.@DHSgov & @CBP Why did you take down your previously public tweet & press release announcing that two people on the terror watch list were apprehended exploiting President Biden’s open border policies?
Transparency in name alone is not transparency. https://t.co/6SONcvlwAa
— House Homeland GOP (@HomelandGOP) April 6, 2021
This is no small question.
As President Joe Biden’s administration struggles to deal with the border catastrophe it caused by following through with the Democratic Party’s near-treasonous embrace of illegal aliens who cross the border in defiance of American law and sovereignty, hiding the scale of the disaster from the American people has clearly become a priority.
Media outlets have been kept from covering the story properly. Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Braun even told Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner that one of “Biden’s representatives” on a tour of the border by a group of senators had tried to get him to delete pictures he’d taken of overcrowded detention centers.
And, of course, it’s not just “innocent” illegal aliens that are a concern. The southern border is the soft underbelly of American security. A country that makes citizens wait in interminable lines to go through the kabuki theater of airport security apparently has no problems under a Democratic president with letting tens of thousands of unscreened strangers cross its borders.
Is it any wonder terrorists might try to take advantage of the opportunity that offers?
A fact sheet distributed by the DHS in 2019 estimated that its agents intercept 10 individuals on the Terrorism Watch List per day trying to enter the country.
“Most of these individuals are trying to enter the U.S. by air, but we must also be focused on stopping those who try to get in by land,” the fact sheet stated.
And take a guess where those trying to come in by land might be most tempted.
Monday’s amazing disappearing news release wasn’t the first report of potential terror suspects being stopped at the border.
In March, the generally liberal news outlet Axios reported — with obvious reluctance — that it had confirmed the arrests of four individuals since the start of the fiscal year whose names matched the Terrorism Watch List. Three of those individuals were from Yemen and one was from Serbia, Axios reported.
The same day that Axios report was published, New York Rep. John Katko, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, declared at a news conference in El Paso, Texas, “Individuals that they have on the watchlist for terrorism are now starting to exploit the southern border. We need to wake up.”
Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens crossing into the country, thanks to the Biden administration’s determination to undo every work of former President Donald Trump (who’d restored order and sanity to the border), and only a handful have shown up with possible ties to terrorism.
But the whole idea of terrorism is that it can be carried out by only a few to have an impact on the many – the 9/11 attacks by 19 committed killers changed the lives of millions forever.
It doesn’t take a national security specialist to understand that the country’s porous borders are an invitation to any individual or organization that wants to commit murderous mayhem in the American homeland. It only takes an honest appraisal of the situation.
But honesty is clearly not what the American people are getting from the Biden administration when it comes to border security. The disappearance of a news release that touted — in no uncertain terms — the arrests of two individuals with possible terrorist ties is simply confirmation of that.
The CBP did not respond to National Review’s request for comment. The Western Journal also reached out Tuesday afternoon for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
There could well be an innocent explanation for why that news release disappeared. Maybe it was a technical glitch. Maybe it was a mistake in the first place.
If any of that is true, Republicans would love to hear it. So would Americans worried that the Biden administration and its Democratic supporters are all too willing to sacrifice the safety and security of their compatriots on the altar of political correctness and the progressive agenda.
The best bet here, though, is: Don’t hold your breath.
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