By Jon Dougherty
One thing POTUS Donald Trump’s detractors and political enemies in the media never take into consideration when he makes statements about the insecure nature of the U.S.-Mexico border is the fact that he receives daily briefings from U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security — information that the general public will never hear and isn’t entitled to hear, for the purposes of operational security.
So when the president says something like, ‘Hey, there are terrorist elements trying to get through our southern border,’ it’s a safe bet he’s been told that by our intel agencies and DHS (which, by the way, has its own intelligence branch).
As reported last week byÂ Fox News, a newly published study and report quoted former ISIS operativeÂ Abu Henricki, a Canadian citizen with dual citizenship with Trinidad, who told the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism that the terror organization asked him to travel to the U.S. through Mexico in order to carry out â€œfinancial attacks.”
â€œThey were going to move me to the Mexican side [of the US southern border] via Puerto Rico. This was mastermind[ed] by a guy in America. Where he is, I do not know,â€ Henricki said. â€œThat information, the plan came from someone from the New Jersey state from America. I was going to take a boat [from Puerto Rico] into Mexico. He was going to smuggle me in.â€
â€œWhat they wanted to do, basically, is they wanted to do financial attacks. Financial attacks to cripple the economy,” he said.
â€œThey have their system of doing it,â€ Henricki said.Â â€œIt wasnâ€™t me alone. They were sending you to Puerto Rico and from Puerto Rico [to Mexico],” he added.
The study and report, by theÂ International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and published inÂ Homeland Security Today, noted that Henricki’s route was to the U.S. was to have begun in Central America.
â€œISIS has organized plots in Europe with returnees so it seems entirely plausible that they wanted to send guys out to attack.Â The issue that makes a North American attack harder is the travel is more difficult from Syria,â€ Anne Speckhard,Â who co-conducted the study as the director of ICSVE and Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University, told Fox News. â€œSo the idea thatÂ they would instead use people who were not known to their own governments as having joined ISIS might make it possible for them to board airplanes.â€
In 2016 Henricki was told that he couldn’t take on duties as a fighter in Syria because of chronic illness. So the group tried to recruit him for the financial attacks within the U.S. instead.
â€œThe plan came from someone from the New Jersey state of America. I was going to take the boat from Puerto Rico into Mexico. He was going to smuggle me in,â€ he said.
He noted further that he believed the scheme was aimed at New York financial targets.
â€œThey wanted to use these people (to attack inside the U.S.) because they were from these areas,â€ Henricki told the study’s authors, indicating that they were either from North America or were English speakers.
Henricki also said that he refused to participate in the plot, and was subsequently jailed in Manbij, Syria, and brutally tortured. His wife, also a Canadian citizen, was jailed in a women’s facility and subjected to intense psychological torture as well.
â€œThis plot is likely dead as those who were pressured to join it are according to Abu Henricki now all dead and ISIS is in retreat as we know,” Speckhard said. “That doesnâ€™t mean we shouldnâ€™t disregard that it was a plot.Â We should take thoughtful steps to prevent.
“We often hear about terrorists trying to enter the southern border in political debate, but I rarely have come across a real case.Â It surprised me to hear this was a real plot by ISIS to exploit our southern border.Â Thatâ€™s concerning of course.â€
When the president says our southern border is serving as a conduit for terrorism, he’s very likely speaking as a result of real, actionable intelligence, not just because he’s trying to fabricate a crisis, like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi say he is.
Politicizing the security of our country is going to lead to the deaths of American citizens. Whoever is responsible for that should be held accountable.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10