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FBI director: Smuggling organizations connected to ISIS coming through US border

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FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday confirmed that a smuggling organization working with the terrorist organization ISIS is funneling criminals through the U.S. border. He also said the FBI is currently investigating its operations that “we’re very concerned about.”

In a U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing held on Monday on worldwide threats to the United States, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, asked Wray about threats coming through the U.S. border.

“Over the last three years, millions of people crossed the U.S. border illegally and many have been released into the country,” Rubio said, asking first about “people with ties to dangerous gangs.”

“Certainly, we have had dangerous individuals entering the United States of a variety of sorts,” Wray replied.

“Are we now seeing crimes from people that entered the country over the last three years, some of them with ties to gangs or other criminal organizations?” Rubio asked.

“From an FBI perspective, we are seeing a wide array of very dangerous threats that emanate from the border, and that includes everything from the drug trafficking” to violent crime, Wray said.

“But there’s no doubt people that were criminals in their country of origin have crossed that border and are now in the U.S. committing crimes?” Rubio asked.

“Correct,” Wray replied.

Rubio also asked if Wray was familiar with “a black market emerging … to sell fake Social Security cards, fake Green Cards.” Wray said he was, and “there is a significant marketplace for different kinds of stolen identity” on the darknet.

Rubio then addressed human smuggling, saying, “There are smuggling networks all over the world that specialize in moving people from all over the world, including from the Middle East, Central Asia, and so forth. Are we aware of any of these smuggling organizations run by, or are conducted by, people that have ties, for example, to ISIS or other terrorist organizations?”

“I want to be a little bit careful how far I can go in an open session,” Wray said, “but there is a particular network that has where some of the overseas facilitators of the smuggling network have ISIS ties that we’re very concerned about. What we’ve been spending enormous amount of effort with our partners and investigating exactly what that network is up to, is something that’s again, the subject of our current investigation.”

“But there is a network we’re concerned about that has facilitators involved in it that have ties to ISIS?” Rubio asked.

“Correct,” Wray replied.

In response to questions asked by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, @marcorubio @FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged a smuggling organization with ties to ISIS is involved in funneling criminal aliens illegally into the U.S. through its borders at a U.S. Senate Select Committee… pic.twitter.com/19G46uINVZ— Bethany Blankley (@BethanyBlankley) March 12, 2024

Wray’s testimony comes after 10 retired FBI directors and experts in counter intelligence warned congressional leaders in January that President Joe Biden’s border policies have facilitated a “soft invasion” into the U.S. of military-age men coming from terror-linked regions, China and Russia. They also warned a terrorist attack is likely imminent but preventable.

His testimony also comes after Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection agents have apprehended the greatest number of known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) in U.S. history, with the greatest number of apprehensions occurring at the northern border.

In fiscal 2023, the greatest number of KSTs were apprehended in a fiscal year in U.S. history, 736, The Center Square first reported. A significant majority – 66% – were apprehended at the northern border, 487. By comparison, 249 were apprehended at the southwest border.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2024, KST northern border apprehensions continued to outpace those at the southwest border by a similar margin, The Center Square reported on Feb. 1.

At that time, fiscal year to date, 144 KSTs had been apprehended, according to data last updated Jan. 26.

That number has since increased to 168, with the majority, 104, being apprehended at the northern border, according to CBP data last updated Feb. 14.

Former CBP and Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan and former ICE chief Tom Homan have both told The Center Square, Biden’s “open border policies have created the greatest national security crisis since 9/11.”