(by Rick Wells, GOP The Daily Dose) -- In a Tuesday hearing before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, Rep Ron DeSantis (R-FL) asked Ambassador Robert Bradtke, a senior advisor with the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, if the State Department has cancelled the passports of any U.S. citizens who have joined terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.
Bradtke responded that to his knowledge none have been cancelled. DeSantis asks for an explanation as to the reasoning for not doing so. Bradtke verified that Secretary of State Kerry does have the authority to revoke passports, but that it is something that they would only do in relatively rare and unique circumstances because of “the importance for average Americans of the freedom to travel. We would only do it also in consultations with law enforcement authorities and we have not yet had any requests from law enforcement authorities to cancel passports of ISIS or foreign fighters.”
That response begs the question, “What is law enforcement, presumably either the FBI or an agency under DHS waiting for?” They have stated in the past that they have identified approximately one hundred ISIS fighters and have tracked them as they travel, with one making a return trip to become a suicide bomber. Is there a reason why they are choosing to risk a homeland attack rather than engage in proactive defensive measures?
DeSantis then asks DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counter Terrorism Policy, Thomas Warrick, about the safeguards against a known terrorist returning to the United States and how we can be sure that they won’t engage in attacks on our homeland.
Warrick points to the no-fly list as the prime method of deterrent, saying they “would deny them boarding if we have the authority to do so or we would recommend, even to a foreign government that they or the airline deny such a person the “right” to get on an airplane to fly to the United States.” His statement as to “if they have the authority” leaves a big question unanswered as to what if they don’t have the authority, only partially addressed in the request of a foreign government or the airline to deny the boarding. What happens if they don’t go along with what DHS is asking for?
He says if a foreign fighter shows up at the United States, the matter would be referred to the FBI. He says they would have the ability and authority to ask any appropriate questions at the border as well as conduct physical inspections of their luggage and person. He gives his assurance that issues such as this are taken extremely seriously.
This testimony comes as we are learning that two of four illegal alien Turkish terrorists who were apprehended inside the country and who were in United States custody were released by DHS upon the order of a nobody immigration judge. This occurred in spite of assurances from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson that they would be deported. One has to wonder if his assurance to Congress of their deportation carried that same level of extreme seriousness.
In the second clip, Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) asks Warrick about 26 Irish nationals who have joined ISIS and what would be the response to an attempt on their part to enter the United States. Warrick refers to their inability to fly into the United States if they are on the no-fly list and assures Grayson that if they attempted to enter the U.S. by sea or if they flew to Canada and tried to enter by way to the U.S. Canadian border.
A similar scenario in which a known ISIS terrorist chose to enter Mexico, and pay a coyote to transport them to and across our virtually non-existent southern border was not addressed. Apparently either everybody in the room knows there is no interdiction of terrorists conducted on that border or the Democrat Grayson just didn’t want to ask a question which would result in a response that would illustrate our extreme vulnerability.
Warrick, the man providing the testimony, works for the same DHS Director, Jeh Johnson, who is responsible for the surrender of our southern border to any invaders who choose to cross. His response would have been quite interesting, had the question only been asked.