Conservative Media Echo Spurious Report On Threat Of Islamic State Terrorists Crossing U.S.-Mexico Border
Research ››› ››› SOPHIA TESFAYE
Right-wing media seized on a poorly sourced new report from Judicial Watch that claims the Islamic State poses an imminent threat to the U.S. homeland from the U.S.-Mexico border. However, homeland security officials and law enforcement officers have repeatedly stated that there is no credible threat to the homeland from the Islamic State.
Judicial Watch Reports Terrorist Attack From U.S.-Mexico Border Is "Imminent"
Judicial Watch: "Imminent Terrorist Attack" By Islamic State Crossing U.S.-Mexico Border. Conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, released a report that unidentified "high-level federal law enforcement" sources have been issued "a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border." According to Judicial Watch, "Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED)." [Judicial Watch, 8/29/14]
Right-Wing Media Stoke Fears Of "Imminent" Terrorist Attack
Fox's Doocy: "There Is A Report From Judicial Watch That Apparently ISIS Is Working In The Border Town Across The River From El Paso." On the September 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy reported on the Judicial Watch warning:
DOOCY: Speaking of terrorism, everybody is looking toward next week. It will be the anniversary of September 11. What's interesting now is you know those 37,000 kids who streamed across our southern border over the last year or so? Where did they go? Federal government isn't telling us that. All we do know for sure is that our southern border is wide open and now there's a report from Judicial Watch that apparently ISIS is working in the border town across the river from El Paso, Ciudad Juarez. There is a lot of chatter. Radio chatter and other things, talk indicating that ISIS is going to carry out an attack on the border very, very soon. Could be car bombs. Could be vehicle borne bombs. Don't know. There is just a lot of talk about how ISIS is across the river and could come over at any time. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/5/14]
FoxNews.com: "The Watchdog Group Judicial Watch Said Friday That Islamic State Operatives" Are Planning An Attack On The U.S. In an August 29 online report, Fox cited Judicial Watch as a source in a report that social media chatter indicates that the terrorist organization ISIS is planning an attack on the southern border:"Despite assurances that no threat to American soil is imminent, the watchdog group Judicial Watch said Friday that Islamic State operatives are in Juarez, just across the border from Texas, and are planning to attack the United States with car bombs." [Foxnews.com, 8/29/14]
National Review: "Judicial Watch: Feds' Bulletin Describes Threat of Imminent Terrorist Attack on Southern Border." On August 29, National Review Online posted the Judicial Watch press release adding that "For those of us who've been raising alarms about both the jihadist threat and the national-security vulnerability created by the Obama administration's non-enforcement of the immigration laws, this is not a surprise -- particularly less than two weeks before September 11." [National Review Online, 8/29/14]
Terrorism Experts Insist There Is No Specific, Credible Threat To The U.S. Homeland From Mexico
Department Of Homeland Security: "We Are Aware Of Absolutely Nothing Credible To Substantiate This Claim" Made By Judicial Watch. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied Judicial Watch's allegations of a terrorist threat from Mexico. A DHS spokesman said, "I haven't seen that at all." DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson added, "At present, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are unaware of any specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland from ISIL." [Daily Mail, 8/29/14, Department of Homeland Security, 8/29/14]
Ft. Bliss Spokesman: "I Am Not Sure Of The Validity Of The Article." Lt. Col. Lee Peters, a spokesman for Fort Bliss military base indicated he was aware of the Judicial Watch report but insisted that he was unable to substantiate the validity of the claims. Peters said, "I am aware of the article and we take threats against Fort Bliss seriously... Therefore, we continuously work with local and federal law enforcement agencies to assess threat levels in El Paso and can adjust our security measures based on these assessments. I am not sure of the validity of the article, but vigilance and preparedness are keys to maintaining a safe and secure installation." [KFOX14, 8/29/14]