Security Chief: Border Arrests Include Terrorists

Todd Bensman, San Antonio Express-News, September 13, 2007

Texas’ top homeland security official said terrorists with ties to Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaida have been arrested crossing the Texas border with Mexico in recent years.

“Has there ever been anyone linked to terrorism arrested?” Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw said in a speech Wednesday to the North Texas Crime Commission. “Yes, there was.”

His remarks seem among the most specific on the topic of terrorism arrests on the Texas-Mexico border. Local and elected officials have alluded to it before.

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However, McCraw’s remarks are similar to those made recently by National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, who last month told the El Paso Times that a small number of people with known links to terrorist organizations have been caught crossing the border.

McCraw identified the most notable figure captured as Farida Goolam Mahomed Ahmed, who was arrested in July 2004 at the McAllen airport. She had $7,300 in various currencies and an incomplete South African passport. U.S. officials later learned she waded across the Rio Grande.

After her arrest, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a release saying she was wanted for questioning about the bombing of a U.S. Consulate office, jibing with similar statements from a U.S. congressman.

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In May, the Express-News published a series of stories examining the post 9-11 national security implications of illegal immigration from Islamic countries. U.S. counter-terrorism authorities were quoted saying they’ve connected some border jumpers to terrorism. . .

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