Posted on March 22, 2024

Hezbollah Member Caught at Border Could’ve Been Released Into US If He Hadn’t Admitted Terror Ties: Sources

Jennie Taer, New York Post, March 18, 2024

If the Hezbollah member caught at the southern border had not admitted his ties to the militant group to authorities, he may have been released into the country, federal law enforcement sources told The Post.

Lebanese national Basel Bassel Ebbadi, 22, was first caught by the US Border Patrol on March 9 near El Paso, Texas, according to internal documents exclusively obtained by The Post.

After his arrest and while in custody, Ebbadi told medical personnel on March 11 “I’m going to try to make a bomb” in the US.

On March 12, Ebbadi admitted to a border agent he is a member of Hezbollah, according to the Border Patrol document. However, it wasn’t until March 17 Ebbadi was confirmed as a “positive match” on the terror watchlist {snip}

An ICE source told The Post that if Ebbadi had “not admitted to being part of Hezbollah,” Border Patrol could’ve potentially released him into the country freely, with a date to report in to court {snip}

Ebbadi told federal authorities he had been trying to flee Lebanon and Hezbollah because he “didn’t want to kill people” and said “once you’re in, you can never get out,” according to internal ICE documents.

Terror affiliations aren’t immediately clear when Border Patrol vets migrants through their databases {snip}

In order to know someone is a member of a terrorist organization, border agents first see an unidentified red flag when they’re running background checks.

They can then ask the FBI to find out what the alert means, a process which can take longer than the time an individual is in custody {snip}

“The only reason we caught this guy is because he’s a moron and he admitted. If he never said anything, he would’ve gotten through,” the Border Patrol source claimed.

“We’re getting so many thousands of people coming through, it’s not like you’re being scrutinized,” the source added.