(WATCH) Threat Matrix

We begin with the threat to the home front. While the U.S. is providing billions of dollars worth of emergency military and humanitarian aid to Israel and Ukraine amid their wars, there’s heightened concern at home. The FBI, Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center recently issued an advisory to state and local law enforcement. It said that lone offenders inspired by, or reacting to, the ongoing war between Israel and the Islamic extremist terrorist group Hamas pose the most likely threat to Americans. Factor in the porous southern border, and some analysts say it’s a recipe for disaster. Today, we ask one expert what can be done. Ken Cuccinelli was deputy Homeland Security chief under President Trump and a former senior official at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The following is a transcript of a report from “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.” Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.

Sharyl: When news of the attack on Israel came, what do you suspect the smart people inside our government immediately did or started to talk about to make sure that they were working as hard as they could to protect us?

Ken Cuccinelli: Well, they probably started shuffling back through the terror watch list folks who have come in. And I suspect that some of the ones they’ve let in, they may be more inclined now to go run back down and remove. And it takes an awful lot for this administration to decide to remove somebody.

There are disturbing numbers on that score for fiscal year 2023. Customs and Border Protection recorded more than 2.4 million encounters with illegal border crossers at America’s southwest border. That includes 169 people on the U.S. terrorist watchlist, 18 in September alone. Officials also arrested 35,000 aliens with criminal convictions or outstanding warrants, including nearly 600 known gang members, 178 from the notorious MS-13 criminal gang.

Cuccinelli says the state of America’s border today is a far cry from national sentiment after the Islamic extremist terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Cuccinelli: First of all, a lot of the folks who perpetrated 9/11 were in the country illegally. They’d overstayed visas, they’d come a variety of ways, but they were here illegally. On a bipartisan basis, it was decided that we should have a secure border; otherwise terrorists could come across it.

Sharyl: But it’s hard to understand how we could have so much resolve 20 years ago and have it slip into people thinking we should be nice. Like, how do we get from there to here? Just short memories?

Cuccinelli: Short memories, yes. And perceived short-term political advantage.

Sharyl: So with that backdrop, when you heard about what had happened with the attack on Israel, professionally, what were some of your initial thoughts?

Cuccinelli: Well, first of all, I was, you know, we focus on America, but I was surprised at how much Israel was caught by surprise.

Sharyl: What were your thoughts about what we ought to be doing and could be doing to protect ourselves now?

Cuccinelli: Well, of course we could close our borders, and by that I simply mean secure it, or at least try. When you send the message that you’re definitely not going to secure the border, you invite much worse people over the border because they have a risk calculus in trying to come in here. The “what can I accomplish if I get there?” — that’s, from their perspective, their reward. And what is their risk, the risk of being discovered along the way or being caught or stopped. Well, when you tell them you have an open border, you’ve lowered the risk portion of their calculus. These are evil people, but they, we can’t assume they’re stupid. And so they assess these things. And if you ask the DHS today about the rise in the number of people in the terror watch list coming across, they’ll say, “Well, it’s really just a function of the overall numbers,” as if that’s okay. Well, that’s a function of the open borders. And literally we have hundreds of thousands of folks from the Middle East and the dangerous part of Africa, by that I mean from a terrorist standpoint, coming into the United States that didn’t used to.

Sharyl: We’ve been hearing about this for at least the past couple of years, and yet, as far as I know, there has not been a big terrorist attack by extremists who have crossed the southern border into the United States illegally, or legally. What do you make of that, that it hasn’t happened?

Cuccinelli: Well, we do know a few things that have been interjected, interceded with. For example, the attempt to kill former President Bush, where those folks were coming across the southern border. Thankfully, we picked up on that. So there have been some successes in that regard. The problem in having these discussions is, the more talented, successful terrorists aren’t even seen. They’re not in the gotaways number. The gotaways number are people who were spotted but not caught. They’re in the number of, we don’t know what the number is. And those are the most dangerous of all. We have no basis to identify or pursue those folks until some piece of evidence crops up that gets spotted and flagged. And that’s awfully hard to do once you’re in the country.

Sharyl: Do you think it’s possible that there could be groups, small groups of terrorists, or even individuals who are waiting and making a plan here in the United States?

Cuccinelli: Absolutely. Unfortunately.

Sharyl: What’s a sleeper cell?

Cuccinelli: A sleeper cell is a small group of people that come in, typically with a mission beforehand or a goal, and they don’t communicate with anybody else. The smaller version of that, that is that hardest to track of all, is the lone operator. And that’s true whether they’re international terrorists, domestic terrorists, what have you. And we now have a large-enough sets of communities of radicalized people in the United States that this could be a combination of international inflows of people teaming up with people who are already here.

Sharyl: How concerned do you find yourself that something like that could happen? Either there are sleeper cells waiting to activate or even lone terrorists just waiting for an opportunity?

Cuccinelli: Oh, I worry a great deal about that. I honestly, as a statistical matter, I think they’re here.

Sharyl: If you are part of this calculus, just dealing the hand that you’ve been dealt, what sorts of things would you be initiating right now?

Cuccinelli: You mean if I were in the administration? I’d be asking to put the military on the border in between legal ports of entry to truly close it.

Sharyl: If you just had to give some takeaway thoughts on the whole big picture, now that we’re looking at our threat here at home. And protecting ourselves, what are some things you would say or a message you would deliver?

Cuccinelli: The weaponization of law enforcement and intelligence in this country for political purposes has been pretty severe. It’s 10 years old or so at least, and it’s pretty ingrained in the deep state. They’re trying to generate narratives instead of identify threats. And we’re already a bankrupt country. We’re so deep in the hole, I don’t know that we can ever get out of it from a funding and debt standpoint. But we should be treating these as rare resources that need to be deployed in the highest valued use basis, which is also, by the way, why I would put military members in between the legal ports of entry. Just cut off the flow, and then turn your intelligence sources and resources toward drilling down on our most severe threats, rather than having to parse through millions of people a year, coming across the border after they’ve come in to see what you let walk by you, in terms of threats to the United States, in terms of its existence, and to the safety of the people who live here.

Sharyl (on-camera): National security agencies have advised that foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks in the U.S., and that could lead to “homegrown extremists” to attack Jewish or U.S. government targets.

Watch cover story here.

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3 thoughts on “(WATCH) Threat Matrix”

  1. Sharyl and Full Measure Team,

    Recall that – several years ago – I had posted
    ———-—ON Your Page, Sharyl ————
    the Date/Section of a report in the WT, con-
    cerning Israel getting caught secretly helping
    to build China’s soon-to-fly fighter jet, using
    U.S. technology—passed to Israel via our
    TRUST in her !, as “America’s Best Friend” ?

    Israel Second Only To Russia In Providing Arms To China,
    By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent ( 8-31-2 ) :

    http://www.rense.com/general28/iisj.htm :

    Anyone got a C L U E, yet !—regarding who
    owns/runs/manipulates America, behind
    the scenes, for FOREIGN-Enemy interests ?


      1. P.P.S.

        Regarding this,
        from your report :

        “. . . The FBI, Homeland Security, and the
        National Counterterrorism Center
        recently issued an advisory to state
        and local law enforcement . . . “

        9/11 security efforts, installed AFTER
        that event, were PRE-Planned/
        PRE-Written—and that fact had been
        published by those “T R U T H E R”
        scientists, to no avail.

        Become a CHRONICLER, Sharyl,
        as ‘journalist” has become a
        pejorative term :

        “There is no such thing, at this date in the world’s
        history, in America, as an independent press . . . If
        I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one
        issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my
        occupation would be gone. The business of the
        journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright;
        to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon,
        and to sell his country and his race for his daily
        bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is
        this toasting an independent press? We are the
        tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes.
        We are the jumping jacks; they pull the strings and
        we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our
        lives are all the property of other men. We are
        intellectual prostitutes.” -John Swinton ( 1888 )

        [[ Swinton had been the former Chief-of-Staff
        of the New York Times, speaking before
        the New York Press Club—to toast an
        “independent” press. ]]

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