- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The director who oversees the Texas’ Troopers warned that vulnerabilities at the southern border may leave Americans open to a jihadist attack, saying people from countries known to have a “terrorism presence” have been caught infiltrating the Texas-Mexico border. 

When asked at the annual Texas Border Coalition meeting if any suspected Islamic State terrorists had yet infiltrated the border, Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety replied, “Individuals that come across the Texas/Mexican border from countries with a known terrorism presence and the answer to that is yes.”

He added that officials have apprehended “individuals that we’ve needed to debrief in Pashto and Urdu,” referring to the languages typically spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan, local NBC affiliate 8KGNS News reported

“But you can’t think about the last attack; you have to think of the next attack and where our vulnerabilities are,” Mr. McCraw added. “So, we’re concerned about that.”

The director’s comments come after the Texas Department of Public Safety released a declassified report earlier this year, citing terrorism and other national security threats as justification for increasing police and surveillance presence along the southern border. 

“An unsecure border with Mexico is the state’s most significant vulnerability as it provides criminals and would-be terrorists from around the world a reliable means to enter Texas and the nation undetected. This is especially concerning today, in light of the recent terrorist attacks and schemes around the world,” the report states.

The Texas DPS said in a statement: “On the issue of ISIS, the department’s position remains unchanged. The department and its intelligence community partners have no credible information to confirm that members of ISIS have crossed the Texas-Mexico border. That said, an unsecure border is a vulnerability that can be exploited by criminals of all kinds. And it would be naive to rule out the possibility that any criminal organization may look for opportunities to take advantage of security gaps along our international border. And the department is certainly concerned about those security vulnerabilities.”

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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