- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Customs and Border Protection said late Wednesday that the “explosive” that members of Congress described at the border was actually a bunch of sand wrapped in tape with a rope protruding like a wick.

The agency issued a statement after several Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, said they had been briefed on an “explosive” found on the U.S. side of the border on Jan. 17.

She said a surveillance camera caught the perpetrators.

“And guess what? It wasn’t Americans, it was cartels,” she said at field hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, held in Pharr, Texas, seemingly citing information lawmakers had gotten in a briefing.

Several other Republican members of the committee repeated the same general information.

“If the cartels are using an explosive device against our agents, that changes the narrative,” said Rep. Morgan Luttrell, Texas Republican.

Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who was testifying to the committee, would not comment on the report, saying he had been briefed in a confidential setting and the hearing wasn’t the right place to discuss it.

But by Wednesday evening the agency said the item wasn’t an explosive after all.

“The object in question, found on January 17, was determined to be sand wrapped in duct tape with a rope protruding from the top to resemble a wick,” the agency said in a statement. “Leadership was briefed on the incident during daily internal executive team meetings who conveyed the object was fake and posed no threat towards U.S. Border Patrol agents or the public.”

The Washington Times has reached out to Ms. Greene’s office for comment.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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