Bob Menéndez Presses Secretary of State Over False Border Terrorism Claims
Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) on Tuesday sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after he and other senior Trump administration officials repeatedly used false statements about suspected terrorists coming across the U.S.-Mexico border as an excuse for Donald Trump’s shutdown of the federal government. Citing the State Department’s 2017 Country Reports on Terrorism, which found no international terrorist groups have sent operatives via Mexico into the U.S., Menéndez listed a series of questions to be clarified by Pompeo following his inaccurate answers to Fox News’ Sean Hannity in a January 3rd interview. Hannity posed to Pompeo, “We’ve been able to apprehend 3,700 people that we have identified as having ties to terror?” To which Pompeo replied, “There’s lots of risks associated. [...] There are lots of things that come across that southern border that we need to get control over, and President Trump is determined to make that happen. It includes the risk that we have terrorists come across that border.” Menéndez, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pressed Pompeo in the letter saying his response did nothing to correct the misleading question and pointed out the administration’s false statements “run completely counter to factual evidence published by the State Department during your own tenure.” Menéndez goes on to ask Pompeo if the administration contends that there are indeed thousands of terrorists seeking entry into the United States at the southern border, what are the countries of origin and affiliations of these individuals, and what actions has the State Department taken to address this problem at its root, in the countries of origin? He follows this up with numerous additional pressing questions. “I ask that you, as our nation’s chief diplomat, provide the American people with legitimate facts about security conditions along the southern border, inside Mexico, and the risks that they pose to the United States.” In December, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) penned a similar letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen but has received no response so far. Read Menéndez’s letter here.