The FBI is investigating a group of Uzbek nationals who were smuggled into the country earlier this year with the assistance of an individual with known ties to ISIS. [Source]
According to a report by CNN, the FBI is actively working to locate these Uzbek nationals who sought asylum in the U.S. after intelligence officials discovered their entry at the southern border was facilitated by a smuggling network.
One individual in this network had discernible ties to ISIS. This discovery has prompted a nationwide search, further intensified by the FBI’s collaboration with Turkish authorities who have since detained the smuggler and other members of this illicit network.
In a statement to Fox News, White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson acknowledged the smuggling network’s operations. While Watson stressed that no concrete ties between the Uzbek nationals and any foreign terrorist organization have been identified, the incident highlights gaps in the nation’s border security protocols. [Source]
It was revealed that, while the migrants had been screened by the Department of Homeland Security upon their entry, no initial red flags were raised in the intelligence community’s databases. Only later did the FBI become aware of the smuggling network and its ISIS-linked operative.
“Intelligence reporting alerted us to a human smuggling network working to facilitate the travel of Uzbek nationals to the United States,” Watson explained.
Although the smuggler in this incident is associated with ISIS, he isn’t an official member of the terrorist organization. The National Security Council described him as an independent facilitator who personally aligns with the extremist group’s views.
Intelligence insiders have conveyed that it’s unlikely these migrants were entering the U.S. on ISIS directives. The majority appear motivated by hopes for a better life in America.
The situation remains concerning, especially since several of these Uzbeks are still missing, with more than 15 undergoing scrutiny for potential criminal intent.
This incident closely follows a report by CBS News, which noted that this fiscal year, the Border Patrol has apprehended 125 migrants listed on the terrorism watchlist at the U.S.-Mexico border. This number has already surpassed the previous year’s record of 98 and the 15 apprehensions in fiscal year 2021. [Source]
The timing of this revelation is particularly significant as the Biden administration continues to face criticism for its handling of the border crisis.
Sources indicate that these developments reached President Biden’s top advisers, sparking a flurry of high-level discussions among national security and administrative officials.
These events underscore longstanding concerns about the current administration’s border policies. Maintaining the integrity of U.S. borders is crucial. Republican presidential candidates are spotlighting southern border security as a cornerstone of their campaigns. [Source]