There were two eye-popping revelations today, when Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FBI Director Christopher Wray discussed national security concerns at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Wray said the FBI is currently investigating 5,000 terrorism cases here and around the world, including a thousand cases involving home-grown radicals; and Nielsen said there is not enough detention space to lock up around 2,500 illegal aliens who are on the suspected terrorist list.
Wray told the committee, “National security remains the FBI’s top priority and counter-terrorism is still a paramount concern.”
He said the FBI is not just worried about large-scale attacks by well-known terror groups, but it also watches for home-grown violent extremists who become radicalized online.
Right now, as I sit here, we’re currently investigating about 5,000 terrorism cases across America and around the world. And about a thousand of those cases are home-grown violent extremists. And they’re in all 50 states.
In the last year or so, we’ve made hundreds of arrests of terrorism subjects. Those include things like the arrest of a guy plotting to attack San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf on Christmas Day with a combination of vehicles, firearms and explosives. Or the arrest, Mr. Chairman, of a woman in your home state — a Wisconsin woman maintaining a virtual library of instructions on how to make bombs, biological weapons and suicide vests to assist self-proclaimed ISIS members.
We’ve also disrupted a plot to blow up a shopping mall in Miami or to blow up a number of the celebrations of July 4th in Cleveland.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the same committee there is not enough detention space to hold all the suspected terrorists who are in the country illegally.
“We do not have enough detention space for those that we need to hold, who are single adults,” she said.
The subject came up when Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) produced some troubling statistics:
“In 2017, we detained 300 people in this country that were on the suspected terrorist list that were in this country illegally,” McCaskill said. “But the non-detained jumped to over 2,000. And then, as of September, that number of non-detained is over 2,500.
“Somebody has got to explain to me…how we’re advocating for indefinite detention of families — and how we have room for pregnant women and thousands and thousands of children, but we are failing to detain those people in this country illegally that we have identified as suspected terrorists!”
Nielsen responded that there are different types of detention and strict rules governing each type. She noted that the Department of Health and Human Services deals with unaccompanied children; Immigration and Customs Enforcement administers family and residential centers; but single adults cannot be put in those facilities.
Single adult detention is where they belong: “So at the end of the day, what it comes to is just resources. There’s different buckets of detention space,” Nielsen said. “We use every last bed that we have. But yes, we need more detention space.”
An incredulous McCaskill said the most important job the government has is to arrest and deport illegal aliens who are violating our laws and hurting people; and detaining people that are suspected terrorists.
McCaskill told Nielsen to report back to the committee on how she intends to detain the 2,500 suspected terrorists “as quickly as possible.”
Hopefully McCaskill – who is part of the problem – will be gone a month from now.