Islamic State extremists have discussed infiltrating the U.S. through its southern border with Mexico, a U.S. official said.
Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, told a Senate committee today that the Sunni militants have been tracked discussing the idea on social-media sites such as Twitter Inc.
“There have been Twitter and social-media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor said in response to a question from Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican. Islamic State is also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS.
Referring to the 1,933-mile (3,110-kilometer) boundary with Mexico, Taylor said he was “satisfied that we have the intelligence and the capability at our border that would prevent that activity.”
Taylor’s comments before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee came hours before President Barack Obama was to outline in a speech plans to expand the U.S. offensive against Islamic State. Steps under consideration include blocking foreign fighters from entering Syria and Iraq, delivering more aid to moderate factions among Syrian rebels, and expanding air strikes to Islamic State targets in Syria.
Islamic State members have surfaced in Europe — specifically in a shooting that killed four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels and through arrests in Paris — “a clear indication of ISIL’s ambition to operate outside the Middle East,” Rasmussen said. If the group is left to grow, that threat will only increase, he said.
“Left unchecked, ISIL poses a threat to all governments it considers apostate,” Rasmussen said, adding that the group’s targets would include governments in Europe, the U.S., Africa and the Middle East.