AUSTIN (KXAN) — In recent public settings, Gov. Rick Perry has mentioned ISIS terrorists could be using the Texas-Mexico border to gain access to the U.S. On Tuesday, KXAN spoke with one of the foremost authorities on terrorism and security about the threat.
“We have not seen any evidence of ISIS amassed at the border ready to come into the United States,” said Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at Austin-based Stratfor, a firm that analyzes security threats around the world. “And when you start looking at this from a border perspective you have to put this in the context of your ‘special interest aliens.’ These are the individuals from nation-states like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chechnya. And the concern would be, ‘who are these people?’ And ‘is there the probability that these individuals could potentially come into the United States and carry out a terrorist attack?’”
Two gates at Fort Bliss in El Paso were shut down over the Labor Day weekend because of security precautions. The closures came amid recent Defense Department guidance and internal security assessments, a U.S. Army spokesperson said.
“When you look at groups like ISIS what you are dealing with is a tremendous amount of chatter which is pretty much ‘aspirational,’” Burton added. “This would be you and I discussing what would be good to do, but that doesn’t mean they have the operational capability, the tactical ability to actually go forth with their plans.
“The U.S. government is looking at hundreds of threats a month directed at the continental United States. The bulk of that is wishful thinking. A persistent threat that will always be here is your ‘lone wolf’ sympathetic type of attack, the individual that watches what unfolds around the world and picks up a gun and walks into a soft target like a Jewish Community Center and starts killing people. That does not take a lot of planning.”
Burton says his sources indicate no known Islamic terrorists have entered the United States from Mexico. He says ISIS could never defeat U.S. forces on the battlefield, and that a counterterrorism mission is the best method to neutralize the militant organization..