It started, as many lies and fear mongering conspiracy theories do, with an off-the-cuff tall tale in support of a bad argument. When California Republican and member of the Committee on Armed Services Duncan Hunter was invited to talk to FOX’s Greta Van Susteren, it was presumably with the understanding that they’d be drumming up for an invasion of Syria to protect Rupert Murdoch’s oil fields. And, for a while, they did exactly that.
And Duncan was on a role blasting Turkey, but in the midst of it all he couldn’t resist dropping in mention of his pet issue: Those Damned Mexicans. Hunter, who advocated for deportation of U.S. citizens who were the children of immigrants at a 2010 Tea Party rally, just kind of dropped this little nugget into his diatribe on the real danger from ISIS.
“Once again, if you’re talking about Americans, ISIS is coming across the Southern border. They’re not flying B-1 bombers, bombing american cities, but they are going to be coming across from Mexico.”
The statement was so out-of-the-blue that even Greta had to take a moment to process it. “Wait…the United States southern border?” She asked for clarification that he had any information or evidence that ISIS was infiltrating the U.s. by way of Tijuana.
“Yes, yes I have information that at least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border. There’s nobody talking about it, there’s.” Greta asks him how he knows that. “Because I’ve asked the Border Patrol, Greta. ”
“And the ISIS members just let them, let them come across the border?”
He replies. “No, they caught them at the border, so we know ISIS is coming across at the border. If they catch five or ten of them, you know there’s going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the border patrol. But that’s how you know — all you have to do is ask the Border Patrol…The only way that Americans are going to be harmed by radical Islam is by having an open Southern Border.”
Despite repeated questions from Greta on the source, and the news of freaking ISIS MEMBERS BEING APPREHENDED IN TEXAS, Hunter just sort of glosses over it and continues on his diatribe about closing the Southern Border. Greta tries to ask, and for good reason. Because, well…
…isn’t that kind of NEWS?
Uhhh…shouldn’t we have heard about this before now?
That’s the question Rachael Maddow asked that very same day. Because, you know, it DEFINITELY seems like ten ISIS fighters captured in Texas would be kind of a thing. So, Rachael dug into the matter a bit to find out more about this incredible story. And the first people she contacted was the Border Patrol’s Homeland Security parent agency. They gave Rachael this statement:
When Rachael contacted Hunter’s office directly, they sent her back to this (misspelled) conservative blog post. The post quotes…Hunter himself, in his interview with Greta. It then goes on to detail information from an “anonymous high-level officer” that there had been “radio chatter” about security changes at Ft. Bliss. Changes that in this article the site believes proves that ISIS is operating in Mexico…and then in another article on the same site linked to that one (as evidence) states that the security changes were because of heavily armed drug cartels operating in the area. Which proves ISIS…or something.
At no point on either page was there “proof” of ISIS terrorists arrested in Texas.
“And that left us with a zillion-and-four questions,” Maddow said. “Like: DHS says [your reports] are categorically false. Is your “source” in a position to know?…Did you contact the FBI? Are they being held, are they being interrogated, are they being charged?”
When they asked those questions of Hunter’s office, his spokesperson replied that.
“More accurate, I think, to refer to them as foreign nationals with IS affiliations.”
Well, that’s a shade different from “ISIS fighters”…you think? To a Canadian, Americans are all foreign nationals with Nazi affiliations…for Werner Von Braun, if nothing else. Bit of room for interpretation there. In terms of who told Hunter’s office, and whether they told the FBI:
So, the old “trusted anonymous high-level source” bit.
Always reliable. But it flies on FOX.
Too bad it doesn’t in the real world. Hunter’s office promised that it would release more details of this story, and Maddow promised she’d wait with baited breath. As, certainly, will we all.
After all, it’s not as though Tea Partiers are known for fear mongering, racist xenophobia.