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Al Qaeda Leader: Materials Smuggled Across BorderPosted: Apr 14, 2008 06:56 PM
WESLACO - A NEWSCHANNEL 5 investigation reveals what the feds don't want you to know. Suspected terrorists are hiding inside the U.S. and they go there by sneaking across the Mexican border.
What we've been reporting for more than a year has been confirmed by a government report just released.
And a brand new interview by Pakistani investigative reporter Hamid Mir is bringing in more information.
Mir has interviewed some of America's most dangerous terrorist enemies. This time the Al Qaeda commander he talked to gave a grim warning that another attack on America is coming very soon.
"We can attack America anytime," says Abu Dawood during the interview. He also told the reporter that Muslims must leave America.
Mir says, "Abu Dawood told me, 'We are determined to attack America again and that attack will be bigger than 9/11."
The Al Qaeda commander says the attack will be led by Adnan El Shukrijumah. He goes by many aliases but is called Brother Adnan by his terrorist friends.
Brother Adnan is wanted by the feds for possible terrorist threats against the U.S. He's considered armed and dangerous.
According to the Pakistani reporter, Dawood said Brother Adnan "had smuggled some dangerous materials from the Mexican border toinside the United States of America."
"It's the kind of scenario that worries everybody," says Fred Burton, a former special agent for the U.S. State Department.
Burton spent much of his federal career studying terrorists, predicting their next move. He now does the same thing at Stratfor, a private intelligence agency in Austin.
NEWSCHANNEL 5 asked Burton about the threat.
"I think it has to be viewed credible, until proven otherwise," he says.
The former special agent tells us the U.S. government is well aware Al Qaeda's been working hard to get a dirty bomb into the country, an explosive packed with nuclear materials small enough to carry in a suitcase.
Smugglers have been caught 300 times in the past four years trying to sneak in radioactive material, which could be used to make a dirty bomb.
That's what the International Atomic Energy Agency told the London Times last month.
But Burton says, "I think if Al Qaeda has a dirty bomb, we would have seen it by now." He says a chemical attack is more likely and the Valley could be a launching ground.
Burton says there are several specific locations in Houston, which if hit, could carry out a devastating terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
However Burton also says if Al Qaeda really does have a dirty bomb, border cities are much more vulnerable to attack, because he says terrorists don't want to get caught.
"You'd want to bring that in right across the border, and you'd want to detonate that as soon as you can," he explains.
We asked who would be at risk.
"You would look at cities such as El Paso or Brownsville," he replied.
For law enforcement, it's a very big worry, says Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr.
He testified to lawmakers in Washington about the dangers of terrorists and terrorist weapons getting smuggled in through South Texas.
The sheriff tells us his biggest fear is that something could go wrong with a bomb.
"We're not prepared," he says.
The possible dangers are also a concern to U.S. Congressman Solomon Ortiz. He was among the first in Washington to sound the alarm about dangers at the border.
Ortiz says, "The biggest threat is people coming in and we don't know who they are."
The government does know terror groups like Al Qaeda, Hamas,and Hezbollah are active in Latin America. In fact, members of Hezbolla are already inside the U.S., coming in through the Mexican border.
We're also learning these Middle Easterners are changing their Islamic names to Hispanic names, buying fake documents, learning Spanish and posing as Hispanic immigrants.
Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo says there's even a training camp in Brazil teaching Middle Easterners how to blend in to the Mexican culture.
According to government intelligence, Middle Eastern aliens from countries known to harbor terrorists are smuggled to staging areas in places like Venezuela and the tri-border region between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Then they're smuggled again through Mexico and our border right into the U.S.
There's a big payoff for those who sneak them in. Mexican illegal immigrants pay smugglers an average of $2,000. Middle Easterners pay as much as thirty times that amount, up to $60,000!
"I don't think they really care who they're bringing across, as long as they get paid for it," says Texas Congressman Michael McCaul. He put out the report, which also says Islamic terrorist groups may be using Mexico as a refuge.
During our investigation, we found out a lot of people from suspicious countries are crossing right here in South Texas. Since 9/11, literally hundreds of illegal aliens have been caught here from places like Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan.
Federal law enforcement estimates only ten to thirty percent of illegals who cross are actually caught.
Governor Rick Perry says, "To think that international terrorists have not already exploited our border is naive."