Fox News' Pete Hegesth exploited the migrant crisis in Europe in order to stoke fears that terrorists may now be able to cross the “porous borders” into the United States. The European Union is facing the “Continent's largest mass migration since the end of World War II” as the region grapples with how to address thousands of asylum seekers migrating “mostly from the Middle East and Northern Africa,” reports The New York Times. Hegseth suggested the influx of asylum seekers could “leave an opening for terrorists.” From the September 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
PETE HEGSETH: So you've got a lot of migrants leaving because of the violence, innocent men, women, and children fleeing the violence. But does it not leave an opening for terrorists? Those to blend in inside them. Through a pipeline to either get to the Europe -- get to Europe or the United States?
SYLVIA LONGMIRE: Sure. It's something that we're always concerned about. We're worried about any kind of porous borders, any kind of openings and people that can blend in. One thing that you really have to remember though is, what is the path of least resistance for terrorist organizations that have the means to find and recruit people that have no criminal history, that can obtain real ID's or really really good fraudulent ID's, and also real travel documents? Right now, the path of least resistance is for these terrorists to either to fly into Europe, come in by rail, and into the United States, either fly into our airports or even cross the border from Canada on a car. So you have to take a look at what's the easiest way for them to get here right now. Crossing the border from Mexico may be a little too dangerous and too difficult for them right now.
HEGSETH: Sure, so legitimate means through flights and others -- certainly a pipeline. We've also heard, though, Hezbollah has a lot of roots in Latin America. Could an organization like this take advantage of that -- the chaos around the world, to say 'hey, there's porous borders still, in light of that, we're gonna drive a few more people in?'
LONGMIRE: Sure, and we know that Hezbollah's had a presence here in the United States for a very long time. We know that they've come through Mexico, particularly through Tijuana, and they have settled here selling fake purses, fake cigarettes, fake shoes to raise money to send back home to support their cause. So of course that's always a concern. The main thing that we want to focus on is how do we stop operational terrorists, those who are coming here to blow things up. How do we identify those, separate those from real refugees and make sure that they don't come into the country?
HEGSETH: How do you do that? How do you separate them out?
LONGMIRE: Intelligence right now is the best way. And that's where we really have to focus our efforts on. Whether it's covert operations, whether it's finding really really good human sources, sadly the budgets for those kinds of operations have been dramatically cut in the last few years, especially under the current administration. So I think that's where we need to focus our efforts.
HEGSETH: Ambassador John Bolton had a column at FoxNews.com yesterday talking about chaos as the cause. Is chaos in the Middle East, the fact that the lid seems to be off it, is that the primary cause for this insecurity and where does it stop?
LONGMIRE: Sure, and we see that -- we had our own border surge, as you well know, last summer because of the chaos and the criminal activity going on in Central America, particularly in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Any time that you have any instability, whether it's in Latin America, whether it's the Middle East, you're going to see people who are fleeing to other parts of the world or other regions that are close by in order to find that kind of safety and security. Whether or not we can or should play a role in stabilizing those regions, that's kind of a subjective question. But that's the result of any kind of political, government, criminal instability and especially if there's some kind of Islamist presence in those regions.