During Wednesday evening's edition of The Kelly File, the Fox News Channel host joined guest Jason Chaffetz -- a Republican congressman from Utah -- in accusing Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson of being “less than forthcoming” about four individuals with ties to terrorism in the Middle East who were apprehended while trying to cross the Texas border one day before the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
When asked by Chaffetz during a meeting of the House Committee on Homeland Security earlier on Wednesday if Johnson was aware of the incident, he stated: “I've heard reports to that effect. I don't know the accuracy of the reports or how much credence to give them.”
The GOP congressman had earlier asked: “Have we ever apprehended anybody who's a known terrorist or a suspected terrorist trying to come across the border?”
“Sitting here right now,” Johnson replied, “no specific case comes to mind. That doesn't mean there is none. Perhaps FBI director Comey can think of one, but nothing's coming to mind.”
Chaffetz stated that Johnson should have known that the answer to his question was “unfortunately yes,” and the congressman then expressed concern that information on such an incident apparently doesn't “rise to the level of the secretary.”
The Republican official then noted that 466,000 people, a large number of whom came from countries other than Mexico or Central American nations, “have been captured crossing U.S. borders over the last 351 days, yet by Homeland Security's own numbers, 157,000 people got away.”
“And the people we did capture, they come from 143 different countries: 13 were from Syria, six were from Iraq, four were from Iran,” he added before expressing his astonishment that the secretary supposedly “doesn't know the answer” to his question about the four terrorists' arrests.
“But wait,” Kelly stated: ”Here's my question to you. Do you believe he didn't know? Or do you believe he did know and wasn't particularly inclined to share with you and the American people the fact that we've now got Middle Eastern terrorists coming across the southern border?"
Chaffetz replied: "I don't know which one scares me more. Does he not know, is he oblivious to it as the Homeland Security secretary? Or is he going to be deceptive and just try to, you know, run out the clock and not really answer the question? That's not who we are as a country."
"We have a porous border," he continued. "We are worried about every story on the news tonight is about ISIS [Islamic State of Iran and Syria]. I'm worried about them actually coming to the United States and crossing that porous border and getting into the homeland."
“You pointed out to him that the GAO [Government Accounting Office] has estimated there's only a six percent operational control of this border,” Kelly stated. “Only six percent, and we've got the Homeland Security secretary sitting there talking about how he may or may not be familiar with the report you have in hand.”
“And I asked him,” the congressman responded, “what is the operational control right now on the border? And he said: 'I don't know.' How can he not know? He's the Homeland Security secretary!”
The host then said: “It's interesting, you know, when you watch that body language, even in the clip we played, where he's scratching the nose. That's always a dead giveaway” reminiscent of the character Samantha Stephens in the Bewitched television situation comedy trying to use magic "to get out of the room.”
Given the state of the border as described by Johnson and responded to by Kelly and Chaffetz, it seems that some of the lessons we learned on 9/11 have been forgotten. As a result, it might take some real magic to secure our southern border and keep terrorists from other countries out of the U.S.