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Fox News host fact-checks Sarah Sanders

During an interview on Fox News, host Chris Wallace disputed White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders' claim that terrorists pour into the US from across the border with Mexico.

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 9:10 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2019 9:29 PM

The Trump administration is framing the necessity of a southern border wall, in part, as a response to a national security emergency involving terrorists. This is a barrel of bunkum and balderdash served with generous helpings of hogwash.

Where to begin? Let's start with the fact that there is no terrorism emergency. 2018 saw one of the lowest yearly numbers of jihadist terrorism cases in the United States -- 14 -- since the 9/11 attacks, according to New America, a research institution that tracks terrorism.

The largest number of such cases was in 2015 when there were 80.

While the number of terrorism cases is not an exact proxy for levels of threat, it certainly says something about the scale of the threat and the United States has seen a steep decline in the number of jihadist terrorism cases over the past four years.

This decline tracks with the declining fortunes of ISIS. When it controlled territory the size of the United Kingdom, thousands of Islamist militants joined or attempted to join ISIS, including from the United States. Now the geographical caliphate is almost entirely gone and ISIS recruitment has slowed to a trickle.

In the United States since the 9/11 attacks, 455 jihadist terrorists have been charged or convicted or died before they faced trial. Not one of these terrorists crossed the southern border.

It turns out that terrorists trying to attack the United States would prefer not to travel to Central America or Mexico and then try their chances crossing the southern border. They want to fly directly to the States.

And anyway, the vast majority of terrorists don't enter the United States at the southern border or anywhere else, because they are already in the country. Of the 455 jihadist terrorism cases since 9/11, 84% involved US citizens or permanent residents, and every lethal terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11 was carried out by a US citizen or legal resident.

On Sunday, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News, who challenged her on the supposed terrorist threat at the border.

Sanders asserted, "We know that 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally and we know that the most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border."

This is itself is a misleading statistic since these 4,000 individuals are not really terrorists but have shown up as a "hit" on a terrorist watch list. The 'TIDE' terrorism watch list as of 2017 consisted of 1.6 million individuals who are deemed to have some possible link to terrorism.

The 4,000 individuals turned away from entering the US are those who may have some kind of putative connection to terrorism. They are not proven terrorists, otherwise, they would be arrested and charged. And there isn't a case since 9/11 of a terrorist being arrested at the border, according to New America's research.

A southern border wall would do absolutely nothing to stop terrorism, which in the United States today is almost entirely a "homegrown" phenomenon driven by jihadist materials on the internet, which knows no borders.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 92100

Reported Deaths: 2037
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26264926
Ramsey10635318
Dakota7280125
Anoka5870132
Stearns386524
Washington365255
Scott248733
Olmsted234627
Nobles194316
Blue Earth16326
Wright15537
St. Louis145138
Carver13757
Clay131640
Rice13118
Mower13085
Sherburne111414
Kandiyohi9552
Winona85518
Lyon6614
Waseca5668
Steele5302
Freeborn5293
Benton5223
Nicollet51516
Watonwan5144
Todd4832
McLeod4702
Chisago4661
Crow Wing46418
Le Sueur4464
Otter Tail4074
Beltrami3885
Martin35710
Goodhue3449
Pine3070
Itasca29914
Polk2944
Douglas2782
Isanti2710
Becker2572
Carlton2461
Cottonwood2190
Unassigned21852
Morrison2161
Pipestone21610
Dodge2140
Chippewa2031
Meeker1892
Sibley1893
Brown1822
Wabasha1800
Yellow Medicine1692
Rock1620
Murray1562
Mille Lacs1533
Redwood1511
Cass1423
Jackson1371
Renville1367
Faribault1320
Swift1231
Houston1170
Koochiching1173
Roseau1170
Kanabec1168
Pennington1151
Fillmore1110
Lincoln1050
Stevens941
Pope900
Hubbard881
Aitkin741
Big Stone730
Wadena670
Grant594
Wilkin583
Lake570
Norman520
Marshall501
Lac qui Parle471
Mahnomen461
Red Lake401
Traverse290
Clearwater260
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 82537

Reported Deaths: 1289
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15571261
Woodbury517363
Johnson507327
Black Hawk442188
Linn3878109
Story336917
Dubuque298541
Scott287528
Dallas274138
Pottawattamie203338
Buena Vista195912
Marshall176834
Sioux14693
Wapello129657
Webster121314
Clinton109220
Plymouth109120
Muscatine109054
Crawford10425
Cerro Gordo101721
Warren9456
Jasper80232
Des Moines7517
Marion7465
Tama69931
Henry6554
Carroll6505
Lee6137
Wright5701
Dickinson5036
Boone4938
Bremer4757
Washington44911
Louisa42615
Mahaska36819
Delaware3653
Franklin34618
Hamilton3233
Jackson3173
Winneshiek3156
Floyd3103
Clay3094
Benton3021
Hardin2931
Winnebago28413
Lyon2804
Poweshiek2708
Butler2652
Buchanan2621
Clarke2623
Jones2583
Emmet25410
Allamakee2526
Shelby2501
Kossuth2490
Chickasaw2400
Guthrie2406
Clayton2373
Cedar2331
Sac2320
Cherokee2222
Grundy2183
Madison2092
Fayette2052
Iowa1971
Harrison1962
Mitchell1860
Howard1856
Humboldt1833
Calhoun1792
Hancock1772
Mills1731
Palo Alto1720
Pocahontas1562
Lucas1536
Monroe15310
Page1500
Cass1482
Osceola1460
Monona1441
Jefferson1351
Appanoose1293
Taylor1271
Union1263
Davis1224
Van Buren1121
Ida1100
Fremont1040
Worth1040
Keokuk1011
Greene990
Montgomery905
Wayne842
Audubon741
Adair681
Decatur660
Ringgold482
Adams330
Unassigned40
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