We already knew that Trump was lying through his teeth about the threat of terrorists getting into the country through the border with Mexico, but now Richard Clarke, former counter-terrorism adviser to three presidents, flat out calls him a liar for his vastly exaggerated and dishonest claims about it.
The Trump administration is attempting to persuade the American people that terrorists are flooding our southern border. They have been quite specific, claiming 3,755 terrorists were rounded up. You may not remember the press conferences when these terrorists were arrested, their plots were revealed. That would be because the administration statement was a lie. There is no other word for it.
The 3,755 “terrorists” caught at the southern border were mainly individuals who showed up at airports around the world (not on the southern border) and were rejected because their name, or one like it, was on a no-fly list or the even larger list of names of people barred from entry in to the United States for any one of dozens of reasons. Had they been wanted terrorists, in most countries they would have been arrested by local authorities on the spot. Indeed, if known and wanted terrorists had shown up at the southern border, Customs and Border Protection officers would have taken them into custody. That, of course, did not happen.The DHS secretary also claimed that there were 3,000 “special interest aliens” stopped. What, you may ask, is a special interest alien? Merely being a citizen of any one of almost two-dozen nations can result in that designation. While the administration would like us to imagine these people sneaking in where a wall could have stopped them, they were actually people who showed up at border crossings or airports.
Clarke rightly points out that this isn’t about stopping terrorists at all, or even about stopping illegal immigration. It’s about ginning up fear and bigotry with Trump’s base. And that’s all it’s about. Pure demagoguery, based on lies, that feeds into our fear of “the other” and exploits it for political gain. This is what tyrants and those who want to be tyrants have always done. For crying out loud, Hitler even managed to make the German people terrified that Poland was going to invade them and take over and that Jews were going to destroy them from within. It’s exactly the same techniques and strategy at work here.