It’s been about a week since Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) told a national television audience that Islamic State militants entered the United States through the Southern border. Literally every shred of publicly available evidence points in the exact opposite direction, but the far-right congressman claims to have secret evidence that Hunter – and Hunter alone – is solely aware of.
Pressed further, the congressman’s office clarified that all 10 ISIS fighters didn’t come at the same time, and one of Hunter’s aides said 4 of the 10 were identified by to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). But Chaffetz apparently isn’t backing Hunter up – consider this exchange between the Utah Republican and Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: So I want you to react because you’ve been briefed on what’s going on. First of all, do you believe his initial statement [from Duncan Hunter] that there have been 10 ISIS terrorists who actually crossed the border into the United States?CHAFFETZ: I’m not personally and directly aware of that. What I am personally and directly aware of is that there were four terrorists, people tied to the PKK, came out of Turkey, flew to Mexico City, came north with coyotes.
The details matter, so let’s clarify matters. As DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has explained, four members of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) were apprehended after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. They were arrested, detained, and in the process of being deported.
But (a) these guys didn’t have ties to terrorism; (b) the Kurdish Workers’ Party is actually a fierce enemy of ISIS. I don’t mean to sound picky, but when Duncan Hunter says 10 members of ISIS terrorists entered the country, and he points to four guys who aren’t terrorists and hate ISIS, the argument seems to fall apart.
For that matter, when Hunter’s ally is asked about the Republican congressman’s claim, and the a ally chooses not to endorse the assertions, it’s safe to say Hunter has been hung out to dry.
On a related note, on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, Martha Raddatz asked whether Hunted went “too far” with his fanciful claims. It prompted an interesting response to Matthew Dowd, a Republican political analyst.
“I don’t want to conflate the two things, with Ebola and this, but many times fear doesn’t have to be real to be powerful. And in the context of it, we don’t often have to have facts to back up our fears. We respond to our fears.“I think everybody has the right to say what they want to say, but they have the responsibility to say what may be they believe to be factually correct. The congressman says he believes it to be factually correct. But at a time like this with terrorism and, as you say, with the Ebola thing, we should counsel our fears and look for the fact sets.”