State Dept: No Active Al Qaeda, Hezbollah Terror Cells in Western Hemisphere
A new report on world international terrorism activities released by the State Department asserts that there were "no known operational cells" of Al Qaeda or Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere during the year 2012. This is despite the report acknowledging Iran's increased presence in the hemisphere along with the country's "marked resurgence" of sponsored terrorism.
The State Department released the "Country Reports on Terrorism 2012" late last week which details the United States' assessment of terrorism and counter-terrorism activities in countries around the globe. The Department detailed Iran's "marked resurgence" of terrorism saying:
[Iran] trained Taliban elements on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons, such as mortars, artillery, and rockets.
Since 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives.
Iran allowed Al Qaeda (AQ) facilitators Muhsin al Fadhli and Adel Radi Saqr al Wahabi al Harbi to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and to Syria.
The report also noted Iran's advances toward countries in the Western Hemisphere citing that Iranian President Ahmadinejad visited Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. "The United States continued to monitor such initiatives," the report added.
This report comes on the heels of the Argentine prosecutor assigned to investigate a 1994 terrorist attack accusing Iran of operating "intelligence stations" that were "destined to commit, encourage and sponsor terror attacks."
In Mexico, the 2012 report asserts that Mexican authorities "remained vigilant" against terrorist organizations. "International terrorist organizations do not have a known operational presence in Mexico, and no terrorist group targeted U.S. citizens in or from Mexican territory," the report states.
State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked about the threat of terrorists crossing the United States' southern border in light of the terrorism report and Iran's activities. Psaki said that the Countries Report was "was pretty extensive" and she had "nothing" to add. The "extensive" discussion of U.S.-Mexico border relations in the report is two paragraphs and notes coordinated border security as well as shared intelligence:
The Mexican government continued to improve the abilities of its security forces to counter terrorism. The United States supported these efforts by providing training and equipment to Mexican law enforcement and security agencies, sharing information, and promoting interagency law enforcement cooperation. The United States also supported Mexican efforts to address border security challenges along its southern and northern borders and its ports. The Mexican and U.S. governments shared information and jointly analyzed transnational threats; promoted information and intelligence sharing; deployed enhanced cargo screening technologies; and strengthened passenger information sharing. Mexican and U.S. officials also continued coordinated efforts to prevent the transit of third country nationals who may raise terrorism concerns. On the Mexico-U.S. border, officials increased coordination of patrols and inspections and improved communications across the border. On the Mexico-Guatemala-Belize border, Mexico deployed additional security forces and implemented biometric controls. Mexico remained an important partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which continued its overall shift in focus from protection of national leadership training to border security, preventing terrorist safe havens, and protecting critical infrastructure.
In support of U.S. efforts to identify and interdict illegitimate travel and travelers, consular Fraud Prevention Units and Regional Security Office investigators throughout Mexico provided training on recognition of fraudulent U.S. and Mexican identity and travel documents to local, state, and federal officials; and bank investigators.
Breitbart News has reached out to the State Department for clarification on their assertion concerning terror activities in the Western Hemisphere. Any response will be added to this post.
Watch the video and read the transcript with Psaki below:
QUESTION: Iran, Mexico. On the Country Reports, you mentioned a concern that there is an increasing number of bilateral efforts between Iran and Latin American nations. There's a concern that there might be an intention of Iran, Hezbollah or their allied organizations to get operatives through the Mexican border. Is there any on that?
MS. PSAKI: I know – I think you're referring to the Country Report we released yesterday --
MS. PSAKI: -- which was pretty extensive. I don't have anything new for you beyond what was detailed in there in that report yesterday.
QUESTION: But there are no concerns of terrorist operatives trying to come in through the Mexican border or of links between Mexican cartels and Iranian organizations?
MS. PSAKI: Again, I know this was discussed in the report as it related to analyzing 2012. I don't have anything new for you on that today.
ON BREITBART TV