During Monday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was questioned about the claim that 42 suspected terrorists may have been released into the U.S. after illegally crossing the southern border and their current whereabouts are unknown.
The news broke last week after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that he did not know if some of the 42 individuals on the terrorism watch list had been released into the United States.
“Have any of the 42 illegal migrants on the terrorist watch list or no-fly list encountered on our southwest border been released into the United States?” Jordan asked.
“I will provide that data to you with respect to the disposition of each one,” Mayorkas responded. “I do not know the answer to your question.”
During an interview with Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday,” Mayorkas said he actually did “know where those 42 individuals are,” but he did not want to elaborate because they could be involved in ongoing law enforcement activities.
After being questioned by Rep. @Jim_Jordan on the 42 people on the terror watch list apprehended at the border, Secretary Mayorkas finally admits that the individuals are in our country. pic.twitter.com/tzqTFQ3J2L
— MRCTV (@mrctv) May 2, 2022
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy questioned Psaki about the DHS Secretary’s comments during Monday’s press briefing.
“So, the DHS Secretary is now talking about people on the terrorist watchlist crossing the border into the U.S. And he says, ‘We know where those 42 are.’ Why isn’t he saying, ‘We know where those 42 are: they’re in jail’?” Doocy asked.
Psaki responded by telling Doocy to ask Mayorkas directly to “get more follow-up details on his comments.” She later added that Mayorkas’ comments were “an indication” that he is working to “keep our country safe, keep the American people safe.”
“So, then what is the President’s priority? Would it be stopping potential terrorist attacks or letting these migrants come in?” Doocy asked, then pointed out that the 42 individuals is more than double the number of people who carried out the 9/11 attacks.
“So if it takes 19 people to carry out the September 11th attacks, what do you guys think 42 people on a terrorist watchlist might be capable of?” Doocy asked.
“The number one job of the President of the United States, the Vice President, and certainly the Secretary of Homeland Security is to keep the American people safe,” Psaki said. “And I think a lot of this reporting you’re referencing is an indication that they’re doing their jobs and doing exactly that.”
DOOCY TIME: "DHS Secretary is now talking about people the terrorist watchlist crossing the border into the U.S. and he says, 'we know where those 42 are.' Why isn't he saying, we know where those 42 are. They're in jail!"
Psaki says talk to DHS "to get more follow-up details" pic.twitter.com/UNGSgHiW0h
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) May 2, 2022