Bill Weir shoots down Trump's caravan claim

President Donald Trump has repeated an unfounded claim that there are middle easterners in the migrant caravan heading to the US. CNN's Bill Weir has been following the caravan and gives his report on what he has seen so far.

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 7:47 PM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 8:00 PM

The caravan of some 7,500 migrants wending its way north through Mexico is a political gift to President Donald Trump, who ran successfully on a get-tough on immigration and terrorism platform during his presidential campaign.

Trump tweeted Monday that there are "unknown Middle Easterners mixed" in with the thousands of migrants. The intent of this tweet is surely to play on American fears about the possibility of mysterious Middle Easterners attacking the country, as they did on 9/11.

There is just one problem with this notion: Every lethal terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11 has been carried out by a US citizen or legal resident, according to New America, a research institution that tracks jihadist terrorism cases.

In addition, of the more than 400 jihadist terrorist cases prosecuted in the United States in the past 17 years, not one of the terrorists infiltrated the country across the southern border, according to New America's research.

Of course, the notion of a terrorist joining a caravan of migrants who are being filmed continuously for a matter of weeks is implausible on its face.

Since 9/11, three foreign terrorist organizations have mounted serious plots to attack the United States, and all the plotters flew into the country from South Asia and the Middle East. None of them crossed over the US-Mexico border.

Najibullah Zazi was trained by al Qaeda to blow up bombs in the Manhattan subway in 2009. He arrived in the United States from Pakistan by plane.

So too did Faisal Shahzad, whom the Pakistani Taliban trained to blow up a bomb in Manhattan a year later. Neither plot succeeded.

"Underwear bomber" Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab flew into the country on Christmas Day 2009 on the plane that he tried unsuccessfully to blow up over Detroit. Al Qaeda in Yemen had trained him.

The only cross-border infiltration by a terrorist was almost two decades ago when Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian, was arrested on a ferry arriving in Washington state from Canada on December 14, 1999. As Ressam's car rolled out of the ferry, a US customs inspector pulled him over. Agents found 130 pounds of explosives in Ressam's car. Ressam planned to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.

Despite the Ressam case, fomenting fears of terrorists crossing the border from Canada hasn't gained much political traction in the United States.

The view that terrorists are streaming across the southern border, however, is not uncommon among Trump supporters, not least retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was Trump's first national security adviser and who claimed in an August 2016 interview that there were Arabic signs along the US-Mexico border to guide potential terrorists into the States.

Flynn said, "I have personally seen the photos of the signage along those paths that are in Arabic. They're like waypoints along that path as you come in. Primarily, in this case the one that I saw was in Texas and it's literally, it's like signs, that say, in Arabic, 'This way, move to this point.' It's unbelievable."

It was unbelievable, of course, because it was totally false.

So too is the canard that Mexico is a hotbed of jihadist terrorism, but that is not going to get in the way of Trump trying to make this an issue as the midterm elections draw closer.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
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