Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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House Homeland Chair Green to warn US is at ‘one of the most dangerous times’ in history during threat hearing

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EXCLUSIVE: House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green is expected to warn that the present is “one of the most dangerous times in the history of the United States” during his panel’s hearing Wednesday focused on worldwide threats.

The hearing Wednesday will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid.

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Fox News Digital exclusively obtained a copy of Green’s opening statement, in which he warns that security challenges to the United States in the midst of the war between Israel and Hamas are “becoming more dynamic each day.”

“I do not say this lightly; this is one of the most dangerous times in the history of the United States,” Green, R-Tenn., will say, according to his prepared remarks.

During an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital on Tuesday ahead of the hearing, Green said that the United States is at “heightened risk,” and said the “open door policy” at the U.S. Southern Border is largely to blame.

Hamas launched a deadly terrorist attack against Israel on Oct. 7, leading to a military response from the U.S. ally. The conflict has renewed concern in the U.S. that there could be similar terror attacks inspired by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by domestic and homegrown terrorists.

Green, pointing to homegrown terrorists, warned of “lone wolf” terror attacks in the United States, saying terrorists “have the ability to recruit American citizens” and have radicalized them “to do horrific things.”

Green also said he will use the hearing to warn of the “unprecedented crisis” at the Southern Border — the “worst,” he said, in American history — and shine a light on “malicious activity by nation-state actors.”

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But Green is also expected to warn that terrorism “poses a direct threat to the U.S. homeland.”

The number of people arrested in FY 2023 between ports of entry by Border Patrol at the southern border who are on the FBI’s terror watchlist hit a new record this year, with 151 arrests in FY 23, compared to 98 in FY 2022 and 15 in FY 21. At the ports of entry at the northern and southern border, there have been 505 people encountered by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations. 

The watch list, officially called the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) is the government’s database that “contains sensitive information on terrorist identities.” The watch list originated to house information on known or suspected terrorists, but “has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals,” CBP says.

While the number is relatively small, compared to the millions of migrants encountered at the borders in recent years, Republicans and former border officials have raised concern about the numbers of those on the terror watch list who are getting past Border Patrol agents. There were at least 599,000 illegal immigrants who escaped Border Patrol custody in FY 2022, after more than 390,000 in FY 2021.

“Who are they? Where are they? What are they? That’s what we don’t know,” Green told Fox News Digital.

The chairman also is expected to point to rising threats of antisemitism in the United States after Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

“Foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS have called on its extremist supporters to target Jewish communities in the United States and Europe,” Green will say.

Green is also expected to point to cyber threats facing the United States from adversarial nations like Iran. 

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The hearing on Wednesday comes after Mayorkas, Wray and Abizaid testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee last month about threats to the United States.

Wray, during that hearing, warned that the threat of a terror attack against Americans has been raised to a “whole other level” due to ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

“The reality is that the terrorism threat has been elevated throughout 2023, but the ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole other level,” Wray told lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

“We assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration, the likes of which we haven’t seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate several years ago,” Wray said. “In just the past few weeks, multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West.”

Wray warned that the most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw inspiration from the events to attack Americans, including homegrown violent extremists who are inspired by foreign terrorist organizations, or by domestic violent extremists who are targeting Muslim or Jewish targets.

The Department of Homeland Security last month said that the U.S. remains in a heightened threat environment.

“As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues, we have seen an increase in reports of threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities and institutions. Lone offenders, motivated by a range of violent ideologies, pose the most likely threat,” a DHS spokesperson said. “We urge the public to stay vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.”

Meanwhile, Green said he will also raise the threat the Chinese Communist Party poses to the United States. 

President Biden is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday afternoon in the Bay Area of California, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference. 

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