Just last month, May of 2019, security researchers at Homeland Security Today analyzed “a research interview with a Canadian imprisoned ISIS cadre detained in Rojava, Syria, by SDF forces.” Originally from Canada, ISIS knew him as Abu Henricki al Canadi.
They concluded that “there was at least one ISIS plot for their cadres to travel from Syria to penetrate the U.S. southern border by infiltrating migration routes.”
“Whatever one thinks of President Donald Trump’s heightened rhetoric about the U.S.- Mexico border and his many claims that it is vulnerable to terrorists, ISIS apparently also thought so.”
The editors are careful to point out that the claim has been made by one single individual and that al Canadi’s story has some holes in it “from a logistical and tactical perspective.”
Even with that disclaimer, there is too much in what al Canadi related that makes sense, for his testimony to be dismissed out of hand.
As HST notes, this incident is not meant as “a fear-mongering attempt to suggest that a wave of ISIS terrorists are waiting to cross our southern border,” but it should serve as “a reminder to diligently consider leads and sources that confirm terrorists’ intentions to exploit one of the weakest links in our national security: our borders.”
Al Canadi told his interrogators that ISIS wanted to transport him first to Puerto Rico. From there he was supposed to take a boat to Mexico, then sneak into the United States.
“This was mastermind[ed] by a guy in America. Where he is, I do not know. That information, the plan came from someone from the New Jersey state from America. I was going to take a boat into Mexico. He was going to smuggle me in.”
The man who selected him for the job spoke English, Canadi says, “He was Tunisian, maybe. I don’t know.” Also, he wasn’t going to be by himself on the mission.
“What they wanted to do, basically, is they wanted to do financial attacks. Financial attacks to cripple the [U.S.] economy. Apparently, they have the contacts or whatever papers they can get to a false ID, false passports [to send me out for this kind of attack]. They have their system of doing it. So that’s maybe the way that I could have gone out with other individuals. It wasn’t me alone.
The security researchers concluded at the end of their report that the incident “serves to demonstrate that ISIS has discussed and operationalized ways in which their operatives could infiltrate our borders and cause harm to our citizens.”