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Did the U.S. catch 4,000 terrorists at the southern border in 2018?

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By Julia Ainsley

WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that Customs and Border Protection picked up nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists last year “that came across our southern border.”

But in fact, the figure she seems to be citing is based on 2017 data, not 2018, and refers to stops made by Department of Homeland Security across the globe, mainly at airports.

In fiscal 2017, the latest year for which data is available, according to agency data and the White House’s own briefing sheet, the Department of Homeland Security prevented nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists from “traveling to or entering the United States.”

According to Justice Department public records and two former counterterrorism officials, no immigrant has been arrested at the southwest border on terrorism charges in recent years.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders leaves after speaking to the press outside the White House on Jan. 4, 2019.Jim Young / Reuters

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about Sanders’ statement.

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting Friday afternoon with Congressional leaders to negotiate the end of the government shutdown, the White House issued briefing materials that stated “3,775 known or suspected terrorists [were] prevented from traveling or entering the U.S. by DHS” in fiscal year 2017. Nowhere did the briefing materials state the known or suspected terrorists were stopped at the southern border.

Ned Price, who served on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, said many of those 3,775 were stopped simply because their name matches that of someone on a terrorist watch list, which have grown in recent years, and not because they pose a threat.

“So-called terrorist watchlists are an important tool in our national security arsenal, but they are far from fool-proof in large part because of their sheer size. The number of people on such lists ballooned in the years after 9/11, with some reports indicating that more than one million names had been associated with suspected terrorist activity. That’s why false-positives, including in the case of crossings at our southern border, are commonplace. Even the late Ted Kennedy was registered on one such list when attempting to fly, presumably because of the commonality of his name,” Price said.

Nick Rasmussen, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center from December 2014 through December 2017 said, “During my tenure, the threat of terrorists trying to infiltrate the United States across our southern border was much more of a theoretical vulnerability than an actual one. It simply isn’t the case that terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda see the southern border as the optimal the way to get would-be terrorists into the country.”

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at a press conference at the White House Friday afternoon that more than 3,000 immigrants have been stopped at the southwest border, over an unspecified period, because they are special interest aliens. DHS classifies nearly all immigrants crossing the border who is a national of a country outside of the Western Hemisphere as a Special Interest Alien, according to DHS reports.

A spokeswoman for the National Counterterrorism Center did not respond to a request for comment.

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END OF MAY: The SIX people tipped to REPLACE Theresa May as PM

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THERESA MAY is facing mounting pressure to step down after she confirmed Article 50 would be extended until June 30. Express.co.uk takes a look at the six people tipped to take on the top job should Mrs May be forced out of 10 Downing Street.

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‘I’m not being asked to choose’

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By Allan Smith

The public spat between President Donald Trump and his counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband entered its third day on Thursday with her telling Fox Business Network that it’s “unlike” her husband to be so public with his criticism.

“George Conway also has been very critical of the president publicly, which is unlike him because he’s traditionally been a very private person,” Conway said. “In 2016, which was known as the ‘year of the tweet,’ George Conway sent exactly zero tweets. So this is new. And what is also new is not supporting the agenda of the president and my work there.”

“I’m not being asked to choose between my marriage and my job,” she later added.

George Conway, meanwhile, spent Thursday morning blasting the president, saying he is “the worst kind of dumb.”

“He lies even when it makes no sense to lie,” George Conway tweeted. “As one of his lawyers once told me, Trump couldn’t be allowed to talk to [special counsel Robert] Mueller because ‘he’d lie his ass off.'”

The feud began soon after George Conway, a critic of Trump’s actions and policies for some time, started to question the president’s mental health. On Sunday night, following a weekend in which Trump took to Twitter to blast deceased GOP Sen. John McCain, made demands of General Motors and Fox News and complained about a “Saturday Night Live” rerun, among other topics, George Conway tweeted: “His condition is getting worse.”

Trump has since said the conservative attorney, who was once under consideration for a top Department of Justice job, is “a total loser,” a “whack job” and the “husband from hell,” calling him “Mr. Kellyanne Conway.”

George Conway responded to Trump’s “husband from hell” comment, saying, “You. Are. Nuts.”

Kellyanne Conway provided an initial response to the back-and-forth on Wednesday, telling Politico that the president was within his right to blast her husband.

“He left it alone for months out of respect for me,” she said. “But you think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder? You think he should just take that sitting down?”

“Don’t play psychiatrist any more than George should be,” she added. “You’re not a psychiatrist, and he’s not, respectfully.”

The Washington Post reported last year that, in fact, George Conway introduced his wife to Trump back in the early 2000s. Kellyanne Conway, after serving as Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, was named counselor to the president later that year. Her husband was also reportedly under consideration for a job at Trump’s Department of Justice, but said in a June 2017 statement that he was withdrawing himself from consideration. He’s of counsel in the litigation department of the New York firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz.

On Monday, George Conway highlighted pages from the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” that included the criteria for “narcissistic personality disorder” and “antisocial personality disorder.”

“Congratulations!” he said Tuesday in response to Trump’s initial attack. “You just guaranteed that millions of more people are going to learn about narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism! Great job!”



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Trump 2020 election LANDSLIDE: Latest US polls – Blue wall ‘can’t resist’ Trump economy

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DONALD TRUMP could win by a landslide come 2020, according to new polls showing the President’s economic performance carrying him to a second term.

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