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Mexican border a perfect breeding ground for terrorists

In this Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 photo, Shiite militiamen hold the flag of the Islamic State group they captured, during an operation outside Amirli, some 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Under the shadow of the Islamic State group threat, governments from France to Indonesia are moving aggressively to block would-be jihadis from taking their fight to Syria and Iraq. New laws make it easier to seize passports. Suspected fighters are being plucked from planes. Authorities are blocking finances and shutting down radical mosques. Behind the scenes, Western intelligence agencies are striving to stay ahead of tech-savvy radicalized Muslims by pressuring Silicon Valley firms to wipe extremist content from websites and toying with new technologies to identify returning fighters at the border. Britain has taken a particularly active role in censoring content deemed to break the country's strict rules against extremist propaganda. U.K. officials recently revealed it had been granted "super flagger" status on sites such as YouTube, meaning their requests to remove videos with grisly content or that encourage terrorism are fast-tracked. (AP Photo)

PHOENIX -- The former National Deputy Chief of the Border Patrol is in Southwest Arizona speaking with border officials about a potential threat.

Ron Colburn said there is U.S. intelligence information that suggests Mideast terrorist groups are keeping tabs on the state's porous border and finding ways to partner with Mexican drug cartels to make the trek north.

"Based on the intelligence resources and information at my disposal and my knowledge of the state of the border, we are at high risk right now," said Ron Colburn. "The threat is real. We are not immune to an attack."

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio echoed Colburn's words last week.

"Anybody can cross the border," he told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "They look at CNN and're trying to tell me they don't know all the politicians running for office saying 'the border must be secured?' They know it's not secured. So why not utilize that 2,000-mile border to sneak across? That's just common sense."

Among the U.S. intelligence organizations, there is a significant concern that a current "outreach" between various terrorist groups and the cartels in Mexico is already underway.

"Smuggling someone over who might be carrying a biological weapon, chemical weapon or a weapon of mass destruction is a piece of cake for them," explained Colburn. "That's what they are there to do, as long as they make money at it."

Arpaio added that both U.S. and overseas intelligence is vital, especially for borders that will never be fully closed.

"We will never, never secure that border 100 percent," he said. "We have to take action overseas using intelligence and other means."

About the Author

Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.


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